Homestead Update – March 2013

SHEETZ

Northeast Ohio is currently experiencing it’s 422nd day of snow.  In a row.  This means that I’ve got garden chores stacking up: beds to finish, peas to plant, and lots of general bossing around to do.  I keep making little tweaks to the above spreadsheet, something that started out as a simple list of current seed inventory.  It’s blossomed out to include a need-to-buy seed list, plants we need from local nurseries, herbs and their uses, actual bed maps, and two master planting sheets for spring and fall.

I like spreadsheets.

The sheet pictured above has been such an amazing way for me to work.  I’m a very visual person, and by creating my garden layouts, I feel like I have a much better handle on the varied beds we’re using this year.  Our garden last year was divided over three main plots: an herb garden (did extremely well,) our straw beds (no good,) and a huge rectangular soil plot (mixed results.)  The climate was different, obviously, and we took advantage of large plots of open space to till up a big garden.  Even though our property in Ohio is larger, it’s easily 3-4 acres of woodlot, and the barn, coop and house take up a lot more of the open space.  The open land we do have, however, is well-rated for farming.  Our only small issue is drainage, and our method of tackling it this year is a mix of raised beds, soil work, and relying on mounds instead of rows for some of our crops.

In addition to the single sheet giving an overview of our gardens, I’ve got several more pages of how the individual beds are divided up, and I’m hoping it will help everyone when planting time comes.

The gardens aren’t the only thing taking up attention.  Our chickens are producing fairly well (the last few days have seen a dip in supply, largely due to MORE SNOW,) and we’re bringing in ducks this week.  Next week, I’m hoping to pick up an order of turkeys and meat chickens that we’ll raise over the spring and summer for harvest in the fall.  Mid-April brings a new batch of chicks that will eventually be the layers for our egg CSA.

The goats are finally adjusting to their new home, but I still have no idea when babies will be here.  Doubtless these girls will surprise me as much as Pearl and Onyx did.  I expect to walk out one day and see new babies bleating at me and trying to figure out ways to jump on my car.

The last big animal change will hopefully be coming soon as well:  pigs.  We’ve got high hopes of offloading some of our tilling work onto a couple of pink pigs, digging up the orchard and tilling everything under at the end of the season.

If the snow would just let up, we’d be off to a running start for the summer.  In the mean time, we’ll just keep plugging along, hauling water, and getting ready for the Farmers’ Market.  In a couple of months, when I’m completely worn out and complaining about the heat, I hope I’ll remember how much I wished for an end to the snow.

 

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