Friday, April 30, 2010

Farm Report--Frugal Productivity or Productive Frugality?

This morning I decided we needed to get back out in the garden early to mulch the tomato/basil patch before the predicted storms and 8-10 inches of rain appeared.  Our little homestead is on a hill;  everything from the backdoor on is downhill.  I didn't want to watch my hard work find its slippery way down to the bottom of the hill and into the creek!

We've been trying to garden in a frugal way, but there is still a good bit of money invested when you need to buy good soil, manure, mulch, seeds and plants.   Last year we started composting veggie and table scraps and adding lawn clippings and leaves as well.  This has been fairly easy to do (meaning I don't do anything but put the scraps in a bucket!!) and results in a great supplement to our garden.  Jeff and the boys recently found a free source of a great gardening material that has a never-ending "free" supply.  All they have to do is hitch up the trailer and shovel for a while.  Lots of manure!!  They bring it home, shovel it off the trailer and add it to the compost.  It has to age before  you can use it and this first load was a little too fresh, but will be great to plow in next spring.

I had read about someone putting their raised beds on carpet remnant so they wouldn't have to combat the weeds.  A friend of ours does floors and saved me a  couple of rooms of carpet that he was replacing.  The wood for the beds was salvaged from a deck off our master bedroom.  We have four beds here that we planted seeds in earlier this spring.  We haven't had much luck with the seeds, so I have started putting in plants.

It may be too late, but I found strawberry plants on sale at Lowe's the other day.  Jeff has been wanting to plant some, so I thought it was time.  The kids and I built this bed for the strawberries using  landscaping blocks that we purchased years ago.  A flat of these blocks was only a hundred dollars.

Instead of putting verbena in our raised bed that has our bell in it, I decided to plant herbs.  I have pineapple sage, sage, oregano, and thyme here.  In another bed I have been transplanting mint that had grown out of its former place.  I love to make mint iced tea in the summer!

Because our home was in the woods when we moved here, Jeff has cut down or bulldozed down 100's of trees. Trees were literally right off the porch and even growing in the master bedroom deck.   We still have LOTS of woods, but we wanted a yard and to be able to see the sky for stargazing!  Because of all the wood around we decided to use some of it to make raised beds as well.  Much more rustic than anything else we have done, but if it works and it's free then that's great!  This bed has asparagus and sunflowers in one side and horseradish and sunflowers in the other.  Because we used our compost we also have some "volunteer" squash and tomatoes coming in here as well!! 

Our corn patch looks so little here next to the compost bin, but I planted over 100 seeds yesterday.  Last year we planted too late and either  the deer or coons ate what did grow in.  Praying for a better return on my time this year!  You can see Caedmon in his swing back behind the corn patch.

Yes, we were out in our pajamas!!  I wanted to get the mulching done and the green beans planted before the rains came.

Devin calls Caedmon her sweet little curly-haired blue-eyed blonde!

Sweet Jackson is still wearing winter pajamas.

Kaelan is taking a swinging break!  The big boys hadn't done their beauty routine yet this morning and didn't want their pictures taken.

Gardening is a family affair.  You have to start early if you want good workers!!


Roan said...

I can't wait to hear about your yield!
You are right, it does cost more than you think to put in a garden! We have just one small the bottom of a hill!
You know my kids play outside in their pajamas all the time! You do have to do garden work before it gets too hot.
Hope to see you soon.

Laura at By the Bushel said...

yes, it's gotta be 'worth it' or it's just another expensive project gone ary. (that's typical for my world not speaking for yours.. )
I'm determined to stick to 'my plan' the one from Mother Earth News, because he says he saved so much and included his cost. Except he's an experienced gardener. I'm not.... oh well. we'll see. We've made it to our new digs... Take care-

Mary Bergfeld said...

You have a lovely family. I hope your garden harvest is as fruitful as your family adventures have been.This is my first visit to your blog but I'll be back often to see how your garden grows. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Cyndi Lewis said...

Great looking garden beds! Great looking kids too.

Laura said...

Oh I think I've found a "kindred spirit" as Anne of Green Gables would say! lol I soooooo want a garden but have not the talent or finances for one. We've planted a few herbs and veggies in containers all around our back deck and even planted some "free" raspberry bushes in our backyard. But that's it. I have an acre of wooded land that I just know is FULL of potential. If only I had the know how to do something with it! I'll keep an eye on yours and see if I can learn anything. Thanks!!

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