“Farm” Update (Long)

Nolan’s teachers and classmates like to talk about our “farm” since for most of them it’s almost the same thing.

Last time I posted we were winding up the summer garden and I had created a very nice looking fall/winter garden.

Man, I worked hard on that thing and it looked so good! Unfortunately, pretty soon (6 days) after I planted that garden, a hurricane came through and all the seeds washed out.

I still had a few things that sprung up, but the fall/winter here means very limited sun. Since it was already not the sunniest place, nothing did well.  I do still have a few carrots that are starting to grow again now that the days are getting longer.

So…on to plan C.  I’m going to plant a garden in the front yard.  Yep, the front yard.  It’s the only place in our entire yard that gets the right sun.

That tree you see there casts shade over that whole area of the yard that has nothing in it, otherwise I’d plant against the fence.  I do think I’m going to plant some blackberry bushes against the fence.  We already have two blueberry bushes in front of the house.  So…this weekend I’m going to start building the beds in my lasagna garden.  No, I don’t mean I’m growing things to put in lasagna (though I suppose I am).

There are a hundred different ways to do it, but it’s really about using what you have to create your own soil.  Our soil is very dry and sandy, especially in the front yard where that large tree has really stolen a lot of nutrients and moisture.

I plan to go with 1) newspaper, 2) chicken compost, 3) dried leaves, 4) not sure…maybe more chicken compost, purchase some mushroom compost or ask the neighbor or lawn company for grass clippings 5) topsoil (necessary because we’re starting in Spring instead of fall which would have given it months to break down) 6) newspaper, 7) hay as mulch.  Everything gets wet down between layers.

I don’t have kitchen scraps to put on/in it because well, 1) no time for it to break down and 2) I bought this countertop compost bin for our kitchen scraps and we give them to the chickens.  I actually just bought a second one for things that can be composted but aren’t food for the chickens, like paper towels, coffee filters, coffee grounds, etc.

The plan is to get the front garden built this weekend (thankfully it’s supposed to be in the 60’s and 70’s) and let it do it’s thing until after the last frost (March 15th around here).

In the meantime I’ve started my seeds.  I went a little overboard and bought a LOT of seeds.  I bought most of them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

I also bought some other organic ones from Seeds of Change.  I kept remembering other things I wanted to plant so I also bought some bunching onions and cucumbers off Amazon and then some Heirloom green pole beans at Home Depot.I haven’t started most of the larger things like corn, watermelon, cucumbers or any of the things that can’t be transplanted such as carrots or the bunching onions.  They’ll have to wait until mid-March.

So far I’ve started peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, basil, kale.  I plan to put the basil and cilantro on the deck in some planters (away from dogs and chickens), strawberries, too. The corn, watermelon, cucumbers, oh, and sunflowers I plan to try in a garden down on the hill where I have more room. That will be more of an experiment, but I plan to use the same method.

I started the seeds outside in cold frames as a different experiment.  The ones in plastic went out first and after 9 days they hadn’t germinated so last night I moved them inside only to realize after two warms days they HAD started to germinate, so I left the ones in the 3 tiered container (in soil blocks) outside and put a second cover over them.  Some of the seeds on the bottom had started to germinate and those I just planted on Sunday so I’m stoked.  I’m sure I’ll provide pictures in the next week or so.

 

Obviously I was a little into gardening already, but what has really gotten me going is stumbling onto this Vlog.  I would go so far as to say I’m slightly obsessed. lol

They’re actually only days away from leaving the farm for 10 months and touring North America on a school bus they had converted to an RV.  I do miss the garden videos, but they’re touring farms (it’s called the Great American Farm tour) so I’m sure there’ll be plenty to see and learn from.

That vlog is where I learned about soil blocking, which is planting seeds in little blocks of soil with no containers.  They’re not cheap, so I bought a small one to start and so far so good.  The idea is the roots get more airflow and also you’re not spending money on plastic containers or throwing those in the landfill when they break.  I did just like Justin Rhodes did and didn’t cover the seeds.  Just laid them in the little indentations created by the soil blocks.

Clicking around on different related vlogs led me to the Baker Creek Seeds and lasagna gardening.  I’ve got this Lasagna Gardening book on the way and I am just so stoked for spring.  Having all this prep work to do has really made winter go by faster.

Okay, so that’s my really, really long garden update and hopefully there will be more to come soon on the chickens and other life updates.