Spring gardenIt already looks like a garden...
though a weedy one.
It's been a while since my last homesteading update, so I thought I'd do a quick one today - not much to share so far, as spring has been dragging its feet....  We started off March in the 70's and everything went nuts, and then for the past few weeks it has been a lot cooler - so cool, in fact, that last night it snowed (hopefully the last snow of the season!) - and we woke up this morning to a dusting of white on the green, green grass.

I had meant to get my potatoes planted this weekend, but as the lows this week are predicted to be in the 20's again, I'm waiting another week just to be safe. Nonetheless, the garden already is looking beautiful (though I may be a bit biased!  :-) 

I picked up some organic potting soil today, and indoor seed planting will be underway this week, despite the chilly temps outdoors. I'm so excited to get things growing!

Here are some springtime pics from around the homestead. The daffodils have been beautiful, with even more blooming than last year, but unfortunately it seems a wascally wabbit has discovered the tulips, and eaten the buds and stalks all the way to the ground - along with many of the leaves off my strawberry plants!

The daffodils are beautiful this year...
...unlike my poor, sad, tulips, which were completely decimated by rabbits! :(
The good news is, despite the cool temperatures, it has not been nearly as wet as last year, which means I have been able to start digging the new beds a full month earlier than I was last year! Progress is slow, since the area was tilled a year ago, so it is fairly compacted by now, but I'm still very hopeful that I will have everything all set to go by planting time, and won't have to delay due to swamp-like conditions like I did last year. Also I only have 2 rows of beds left to go, so I'm on the home stretch!

If things go well, I'm a bit nervous about how much food we're going to have...  When I look at the mound of seed packets, I feel like we must be crazy, but then again, if we're trying to be more self-sustaining, growing a wide variety of stuff is essential. I am glad we didn't attempt to fill the whole garden space last year. It was nice to have a more limited trial run, so I could learn important things like, don't plant 27 tomato plants for 2 people!  :-)  15 quarts of pickles is too many. Or, the mice are going to eat half of your melons. This year, I am looking forward to a wider variety of peppers, melons, and squash - and more potatoes!

The potatoes did so well in the hay bales last year, this year we are doubling our potato bale space (3 bales last year, 6 this year). I put compost on top a week or so ago, as well as some coffee grounds to increase acidity.
We put down some cardboard to help keep the grass down.
Compost on top - ready for planting!
Besides working on the new beds, I've been weeding, weeding, weeding! It's amazing to me how many weeds there can be after the winter.... The beds with fall/winter crops in them were the worst, as the weeds were also protected under plastic. Mostly grass so far, and those darned thistles! Once we get our cedar bed boxes around them though, hopefully it will be easier to control the weeds creeping up the sides. 

(Yes, as you can see from the pics, it's pretty swampy today after a hard rain yesterday, but with sunshine and lots of wind, the puddles have been drying up fairly quickly.)
The garlic looks great so far!
The carrots wintered well; the onions, not so much...
The garlic looks great - growing like crazy! The carrots overwintered very well, too (though only one lone onion survived), and somehow, a couple of collard plants survived the sub-zero nights and have come back strong, along with, against all odds, 2 lettuces!

The oregano I planted from seed in the fall in the mint bed by the house has also taken off and looks amazing - other than, of course, being partly smothered by the mint. I cleaned out the bed a bit today, and I think it will do well there. The mint, of course, is venturing out to try to take over the lawn (and eventually the universe), but we will just mow it as needed, and it will keep the lawn smelling minty fresh. :-)
Pretty spring garden! The big bushy green leaves are collards that survived the winter.
Hardy oregano is doing great.
Well, that's all for today! Just wanted to share a few pics and updates from the homestead.

Though we may be a bit behind due to the chilly temps, things are coming along, and it has been very beautiful and sunny. Soon I'll be getting pepper and tomato seedlings started indoors, and tucking the potatoes into bales.

I am also planning some early peas and salad greens (the white plastic you see in the picture above is covering a bed to try to warm the soil a bit before direct seeding these), so we will see how it goes.

Now if only we can catch that darned rabbit, before it demolishes the rest of my strawberry plants, along with the tulips!



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