A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

The May Garden

As May concludes, here finally is an update on the garden. We’ve been here two weeks, and it’s finally starting to feel real. The garden project is one of my most gratifying, although much of it seems to be two steps forward; one step back.

I’m continuing to plant, in the interest of a passing season, yet the fence has yet to be completed. (I won’t mention the oversight of the deer or roaming cows, lest I jinx myself, but…) The chickens have been persistently destructive, just as they were at our last place, so I will be attempting to wrangle and coop them. Meanwhile, for as long as the hose and grass occupy my toddler, I’ve been hanging wire one post at a time.

What have been spared so far by the villainous poultry are a row of peas; a pell-mell patch of radishes and leaf lettuce; a dozen heirloom tomatoes; and small plots of beets, kale, basil, cilantro, squash, cucumbers, and melons. Until the fence is up and the chicken issue is resolved, I’m trying not to get too attached as I continue planting.

Two rows of fingerling, gold, and purple potatoes are thriving. The first row we planted in a trench months ago has been mounded with layers of mulch and soil to about a foot over ground-level; the other has spud leaves just emerging from the trench.

Beside the potatoes surrounded by nasturtium is the compost heap, onto which I layer kitchen waste, manure, and grass clippings with immense satisfaction.

Our wonderful next-door neighbors shared runners from their bountiful raspberry patch, most of which have taken to their new plot perfectly. The raspberries neighbor the two blueberry plants, which are too straggly to be called bushes. Evidently I should have pinched off this year’s berries to encourage plant growth, but now they are so close to ripeness, I can’t bear to do so, nor am I sure it would help at this point.

Two of the four apple trees we planted last month have apples; the other two do not. I’m not terribly surprised given the time of their planting, and I have plenty of hope for future years. Also, the old apple tree I cut from a tomb of blackberry brambles and ivy earlier in the year is thriving. Someone said it was a crabapple, but I was pretty sure its fruit were previously hindered by the tree’s neglect. That appears to be true, and I look forward to finding out what type of apples it yields.

The concord grape arbor I pruned for its first time in what must have been decades has likewise come to glorious life. Soon we’ll have the Adirondack chairs or a new bench beneath to enjoy on these warm, breezy spring afternoons. The beauty here is boundless and, thankfully, energizing.

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4 Comments

  1. May 31, 2015    

    Think of it this way: The eggs the chickens are giving you must be extra-nutritious from all the starts they’re eating!

    • June 1, 2015    

      Haha, that is a good way to think of it! As of yesterday, however, no more starts for them! Cooped and fence half-up!

  2. June 1, 2015    

    Sorry to hear about the villains (aka chickens) stealing all your starts. Here’s hoping that the eggs taste good. You’ve made great progress, I know it might not seem so some days but you’re doing great. As for the blueberry “bushes” I’ve got a couple of those too. It was such a pain picking last year as all of the branches where too tall for me and so straggly, that this year I kind of butchered the bushes… they’re still straggly but I’m seeing new shoots. Here’s hoping it actually goes back into “bush” form.
    Good luck and keep up the good work

    • June 2, 2015    

      Thanks for the boost! Sounds like your blueberry “trees” are way beyond what we’ve got, and if they’re kicking out fruit, hooray! Best of luck to you as well! Hard work of the best kind. 🙂

Welcome!

I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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