Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gardening As If My Life Depended On It...

I was sitting here plotting out a new blog post when Shannon posted a link to this article on Facebook.

I bring this article to your attention, because this is a lot of what drives me to my chosen homesteading lifestyle. But what I really want to tell you about is my garden...

The small raised bed that I dragged here from the house in San Jose is now chock full of greenery. In the fall I planted lettuce, swiss chard and Brussels sprouts in it. The lettuce was good at first but then 5 of the 6 plants died over the winter. The remaining plant is sort of sad looking and I'm leaving it alone to go to seed. The swiss chard has been abundant, supplying us with leafy greens for our dinners throughout the winter. I've even given some of it to the chickens and the rabbit. The Brussels sprouts are just now showing buds, so I expect to have a harvest in a few weeks. I'm really looking forward to that as I am craving a bowl of nicely roasted Brussels sprouts. And, to answer speculation that came up on Facebook, it is actually natural for people to crave certain foods based on seasonal changes and Spring is time to crave leafy greens.

My ghetto coldframe version 2 is a large shallow wooden box with an angled top that I replaced with an old trailer window. I filled it with potting soil and planted several rows of seeds. I now have radish and pea sprouts showing up in there. I'm looking forward to one day soon when I find the entire box sprouting with baby plants that will soon help me feed my family. I also have plans to build a greenhouse out of salvaged windows from the neighbor's property. I'd like to grow more food through next winter and I've toyed with the idea of eventually getting into small-scale aquaponics.

All of those little seedlings (along with the sugar pumpkin seedlings growing in my bedroom window) will soon be transplanted to the garden bed that I acquired from one of my neighbors. I'm really excited to be growing food to feed my family and, with the nearest grocery store being a 45 minute drive away, it will be nice to have abundant produce available only a short walk from my kitchen.

While I'm at it, here's a pic of the first eggs laid by my youngest hen, Madeline, who is a Black Copper Maran. I included the green egg laid by the Easter Egger to show the color contrast. I now have over a dozen eggs in my fridge at just about any give time. In a couple months I plan to let Madeline go broody if she will, so maybe we'll get some chicks too!

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