This is a photo of the guys beginning to clear out the potato garden area. We were really blessed to have friends who shared extra organic seed potatoes with us, enough to fill the area!! WOW!! We put in 5 "long" rows and 3 "short" ones. While we aren't tilling at all this year, this particular area hadn't been touched by anything other than a lawnmower in a couple years, so it did need clearing out. We dug small trenches for the potatoes, put in a layer of compost, set in the cut up seed potatoes and then topped them with a nice layer of straw. Though I had been beginning to worry about them not coming up, I just looked out and saw one row sprouting up nicely with more sprouts starting to peek through in other rows. Once the sprouts start really coming in we'll add more straw as mulch.
The front gardens are starting to do well, especially the greens. For some reason, our carrot seeds aren't wanting to sprout. Late last week I resowed some as I thought perhaps we set them out to early. Nothing really coming up yet, but we'll give it a little longer before we toss in the towel. The beds really need weeding thanks to all the rain, but I'm surely not going to complain about the rain! I have noticed that we have one strawberry that has turned red, so that is really exciting!!! The cherry tree looks to be full of berries too, so that is another very big excitement. The onions we planted in the bed under the boys window seem to be doing well. Though since this is our first year growing I have to admit to not really knowing what is proper growth for them. We'll see. The Blue Hubbard squash plant's leaves are turning yellow. That's a head-scratcher. There is only one plant in there, it has gotten plenty of rain, and is in a nice mixture of aged compost and dirt so I have no idea what's up. Gonna go with the theory, for now anyway, about plants just following their own rules and guidelines, not ours!
Yesterday we worked on the back garden, which still doesn't yet have plants actually planted in it! A friend delivered us some old pallets which we used to temporarily patch the holes in the fence. We're planning on putting a picket fence in, but funds are an issue, so we're making due with pallets (which can then be re-used again to build another compost bin!). While Justin messed with that, I worked on emptying out the old compost bin. I have to admit that it hadn't fully composted. I think we need to turn it more often. Anyway, it took 5 or 6 wheelbarrow-fulls, but all the compost is now spread around the garden. I was then able to get one wheelbarrow-full (VERY FULL!) of wet, spoiled hay into the garden before we had to call it an evening. Things we have learned: 1) When planning compost piles, make sure to take into account how you plan to empty them. Currently ours our too close, making emptying out the old one a true pain. Luckily, it is getting tossed since it didn't keep dogs out. But lesson was still learned! 2) We were lucky to get a big, round bale of spoiled hay delivered to us. Unfortunately, there was no way to drop it off in or near the garden. It went in the driveway. We tried getting it up over the fence (a seperate blog that I promise I will post soon!), which ... well I don't want to ruin the suprise, but it didn't work. ---- LESSON LEARNED: We're planning on putting in a new fence and gate at the end of the driveway anyway, but now we know to plan to make sure that the entry there is at least 6' wide. This way we can at least roll a hay bale through the gates. While we haven't finished spreading mulch or hay, the garden IS ready for plants to be put in it. We plan to get out there and do that as soon as we have a good evening (or weekend day) where the weather is good and we aren't swamped with other "must-do's".
ALSO ~ APRIL'S EGG TALLY: 119 Eggs -- Year to Date (as of April 31st) 379 Eggs ~ YAY!!
Finally, this morning I wondered down to our Farmer's Market. I've been really excited about it since they've begun allowing meat & dairy to be sold! WOO HOO!!! I picked up some plants for the garden, since we've had bum-luck with some of the seeds. Got some Black Beauty Zucchini, some straight yellow summer squash, and then 8 red bell pepper plants. Let's REALLY keep our fingers crossed that these babies transplant well into the garden and take off. It will be our first year really attempting zucchini and summer squash too, so lots of excitement there.
Our roots here feel deeper everyday, but our branches seem to stretch across the country and world to find like-minded folk.
Carrie is out-spoken and not one to ever hide who she is, Justin is the rock of reason that keeps her from flying off into her own world, but who also is always along for the ride!
We're dedicated to urban-homesteading and trying to live as eco-friendly and self-sustainable life as possible, without losing what made us who we are in the first place. The love of beer brought us together, and homebrewing holds a special place in our hearts.
Homesteading, homebrewing, homeschooling, and Hokies -- is there anything else left to say?
Halloween is such a big thing for us and this neighborhood. So, carving pumpkins has become a big thing for us as well. This year we only did two (down from I think 6 last year!) but they were awesome: Jim Morrison & Jerry Garcia
Summer beginning to fade
Our sunflowers going to seed - 7/22/07
Early Spring 2007
A view of the garden in early spring
Beauty of Spring
A white Lily with raindrops
The sense of community and love that came out after the 4/16 massacre was beautiful. I cry everytime I think about everything that happened that day. No, it shouldn't define Tech, but what I will always remember is the love and sense of community & one-ness. So often we feel so alone in this world, the times when we don't should be remembered.