April 2023 Homestead Update

Okay, Round 2 for spring here. Let’s see what’s happening on the homestead this month!

Farmer’s Markets and Classes

This technically doesn’t take place on the homestead itself, but is part of the household, so I’m including it. Spring market season officially opened at the beginning of this month, and I’ll be back at the East Asheville Tailgate Market every Friday from 3-6 and the Weaverville Tailgate Market every other Wednesday from 3-6, as well as various markets, festivals (including HoneyFest again!), and pop-ups throughout the year.

And, as announced in my last post, baking classes are live and ready to go, starting May 20. I’ve added two new classes to the In-Person Classes page for June, including another Baking Basic Bread class and a Yeasted Rolls and Pastries class, with many more to come. Sign up while there are still seats!


We’re super stoked about some of our long-awaited perennials coming back for the spring…

…especially our asparagus!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, asparagus takes years to root and grow enough shoots for eating, and we’re on Year 4 (I think), which means we get to cut and eat more than we did last year, hooray! And our hard work/waiting seems to be paying off – we’re getting more and more consistent shoots this week than we ever have before.

Our surviving rhubarb is doing fantastically, and may even give us some good, thick stalks to play with this year. Not enough to make a jam, perhaps, but enough to make a tart or pie or something of the sort.

Speaking of rhubarb, our strawberries are back, too! Our chickens decided to use the strawberry bed as a dust bath throughout the winter, which kind of decimated most of the plants, but at least one is thriving, two are surviving, and I’ll just plant more this spring, now that our little feathered jerks friends have a new tractor and stay out of trouble. Mostly.

Well, we may get a few peaches this year, but thanks to a suuuuuuper early warm spell in February, followed by some hard freezes in mid-March, many of the blossoms and buds shriveled up, despite our best efforts. I’m also still mad about our potted blueberry, which was blossoming hard and I left out on one of the freezing nights without a cover. Oh well.

As usual, these blackberries are insane, and we now have two full rows, thanks to moving more canes at the correct time this year (before they started flowering). If we really get as many blackberries as it appears, some of y’all are gonna need to come berry picking over the summer. Heck, we may have a neighborhood blackberry picking bramble in the future! But let’s not count our chickens, errr, berries, just yet.

Seed Starts

I started the danged moonflowers this year in February, and they’ve been in and out of the house, hardened off and ready to go, since March. I haven’t gotten the number of blooms I got the first year I planted them since, well, the first year I planted them, so here’s hoping I get blossoms long before the first frost of the fall.

We’ve got tons of herbs going, and they look so good this year. I decided to spring for a decent seed starting soil, instead of using regular potting soil, which I think is making a difference in quality. We also replaced one of our seed bulbs with an LED bulb, which should hopefully last longer and be less discontinued than the fluorescent ones our setup came with. We’ve got Genovese basil, Thai basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, and (obviously not an herb) collards growing in this tray.

The peppers and tomatoes are also looking so much better this year – a brighter green, and just more robust all around. Now that I think about it, three years of seed starting and correcting mistakes may also be why these just look better. The larger pots in both trays are some last-minute squash starts, which I’ll plant near the end of May.

Overall, our grass is growing, edible “weeds” are thriving (we’ve been munching on violets, wild onion, and dandelion with abandon), chickens are contained in their new tractor and laying eggs like crazy, and I’m keeping the mites under control as far as I can tell. Next time I update, we’ll likely have many of our annuals in the ground for the Big Plant, woohoo!

Until then, happy homesteading!

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