Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Has spring sprung?

I certainly hope so! I’ve begun my gardens on my new homestead. Not a lot planted yet, but the ground is broken in some places and a few early crops have been planted.

I’ve also put seeds in starter trays in my portable greenhouse. They haven’t sprouted yet. I always get nervous until I see the first baby green leaves coming out of the soil! I put lettuce, two kinds of tomatoes, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, watermelon, and pie pumpkin seeds in them. I do still have some of all of these seeds left if it turns out I need to replant them.

We built a new chicken run to attach to the previous small one. This will keep the chickens from eating the seeds and tender new plants in the garden areas. We’ve tilled up a very nice spot for potatoes, and will continue tilling other locations for more gardens.

I was able to move 3 of my old raised beds to the new homestead, so I’ve started them over again as well. I put cardboard on the ground under them to block weeds. (Most of the grass here is fescue or bermuda grass.) I put a mixture of topsoil, peat humus, and composted manure into one bed to get a bit quicker start on it. I hope I can dig up other soil from the property, but I needed a “quick fix” for this first bed. In it, I planted some green peas, mixed lettuce, and mixed radishes. I didn’t fill the bed with these veggies, so I’ve got room to add a few other things to it.

We’ve been getting the goats out and putting them on tethers to eat down the proposed garden areas. It works out very well all around. I get a cleared garden spot with bonus fertilizer and they get full tummies of grass.

The small tiller, various garden tools, and fertilizers and soils were all from my late brother-in-law’s collection of garden tools and amendments. Sis let me have them since she doesn’t garden. (In her words, “I don’t garden and you can’t make me!” lol) Her late husband was a Master Gardener and wound up with a large array of tools, books, and soils/fertilizers.

As we tilled the proposed potato patch, we also dug out the larger clumps of fescue grass. While fescue is excellent for pastures (where we live, it will grow even in the winter), it clumps up pretty big as it grows, sometimes making walking over the field difficult due to stumbling! Those clumps, some large enough to fill a 2 gallon bucket, are being tossed over into the pig pen and chicken yard where the pigs and chickens are enjoying eating them, rooting in them, and scratching them apart.

Along with veggies, of course, there will be flowers. I was very pleased to find that some previous resident had planted loads of daffodills in the past, but they were in a very unlikely location – in the center of a bunch of privet hedges! So, we’ve been busy digging them out and moving them to places where we can enjoy them much more, such as a row of them in front of the cabin. There’s still more to move, but I have planned where I want them around the perimeter of the yard, to define it.

I also brought my daylilies, regular lilies, violets, irises, and butterfly weed with me and got all those planted out in a bed at the front edge of the front yard. All these flowers are beautiful and pretty well native varieties, but the daylilies and violets are also edible! Along with these I moved things like monkey grass and purple wood sorrel, which are still in pots but will be planted over the next few days.

None of my herbs except rosemary survived the move, and even the rosemary is looking pretty sick. The buck goat we had got loose and had a “fight” with it, knocking it down, scruffing it badly, and even breaking some branches off. I’m hoping it make a strong comeback this summer. Last summer and fall, it did seem to be growing.

I also brought over the Jerusalem Artichokes, and we recently added some, fried up like fried potatoes, to a meal. They were excellent so I hope they really do well. I want to try pickling them and also making relish from them! They never did bloom last fall so I’ll leave the rest of them alone to see if they take off again. I had uprooted them for the move last summer after they’d already started growing, so that set them back a lot.

Now, tell me what you’re doing or planning for this spring!

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