Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Aspiring Farmer Blog
This weekend we got busy laying out the garden for the two of us. We are planting ~50% more than we think we will need so that one of two things happens. Either 1.) We get too much for us, and our neighbors, friends and animals get the extras, or 2.) We still don't get enough and we sadly head back to the grocery store for food like we're doing now.
What's our plan for the garden? For our first attempt at gardening we're planning a series of square foot gardens that surround a patio that we unearthed over the weekend. When we first moved to the farm there was a big area covered in gravel with a small fire pit in the middle (see photo above). Mounds of sod encroached from the yard on the periphery. We never really paid attention to that area, to be honest. It was outside of the fenced patio and kind of in no man's land. I just figured we'd dig out the gravel one day when we had some time and grass would grow back. Eventually it would just look like the rest of the yard. But last week Sweetbreads started digging up the gravel and low and behold there's a big concrete pad underneath.
"Sweet", we say to ourselves, patio extension! The former patio was fenced off completely, but with a little bit of work we took off the middle part of the existing fence and voila, we had access to the new patio. Then Sweetbreads got the fantastic idea to put an array of square foot garden planters around the patio so that we could easily access the garden from the kitchen/house/patio. The first mission was to clear off the pad, which turned out to be a little more effort than anticipated. Over the course of many years the sod had grown about a foot over the concrete. That made for a lovely few hours of hacking and digging off the sod. BUT along the way Sweetbreads got another great idea. Why not continue digging into the yard and dig out a small trench around the concrete pad? Then we could put in some cedar logs around the edge to frame it off.
So after a bit of digging our next adventure was to get some cedar trees from the woodlands. As we took the goats on one of their daily walks I brought along a hacksaw. We found a few small, downed, cedar trees and I got to hacksawing the trunks and limbs off (one day a chainsaw may be on order...). We needed about 40 feet worth of trunks, and three small trees sufficed. Once we got them cleared off we loaded them up on our shoulders and hauled them out of the woods. About half a mile later they were plopped into the trenches around the patio.
But what about the planters where the garden's going? Well, earlier in the week Sweetbreads visited a local saw mill and got a bunch of economy grade cedar boards to make the garden beds with. It helps to literally live in a cedar forest! The wood is incredibly durable and you can't beat the smell of fresh cut cedar. So later in the day on Friday I got busy putting the garden beds together and laying them out around the pad. Then we decided it would be nice to have a rock pathway around the edge and leading out to the barn. It never ends!
Easter Sunday, four loads of rocks later, we had the beginnings of a rock pathway around the garden beds. Fortunately, the south end of our land has some awesome rock formations with a ton of "glade" rocks protruding everywhere. Some are huge, weathered rocks with holes and fossils in them. Others, like the ones we were looking for, are flat and perfect for a walkway. With the goats and Sophie in tow we headed out on a rock hunt. As the goats grazed the brush, we hauled some rock. Back and forth and plopping down rocks all morning long and there you have it, the beginnings of our small garden. Today we'll get some soil in the beds and maybe in a few months we'll have some food!
Here's what it looks like now:
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