our gardens

This Week On The Homestead: Kicking It Off

Ellie-and-a-broadfork

1. After years of pining for a broadfork, we finally got our mitts on one. We could hardly wait to start using it to prep our garden beds for the season ahead. Ryan tried it out in various places. Then, he gave it over to me to prep the backyard garden while he fetched compost to mix in (such a sweetheart). The end result was a beautiful, rich looking bed just waiting to be planted. Thanks to our broadfork this work took less than a fourth of the time it has in the past.

refreshed-garden-bed-with-broadfork

2. It may be winter, but thanks (mostly) to our cold frames and an El Nino winter, our gardens never stopped. We’ve shared a few things on Instagram like the thriving elephant garlic, asparagus, and broccoli. But our alpine strawberries (all 18) are still flowering. The swiss chard that started as seeds in a cold frame are developing beautifully. You should see me cheese like a fool when I walk out to the color popping in our winter garden and all that is springing from the earth.

winter-swiss-chard

3. We are surrounded by water oaks that drop leaves and limbs year round. What limbs aren’t used for wattle fencing or added to a retaining wall land in the fire pit. It sounds like a waste, but the ashes are actually beneficial to the garden and are reused. Wood ash is safe to use on beds needing potassium and lime, but you want to avoid adding it to acid-loving plants like blueberries and azaleas. After the mass build-up of ash from our New Year’s celebration, we had to put this to use and treated our garden’s to a dose of wood ash before the sticks started piling back up in the fire pit.

4. We are shifting our edible gardens more and more towards perennials. A handful of different plants have been collected and multiplied over the past few seasons in our gardens, but it’s still mostly annual vegetables that we grow. Well, we finally put in our first bigger live plant order for perennial fruit. We have a nice assortment of elderberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, kiwi, goji berry, and a few others coming our way in the next few weeks. Needless to say, the excitement of so much abundance is tough to hold in.

5. We scored big time on homestead gifts over Christmas. From the garden to the kitchen, we are coming into the New Year with tools to help us live the vegetarian, homesteady lifestyle we pine after. We’ve been sharing a few on Instagram like the glorious broadfork and mushroom logs, but what you haven’t seen, is the Weck jars, plant clips, and cookbooks like Oh She Glows and The Southerner’s Cookbook. Ryan has been putting the cookbooks to good use already… we are already building a favorite vegetarian cookbook list for 2016, y’all…

oh-she-glows-veggie-burgers

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