Sunday, March 22, 2015

Homestead Update: March 2015

Hello Fellow Homesteaders! 

Things are changing almost daily around here so this update is almost obsolete already! But here's what I have been up to...

I am always on the lookout for free or cheap materials. I scored this nice pile of cinder blocks and bricks for free!

My mini hugulkulture pile is steadily growing. It will be ready for melons or squash when the weather heats up. If you look closely through my crib rail fence, you can see garlic growing.

I piled some chicken poo on my straw bales last fall and have watered them regularly, so they should be prepared and ready for planting when the weather is warm enough. I haven't completely decided what to plant here, but I'm thinking I may experiment with the 3 sisters: corn, squash, and beans. The leafy area behind the bales is where I planted yukon gold potatoes last fall in an experiment to see if they sprout. Since the weather was so mild, A couple of them already grew some before the first real freezes hit, so these may be a loss. I will plant other things there if so.

My A-frame for the mellons and squash is ready to go. On the right side I will put those cinder blocks to make a mini garden bed instead of hills. This part of the yard gets standing water and erosion so I am trying to adapt to that. The pallet underneath is where I will plant leafy greens in the heat of the summer when the vines have covered the top. It will be full of soil by then.

My old compost piles are going to be moved soon and I will turn this into a garden bed. I already have the lumber ready to go, just need to get the piles moved. This will be for my root vegetables so I need to get a move on as they will need to be planted soon!

I put up curtains for my chickens. Since their rooster, General Tso, died, they have been at each others throats! This has helped somewhat.

When turning my log bed, I ended up prying up a huge chunk of tree trunk! What I found was really encouraging...the roots from last years plants were wrapped all around it! This shows me how fruitful hugelkulture can really be! The plants were obviously getting nutrients and moisture from it. Unfortunately, it was also covered in rollie pollies, so I threw it in the chicken pen. As you can see, they enjoyed their buffet. They nearly hollowed it out going after the little critters!

As far as the chickens go, our favorites have changed over time. I think this sweet girl has stolen our hearts! Poor girl's name is Dirty Snow, but we just call her Snow, named for the black flecks on her white feathers. As you can see, she is very calm and loves to be held. She was quietly clucking at Little Buddy while he held her.

I gave all my potted plants new soil, some got new pots, and started a few more new plants in pots. I am going to need a more efficient shelving unit in this space!

Here is the garden bed my tomatoes, peppers, and their companions will go. I still need to put some blocks by the foundation.

I placed homemade ollas in my brassicas bed. I realized later they are too far apart, so I will fix them.

This will be my Three Sisters bed: corn, beans, and squash/melons. I'm still trying to get the soaker hose placed. It's very stiff from being in storage, but the sun will warm it up and make it a bit more pliable. I am wondering if the flat soaker hoses would be easier to work with? I'm temped to buy one this year to try it out.

I am sort of proud of my setup for the edge of the bed. I discovered last year that the cinder blocks need to be watered frequently so I hope this helps.

In the gutter I am going to plant strawberries and the pathway will have Roman Chamomile since it is the creeping ground cover type. I read that German chamomile grows taller and is better for harvesting the flowers for tea, but you can use the flowers from the Roman variety as well.

Here I have potatoes. Russets on the left row and red on the right. I have had the best yield with milk crates over the tires or in-ground.

I have also been working to improve the appearance of my teeny homestead. I finally got the coop all painted. It still needs some finishing touches, but I'm sure the neighbors are happy to not have to look at the bare wood anymore.

I also have my brassicas seeds among other things started in my new little greenhouse. Some have sprouted. I am not holding my breath for my brassicas to grow well since it is already so warm, but I have to try. I will also try a fall garden. I will be starting other seeds soon also. I am behind!

It is a busy time of year for gardeners! Do you have a garden? What are you growing this year?

Happy Spring!

Jen Hen

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