Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2013: Year of the Garden

I really tried to make my garden plans realistic this year. I fear I have failed. I blame the fact that we had a two day blizzard going on while I made my seed order. But also, I have decided this should be "The Year of the Garden". I really, really love adding to the homesteading type things we do, but it's hard not to go too far too fast, so in general we have tried to just do one major thing each year.  Looks like this year, the focus is going to be on growing more plants, instead of animals, like the last few years.

2010 was The Year of the Chickens. We built a coop and got a dozen layers. I really consider this year the start of our little farm, though we had always kept a small vegetable garden before that.


2011 was The Year of The Ducks and Guineas (and More Chickens). We got four Cayuga ducklings. We have lost one since then. They are awesome layers and the eggs are great for baking with. We also got 9 more chickens- one of which turned out to be a surprise rooster. Unfortunately, the younger batch do not lay nearly as well as the older batch! We also got four guinea hens, to help control ticks, and because I thought they were neat. Those birds were pretty much a dismal failure at doing anything useful except  making a ton of racket. I no longer find them "neat".  The male was aggressive and had to be gotten rid of. And now we are down to just one guinea! Plus three ducks, 16 chickens, and a rooster.

2012 was The Year of the Goats. We have three. They are not for milking, or eating. The hope is that they will provide some brush control, helping to keep our field clear of wild blackberries. And of course they are just super cute. We love our goats!

2013, then, is going to be The Year of the Garden. We will be planting rhubarb and raspberries, in addition to the blueberries we already have. And then:

Tomatoes & cherry tomatoes
Herbs-parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, chamomile
Green Beans
Cucumber-slicing & picklers
Lettuce and Microgreens
Sugar Pod Peas
Pumpkins-mini & jack o'lantern-sized
Swiss Chard
Zucchini & Summer Squash
Butternut Squash
Pak Choi
Nasturtiums (edible flowers!)

Most of these thing we have tried in the past. The garlic, horseradish, kale, Swiss chard, butternut squash, Pak Choi, and nasturtiums are new to us. We are planning to put in a few more raised beds and might also try a cold-frame for the first time. We may end up starting some seeds indoors, not sure about that yet.  Last year, we had a farm share for most of our vegetables but this year we decided it was just too inconvenient to get to the farm every week since it is a half-hour drive. So that is one reason we are doing a bigger garden this year.  The other reason is- I just feel like it:). I say that now, ask me again in June when I'm up to my knees in weeds!

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