Spring is only a few weeks away. At least that's what the calendar says. I'm ready. I'm ready to play in the dirt. Things will be a bit harder this time around though. Why? Well, we lost our home in October, 2011 to a fire. We are currently living about 15 miles away in another town. Time, or lack thereof, is going to be a major issue. I am currently working 50 miles away (100 miles round trip). I leave the house at 8:30 am and get home around 7pm. That doesn't leave much time to do anything including eat! Gee, this could be a great weight-loss plan.... I only have one day off per week and that is Saturday. I am away from home almost 65 hours a week. Most of the hours I am home, its too dark to work in the garden.
Oh, don't for get sleeping, grocery shopping and other misc tasks that have to be done. I could work in the garden in the early morning before going to work, but with no running water at the burned out house, it would be impossible and impractical before going to work. Hmmmm.......
Then we also have to contend with demolition and new construction of our home. I've never been part of building a new house. Should be interesting. More on t hat later.
Back to the garden. We fight pests as organically as possible, however, due to the fields around us, we cannot claim "organically raised" due to farmer use of pesticides and fertilizers. The closest we can come is all natural. Our fertilizer is compost and chicken poop. We had been boarding some horses and using the manure. They've since moved out and our supply is getting low! When spring does finally arrive, I will clean out the hen house and put that on the compost pile. I usually set up a little fence in the garden area and let the girls scratch, peck and poop before we can get in to till it up.
My big plan is have a farmer's market in our front yard. I would love to have a pumpkin patch, but I don't know if I have enough room. I know, we live on 18 acres, how could we not have enough room? Well, um, we have a house, 2 barns, WOODS and a 12 acre field that is being returned to its natural state in cooperation with the USDA and the CRP program.
So back to where am I going to have a pumpkin patch? Well, the front yard would be perfect but the construction people are going to be there most of the spring and probably part of the summer. The barnyard was an option until my husband announced he and a friend are going to use that to start rabbit hunting dogs. The south lot floods. The side yard is too shady. I could redesign the entire backyard where the current garden is, but then all that hard work would be wasted. I could move the clothes lines.....
We usually grow the common stuff like green beans, beets, radishes, carrots, peas, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. We only raise heirloom varieties. There's not going to be any Frankenfood coming out of my garden. We tried watermelon, but they didn't do too well. I think the oak branch hanging over the garden gave a bit tooooo much shade. They were a really cool variety too. Called Moon and Stars for the yellow spots on a dark bluish-green skin, they've been around since before the settlers arrived. They are attributed to the Cherokee Nation.
I had saved many of the seeds from things we had been growing all last summer. I also received generous offerings from the girls over at Mary Jane's Farm. Sadly, all those wonderful seeds were lost in the fire. They were in the kitchen in the bottom of my bakers cabinet. It was the best place for them. Cool, dark and pest free! Bummer. My insurance adjuster is going raise an eyebrow when I give a list of lost seeds in addition to all of our belongings.
Well, I'm off to peruse seed catalogs and dream of my super-productive, market-worthy garden!
PS. Important footnote - We only purchase seeds from companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. “Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately people and communities.”