Time for another garden update! I’m really behind on weeding, because we’ve had so much rain and the outdoors are so chilly and unwelcoming, but at least things are growing.
Tomatoes – one of the varieties we’ve planted.
My husband’s container potatoes. It’s his special pet project.
White beans… I did do some weeding here since this photo was snapped.
Garlic shoots are just poking out of the earth.
A row of mustard – we enjoy the tender young leaves in a variety of soups, stews and salads.
What about you? Growing anything? Or are you waiting for the thaw?
When we first arrived at this new home of ours, I looked around and said in despair, “there was beautiful, living land all around. Why would the owner choose to kill it by smothering it in concrete?”
I mean, I know some people aren’t really into growing stuff. All they want is a hassle-free, low-maintenance yard with no mud, weeds or critters. I get it, I really do. But there are options that are less damaging, less ugly, and less permanent than concrete. Breaking concrete apart can be difficult and costly for those who aren’t used to this kind of work and don’t have the right equipment.
We didn’t give up, of course. We’re too stubborn for that.
Read more in my recent Mother Earth News post:
“There’s nothing like having the freedom to grow and raise whatever you want on your own piece of rural land, but town living has its potential for homesteading and sustainability. Our gas costs have dropped dramatically since we no longer need to drive for every little errand. Also, in a larger local network of people, there is bigger potential for swapping, trading and giving things away.”
We’ve had some lovely refreshing rain here lately, and all our plants are looking so invigorated (as are we). Is there anything nicer than stepping out after a rain and breathing in all the fresh smells of earth and grass?
We have a huge mango tree that provides delicious shade and, hopefully, will bear fruit this season.
My big, beautifully propagating aloe plant.
And flowers that are finally beginning to show some color.
Our new little garden-in-progress is starting to reward us with its first seedlings just poking out of the earth:
Mustard greens – the latter actually sprouted from seeds I pulled off the spice shelf and stuck in as an experiment!
So far we’ve had pleasant mild weather with rain from time to time, and there are usually no frosts around these parts, so hopefully we’ll be able to grow some food this winter.
Last week, we rented a tractor, carried away a ton of debris such as old moldy mattresses, concrete rubble and rusty poles, plowed under the weed jungle, handpicked another mound of smaller scale litter (old plastic bottles, beer cans, ancient shoes), and started preparing the space for our future garden.
The place now looks like this. There is still a slab of concrete in the middle that was too difficult to remove, but we figure we can use it as a foundation for a chicken coop or a greenhouse.
I’ve already marked some beds and planted beans, squash, and peppers. I know it’s unorthodox to plant at the end of October, but I figure there are plenty of places where the summer is about as warm as our winter, and people still report being able to grow tomatoes and peppers there, so what have we got to lose? One thing is certain – outdoor work is a lot pleasanter in winter around these parts.
Stay tuned for more news about us and our work to make the most of this little urban homestead-in-progress.
Once in a while, my phone puts together these little videos for me, and the one above is a pretty good representation of what we’ve been up to in the previous week: puttering around the yard, doing paper art, and hair art.
There is still a lot to do, but now that the big unpacking frenzy is more or less behind us, I have more time to devote to something I’ve been itching to do: working on the small abandoned plot of land next to our yard. This week, I’ve moved whatever junk I could lift, raked huge mounds of fallen leaves, and did some digging to break up solid clods of dirt and let the ground breathe.
We were promised some major rainfall today and tomorrow, so hopefully after that the ground will be nice and soft. I’m then going to get to some planting. This will be rather an experiment, because it’s our first winter here – it’s supposed to be very mild around here, without even any frosts, so hopefully many things can be grown year round.
I will let you know how we progress.
In between unpacking, rearranging and painting, we are finally able to poke our noses out a bit and start getting a feel of what we can do around the place. I’m still majorly bummed out about all the concrete, but somewhat comforted by the empty plot the town council allowed us to use.
The fish tank. Gambusia fish for mosquito control were close to the top of our priority list, so here they are, thriving despite the humble look of their habitat. The tank looks somewhat weather beaten, but I intend to camouflage it with potted plants all around until we can work out something better.
Some garden photos. There is a bunch of plants waiting to be replanted, and a few others already in their permanent place. The soil here is very heavy clay with a strong tendency to retain water, so we’re adjusting our plans accordingly.
I look forward to posting more updates of our work on making this place homey and inviting.