Monday, May 4, 2009

Planting Time Has Begun

Friday we went to the Fedco tree sale ( to pick up our order. Every year we try to add more perennial vegetables and fruit to our garden, and this year we added hardy kiwi. We are quite excited to finally have these plants, however hardy kiwi take 5-9 years to produce fruit (should've done it 5 years ago!) We also came home with asparagus, strawberries and a few grapes. So, yesterday was planting day.

We do all our gardening raised beds. One of my favorite books is Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! by Pat Lanza and all our gardens are made following her ideas (somewhat....being true homesteaders we are not able to follow directions exactly and love to improvise). The raised beds are nice because we can make more garden spots as needed, have large ones, small ones, square ones, triangle get the idea. And, most importantly, no tilling. Lots of hoeing, but no tilling. This is a better choice for us for a few reasons. We don't own a tiller, hate listening to gas powered equipment if we can avoid it, and it is better for the soil life. And, actually we could cut back on a lot of the hoeing if we had more compost.

Ah, compost. A gardener's best friend. Our goal is to make all our compost here, but we have not done that yet, so therefore we are getting a load today from a local organic farmer. We will barter something for it and tomorrow, weather permitting, more strawberries will be planted.

Our goal is to grow and preserve almost all of our food. We are doing a pretty good job so far with fruits and vegetables, but more on that at another time. We are also always on the lookout for substituting ideas and creative uses for what we do have an abundance of.

Last year we put up a greenhouse to experiment with year round (unheated) growing. So far spinach is doing well and now we have a place to start seeds. we would love to hear from anyone who has had luck with unheated greenhouses in cold climates.

So now, back to the weeds (I have a new love for dandelions; powerful greens, coffee substitute, wine and friends to the honey bees. Maybe they can stay!)

Gardener's Supply Company

Journal of Sorts

Homesteading in Maine is great fun, but can be very challenging. Our weather dictates most of what we do. Since we live off the grid, our days are ruled by the sun, and most days require careful planning. Things don't always go according to schedule, and emergencies can pop up anytime. A friend of ours has a saying "which emergency shall I deal with first," and sometimes this is how we live our life. But each day is different, rewarding, and getting us closer to our goal of becoming more self-sufficient.

This blog will be a journal of what we do day to day, information about living with solar, raising our Dexter cows, and some of our crazy ideas that work, and some that don't.

We hope you will join us in learning about homesteading (even urban homesteaders...lots of what we do is great for city living as well) and share some of what you do with us.