Friday, May 1, 2015

Homestead Update: May 1

Hello Fellow Homesteaders!

I have been incredibly busy around the 'stead these days, but I finally squeezed in some time to give you all an update. I am so very pleased with the garden so far this year! It's already doing better than last year! Here's hoping we have a bumper crop! Here's my boys de-sprouting the rest of our potatoes from last year. (Although these are store bought.) Child labor at it's finest. They were doing this while I cooked breakfast, which is the reason for the very fashionable jammies! They wanted to help, so I let them have at it. They were super disappointed when they ran out! Oh, and they are sitting on dirty laundry! lol! Well, this is our life, may as well be real about it!

My chickens! I don't take too many pictures of them since my camera doesn't focus well through the chicken wire. But that will change when I get the new run set up and I can easily go inside with them. Here they are at feeding time. They practically maul me at the door! Little Buddy yells, "Don't let them out, Mom!"

They had some neighbors move in. I think it's a family of starlings, black birds with gold flecks. I totally invaded their nest by shoving my phone up in the opening and taking pictures as well as video. The video is on my Facebook page.

How neat is that?! Well, anyway, we'll be sure to get that fixed as soon as the babies fly the nest.

My brassicas bed is doing well. I haven't really utilized the ollas yet since the plants are still pretty small. My volunteer squash or melon vines are doing great! Can you tell what they are? There's a brussels sprout on the far left doing well.

Tomato sprouts are slowly growing. I just don't know how they get them to grow so big so fast at the nurseries! I have kept them evenly moist and even fertilized them and they poke along. Oh well, they'll get there eventually.

I am impressed with the peppers though! I only had one bell pepper sprout, but all my hot peppers went crazy! So I started more of them to companion plant with my tomatoes and I'll baby my one bell in a pot.

I have a variety of herbs that all seem to be doing well.

Here are some of the plants I scavenged from my local urban homesteader group. Behind the fence is a raspberry cane, the round pot is stinging nettles, and the yellow bucket is raspberry sprouts. I tried raspberry sprouts last year, but they all died. So I hope to get them to grow this year. Also, next year I will have an in-ground spot for the nettles.

My potato plants are doing fabulous! I have a variety of potted herbs around them.

Here's the future tomato bed with a thick layer of leaf mulch over the soaker hose I placed. 3 years ago I had read that if you put leaves in burlap bags and let them sit in a shady corner of your yard, you'll get leaf mould (compost). Well, as you can see, that didn't work for me. The bottom 2 inches had turned into compost, but that was it. So, I will keep using my leaves in my compost piles from now on.

The three sisters bed. Here again is my supposed "leaf mould" that didn't. Well, at least I have plenty of mulch! The three plants in the middle are volunteers. As seedlings I thought they were brassicas, but now they look like turnips. They are doing great, so I'm going to let them grow and see what they are!

I have the gutter all ready for strawberries! I really hope I can get them to grow this year!

The garlic is doing amazing! It's about thigh-high! I only hope that it's doing just as well if not better underground.

So, all those little seedlings I thought were my chamomile are actually plantain! But that's okay because we love plantain and it's many uses. Plus it doesn't have to be mowed like grass does and that was my main goal for the garden walkways.

Here is one of my straw bales with the morning mushrooms starting to wither. It must be super fertile because I see these mushrooms sprout every day! Plus, guess what...I finally see some potatoes sprouting in the leaves there! I had read a tip about planting potatoes in the fall to get a head start. They took so long to show up, I didn't think it had worked! I'm not sure I'll try this again. We'll see how I feel in the fall.

My root veggie bed is doing great! The plants in between from top to bottom, spinach, kohlrabi, and lettuce and radishes mixed together,are all doing great! Much better on this spot than I thought they would! This is the first time I've gotten spinach to grow! Hopefully I'll be able to properly fill this bed with soil next year. There also seems to be several volunteer tomato plants. I will let them grow unless they become a nuisance. They may end up being a blessing though, and shade the other plants in the heat of the summer.

The boys are happily playing with their "new" trucks we got from the garage sale down the street. As if they needed anymore, but they are thrilled at having another reason to get dirty!

Last, but certainly not least, my itty bitty pretty, BG. She is my big smiler! I could just eat her up! Soon after I took this picture, I hear Little Buddy say, "OH NO! Sorry Baby Girl! I'm sorry!" I turn around to see him brushing dirt off of her! Seems even my teeny girl isn't immune from dirt! She smiled the whole time. She fits right in!

Well, there you have it. Crazy town at it's finest! How is your homestead doing? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Homesteading!

Jen Hen