April Homestead Update

It’s crazy to think that, this time last year, we were about three weeks in with New Baby Homesteader, and so engrossed in that learning process (and the hormones, sleeplessness, and other craziness that comes with caring for an infant) that we hardly remembered to eat, let alone make dinner for ourselves or work to grow our food for the year.

Now, we’re over a year in with our toddler (!) and, once again, able to care for ourselves, but still gratefully accepting help when we need it. Shout out to my parents, who were visiting with us for a couple of weeks, who lovingly watched our nugget while we got some much-needed homestead chores done, among other things. It takes a village, y’all, and don’t you forget it.

Anyway, all this is is to say that I’m back with an actual April homestead update that’s not just about sleep deprivation and barely hanging on. We’ve got lots of stuff going on here, and I’m going to tell you about it, with pictures. Yay!

Big Stuff

One of our big projects from last weekend was creating another row for our blackberry bushes, which involved both erecting another set of t-posts and wire for trellising, and digging up and moving some of the canes that had migrated to our not-property.

Unfortunately, we had to move some big mama canes in the process, which don’t transplant as well as small cane shoots, but it was a risk we needed to take before the canes utterly took over our neighbors’ edge of the property and got tangled up in burning bushes (not literal burning – the actual botanical burning bush). All in all, some of the transplanted canes look all right, while others may be fodder for the burn pile soon.

Our other big upcoming project is (dundundun) digging and creating new beds in the vegetable garden, in lieu of the rows we created a few years ago. We’ve let the land itself grow back with cover cropping, as well as allowed our chickens to scratch up and, errr, fertilize the land with plenty of nitrogen for the past year. Should be…fun.

A blank canvas!

Seedlings and Whatnot

In exciting news (at least for me), are these seedlings not gorgeous??

I feel like I finally did the darned things right this year, putting bigger and more robust plants with crazy roots in larger containers, while keeping the smaller ones in the big seedling flat. Which reminds me that I should probably start some moonflowers ASAP. Whoops. Anyway, we’ve got tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley, and dill going, just about ready for that last frost to come and go.

We’ve also got arugula sprouting and growing in a container, yay!

I’ve also got lettuces and bok choy going, although those are looking a little less robust and, in the case of my Drunken Woman lettuce, might need a second planting, thanks to that weird snow we got two weeks ago. Argh.

Finally, we have some radishes growing in the cold-weather bed:

Ignore the violets. Lousy violets.

Here’s hoping I finally get some of my own red (and purple, and white) radishes to eat this year.

Other Cool Stuff

One of our rhubarbs came back, hooray! And it looks excellent so far.

Our strawberries are doing well in their new home, where I can actually keep an eye on them and keep the weeds under control, rather than dig through constant crabgrass.

Bee balm and phlox are thriving in the moon garden, as well as (not pictured) lavender and daisies. I’ll have to try again with rosemary, as my plant just straight up died. Boo.

Oh, and in most exciting news, we have asparagus we can actually eat this year! Huzzah! Pictured in the garden is a tiny stalk that we did not pick, as well as the two robust stalks we did get to pick.

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, asparagus is a project crop, at least for the first couple of years. You plant the crowns in an absolutely, positively weed-free bed (and keep it that way), mulch the crap out of it, and wait a minimum of two years to even think about cutting any stalks for eating. We still won’t pick every stalk, and only the young ones, this year so we continue to get more and more robust plants for years to come.

Finally, our trees are coming back, including the peach tree (as mentioned in a previous post) with tiny buds of fruits. Here’s hoping those turn into actual peaches this year, and we don’t get a freak freeze this month or next. Or ever.

That’s about it, other than the fact that we got a pecan tree sapling from a neighbor and now need to figure out where that goes. Until next time, happy homesteading!

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