We are definitely still gardening, well, kinda. 🙂 Currently, it's more quick dashes outside to pull some greens for the animals and to harvest veggies and herbs that we need for our meal rather than planting anything new in the ground. Outside right now, you will find we have lettuce, parsley, kale, chard (barely holding on), carrots, arugula (like crazy), broccoli, and beets (almost gone) that are gracing us with their presence. Back on Halloween, we made 4 new 32 sq ft. garden beds in the yard- there are now 14 garden beds, plans to add 4 more in 2021, and a foolish idea to add cow panels along the entire front of the yard to grow peas which turns into a redesign of how the beds are utilized into the future. December is the time to plan for next season- what are the dream plants to eat next year vs. the reality of what we have space, time, and the climate to grow.
Brett and I have planted our garlic crop for next year and it is already growing! We are both worried that we didn't plant enough...there is always next year to grow more, but we don't want to wait that long. We planted a winter-hardy cover crop to keep the beds that are not in production busy over the fall/winter months; planting a cover crop helps with keeping the beds "actively photosynthesizing" and soil being worked by the roots for next seasons use. The beds that we have nothing in now look so sad sitting out there empty... makes us look forward to seeing the ground covered in snow!
Our indoor seedling nursery is FINALLY coming together in a corner of the workshop. I am looking forward to the year that we no longer buy any of our veggies from the store... it's getting closer.
Topic to Consider: Compost Your Leaves
Do you usually compost your fall leaves or gardening waste? If not, this year is the time to start. You can make a compost pile in almost any space, large or small. All of the leaves in the yard/street/everywhere imaginable are wonderful, not only for jumping in 😉 but also for providing wonderfully nutrient-dense compost for your garden next year. Additionally, you can add your table scraps and any other green waste from your home to recycle the plant matter and provide nutrients to your future gardens.
Our three smallest hens are getting used to being outdoors with the rest of the flock and are living full-time in the coop with their sister fri-hens. Now all 9 are running around and having a good time eating bugs and grass and whatever else they find to devour. I think that only 2 or 3 of the hens are actually laying eggs, given it is winter, egg production is known to slow-down so I am not getting too worried about it yet...but, once mid-spring rolls around if they aren't all laying, then I'll be charging rent.
Butte absolutely LOVES being outside right now- her fur coat was made for this life- her white coat, however, was not. *Ya Filthy Animal* haha. She has an entire greenhouse covered area as well as an outdoor exposed space to frolic about that we move every couple weeks... shes loving all the scraps from our veggies with the occasional grain mixed treats and shares how much she loves us by digging holes in the yard for us to trip in. The chickens just think the spaces we've filled-in are dust bathing holes, so, I guess, depending on how you look at this, it's just one big happy farm family... 😐
Suburban Succulents Happenings
The inside of Suburban Succulents is almost finished with the conversion from garage to plant shop! ALMOST! Brett and I are installing the new lights soon- by the end of this month is the goal. The houseplants that are growing in the shop are doing very well but will do even better once there is more energy-efficient lighting for them to thrive under.
We've finished the touch-up painting and accent wall, mounted the pipe shelving, hung our Diane Madaras calendar art, and now the space really looks like a real shop. Next, we mount the room dividing curtains, which will provide a better aesthetic to the shop that is conveniently shared with the laundry room, and then we replace the backdoor... an infinite work in progress it seems...but there IS progress.
All of the Succulents & Cactus and Orchids are happily growing in the greenhouse- they made it through the first early freeze at the end of October using only 4 sheets precariously hanging from the walls of the greenhouse to protect the babies. I'll be insulating the bottom of the house with bags filled with leaves (yes, we are the "crazy" people who ask their neighbors for their leaves) and from there we are gonna see what mother nature has in store for us. I'm sure there will be an update of some additional attempts made at freeze-proofing the greenhouse. We've mentioned bubble-wrap and it's not ruled out by any account. 😉
A quick thank you to all of those who continue to support us on this journey of owning and operating our small-scale nursery and eventual farm. We can't wait for the changes and growth that 2021 promises and being able to share it with all of you. Happy holidays, take care and be safe, Everyone!