1388 and counting

We’re finally getting a few dry, warmish days in a row here, which means we drop everything and work in the garden. We managed to till the upper garden and get all the rows marked out today, and gave the potato patch another round of cultivating. The soil is still a bit damp & heavy there, so hopefully another few days will dry it enough to get all our spuds in.

Who knew back in 2006 that we’d go from 4 little square-foot-garden type raised beds to our very own little subsistence farm. The upper garden measures 1388sf, and there are 2 more garden sections we’ll be planting for a grand total of around 4000sf. This year we’re growing more food for the hens & pigs, and also some to sell. In addition to the ‘cropland’ we have expanded our orchard and will be planting more herbs.

The “practice” cold frame has been a handy place for hardening off early starts. We’ve even harvested some lettuce, spinach & bak choi. We’ll probably grow a few greens year round in here, just to have something fresh during winter. With the hurricane-force winds we get in winter, cold frames are a safer bet than a traditional green house or hoop house. Another experiment is our miniature grow-op – a workbench draped in visqueen, then some scraps of foamboard insulation with a heat mat on top. Seed trays go on that, under a suspended shop light with full spectrum bulbs. The whole thing is curtained with reflective mylar bubble insulation to keep in the heat and reflect light. It’s worked well so far, and this fall we’ll build a permanent version that is easier to work with and has more lighting. It will also be just tall enough to park the tiller & mower underneath. With a bonus sunny afternoon, we took a moment to barbeque some teriyaki chicken and play with the dogs. I’m sure they’s have preferred we tossed chicken to them rather than tennis balls, but it’s a dog’s life, as they say. The hens take advantage of every moment they’re out of the hen yard and in the house yard. The first port-of-call is still the dust pit they’ve created under the front fir trees. Katie also enjoys toodling around the yard, keeping up on the mowing. She’s also not above mooching for treats at the front door.

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