Homestead Review

June 28, 2013

It’s amazing to see what a difference a month can make!

The raspberries we planted from root stock back in March are starting to give us little raspberries already! Our BTE garden is giving us lettuce, carrots, and green beans (snaps) daily and hopefully we’ll be adding many more veggies to that list (like peppers for the first time!). And in just a month, our corn has gone from sprouting to growing silks πŸ™‚

Desktop2Here is our bell pepper:

pepperThere have been changes regarding the chunnel as well. We have covered it with smaller fencing and my husband is working towards making the chunnel movable. He is about halfway done. The chickens enjoy it all day save the heat of the day when they would rather be in their run (tucked in the shaded woods) and we are enjoying saving on chicken feed!

Desktop1(L(then) and R (now): chunnel, now movable, now fenced tunnel (with 11mo), chickens a month ago & today)

chunnel(view from upstairs window: coop on R, garden on L)

The blueberries have changed a lot in a month as well! We are harvesting a large bowlful (think LARGE mixing bowl) every other day now!

Katy Blog3(blueberries 1 month ago)

blue(grapes blueberries today)

Our goal is to be able to feed ourselves almost exclusively from our garden (not buy any veggies and only a few fruit from the grocery store) in the coming years. It is already exciting to not have to buy lettuce, kale, carrots, or potatoes from the store. These were regular purchases. It has affected our budget in a positive way, for sure!

Even with such a lofty goal, however, we did not want to do too much all at once for fear of being unable to keep up with it all. So, this year, we added the raspberries and the potato patch.

Next year, I would like to grow strawberries and sweet potatoes. We needed to clean out the coop (hasn’t been cleaned out since April) anyway, so I decided to go ahead and prep the areas so the coop bedding could go to work already πŸ™‚

I decided to put the sweet potato patch somewhere that is high and dry in the garden and that gets full sun. I raked back the mulch, ripped up the tarps and weed cloth, put down bedding from the chicken coop, and then covered it back up with mulch. By next spring, the soil should be wonderful to plant in. Unless the chickens didn’t take care of all of the weed seed and in that case, this patch will be full of weeds…only time will tell!

sweet potato patch(all of the dark area is the sweet potato patch but I know as it dries, it will be hard to tell where it actually is so I decided to put some type of marker for the time being)

tarps(here are all of the tarps I ripped up for the sweet potato patch only. amazing what must be done to keep the weeds away!)

I found a slightly sloped area of the garden for the strawberry patch. Eventually, I would like a larger area but I like to start small so as to not get overwhelmed with the task at hand. I also was running out of coop bedding so…again, ripped back tarps, etc., covered with remaining bedding and poop, raked mulch back on, and hopefully it will be a great spot for strawberries come spring!

straw(again, the darker mulch is the strawberry patch)

No wonder I am having such trouble keeping up with homeschooling these days (we homeschool year-round)! Any year round homeschoolers who garden (specific enough?) have good tips for me regarding summer scheduling? We’ve been doing school in the afternoon (typically we start school at 8am) but my children are not fans. Anyone eating exclusively from your garden? I wonder how many years it will take for us to do so…

I am linking up to Simple Lives Thursday.


6 thoughts on “Homestead Review

  1. Nancy Davis

    Wow! Your garden is doing so well and your planning it out is great! I just have a small lot so I don’t know how you are doing all this and homeschooling! I am envious of your blueberries. I have three little bushes and only one out of the three have a few blueberries. Nancy

    1. newbiegardengirl Post author

      thx! regarding the blueberries – there are many factors for why they are doing so well this year, only one of which I had anything to do with. Two winters ago, I was going through morning sickness so I did not get a chance to prune. So last year (coupled with late frosts), we had barely any blueberries from our 36 bushes. This winter, I pruned HEAVILY. So this year, the plants have put all of their energy into healthy branches and large berries (no wasted energy on old, unproductive branches). I would recommend not letting your bushes fruit at all until the 4th year. This way, they can put their energy into getting larger. When they are larger, they are able to support juicy berries πŸ™‚ We let one of our bushes fruit after a couple of years and little by little it has died back (unable to support the berries). So this winter and for a couple more winters, I’ll prune all of the buds off. I am no expert but I have researched a lot so that’s my bit πŸ˜‰

      1. Nancy Davis

        Thanks for that information!! Mine are not tall enough to prune or there would be no bush left but maybe I should have cut the blossoms off this year. It is not a new bush but transplanted from another spot last fall because it was not doing well! The new bush I planted this year did not have blossoms at all. We don’t have acid soil. I put a little bit of that special acid soil dirt in when I transplanted and planted the new one and am putting coffee ground around. I will just have to keep working at it! Nancy

  2. Laura

    Beautiful! So jelous of your berry harvest. We sadly won’t be harvesting for another year due to our garden ninja attack, which is completely insane! I realize the weather has been very very good for a garden this year, but do you feel the BTE garden technique has really benefitted you? Our garden is about a full month behind, so I can’t really tell yet. (we are way up by the VA border)

    1. newbiegardengirl Post author

      I am so sorry! I cannot believe what is happening over at your place! Time to stay home w/a shotgun πŸ˜‰ regarding the BTE, this year the #1 thing I can tell you is it is the end of June and I went out this morning and weeded the ENTIRE garden in 10 minutes. I watch my poor neighbors weed and weed and weed and NEVER get ahead of the weeds. It makes me so sad! As far as other aspects of the method, I hear it gets better each year. Our mulch is not quite even one year. As it decomposes more and more, the better it will be (I hear – and it makes sense to me). We will also be adding chicken manure/compost little by little so I expect that to make a big difference. Oh! and watering! With raised beds, i had to water daily. I have not had to water yet (I know it’s been raining a lot) other than right after planting the plants in the BTE garden. so, yes! it has benefited me a lot so far πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: Harvest Monday | Gardening Without…

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