Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gardening Ups and Downs

One of the steps I've taken toward eating organically and achieving self-sufficiency is gardening. We have .6 acres and I'm aiming at filling it with food producing plants as much as possible. One third of the property has been devoted to garden space for many years (with the use of copious amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers). The remainder of the property is house, pecan trees, and grass. Since the garden area has been unused for a few years, I'm hoping that we have made a good start with removing the chemicals. Now is to battle against the weeds and turn the soil into something fertile enough to grow healthy plants. This is proving to be no easy feat. Currently, we have formed 18 raised 4'x20' beds. The soil is very poor so we are experimenting with making compost teas to fertilize. I'm also looking for plenty of compost items for our compost pile. The unplanted portion we are trying to put to growing sunflowers as a cover crop.  Lots of work done, lots more to come, and so far our harvested crop results are: 200 radishes and failed crops of beets, broccoli, and lettuce (grew but was BITTER). I will need to hit the farmers market to get the variety of vegetables I need to reach my goal of 30 different vegetables in 4 months.

Last year, I found a wonderful online program for garden planning. PlanGarden is totally cool...or, I should say "beasted" as I've been informed that is the new word to replace "kewl". I can plan not only the vegetable garden, but map out current and future trees, bushes, and garden plots. I can also play with different layouts of chicken coop, compost pile(s), etc. Anything I need on a permaculture mini-homestead I can plot on PlanGarden. Then, I can overlay the plan with current garden efforts. There is a harvest record tab, a journal for tracking all my gardening efforts, and so much more. It is probably the beasted program ever! Whether your garden is a 4x4 flower garden or a 5 acre homestead, you should try this program. The other day, I ordered a bunch of hedgerow bushes, fruit bushes, and periennal flowers. Now, while I wait for their arrival, I am playing with layouts to figure out the best placement of each item.

I've not been feeling well the last few days...nothing major...just some passing stomach flu I think. I was looking forward to getting back to the gym tomorrow after missing two days but it seems fate is being a pain in the butt--now our car will not start! Matt will be calling wondering where I am! I hate it but what can I do? Work in the garden can certainly get me moving and exercising. Other than being sick, there are no excuses for not exercising in one way shape or form.

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