Mama’s potting bench in the basement
The situation at our “homestead” is very complex, and getting more so as I gather more information and experience.
I feel like I’m that not-so-proverbial teacher who is only one step ahead of her students, and I’m teaching French! Today, for instance, I was transplanting the lettuce seedlings (the leaves of some were shading out smaller neighbors), and thinking how far I had come: two weeks ago I was so nervous about planting seeds, but here I am handling seedlings. Then I looked ahead: transplanting into our cold frame (yet to be finished) and oh my…
I am also having trouble choosing which book to read next and what to note in my notebook. Not buying my own books anymore but lending from the library, means no underlining, no notes in the margin, and no indefinite access. That last one is the kicker. I’m back to being the grad student with a pile of twenty library book on Kant sprouting a forest of stickies.
About the book-buying, I’ve been good, but there are some exceptions. Thus I’ve been dithering about whether to bite the bullet for Edible Forest Gardens (Jacke and Toensmeier), Four-Season Harvest (Coleman), or possibly Coleman’s Winter Harvest Handbook (which is to come out in April: should I buy it sight unseen?). The Edible Forest Gardens will probably have to wait for several reasons: the raised bed garden takes urgent priority over the forest garden, and the books (2 vols) cost $140 combined. I don’t doubt they’re worth the price, but we just don’t have that kind of money while there are hoes and drip hoses and floating row covers to be bought, not to mention loam and compost!
But back to the main problem: information. there are sowing schedules, crop rotations, succession planting, garden bed layout… This seed needs 80F to germinate, this one 55F, this one needs to be covered, this one sprinkled… What will our soil need for amendments? (I’m taking a soil sample as soon as it’s less soggy out.) And how much soil will we need to fill our beds? How many beds? What will the path of the sun be, on 21 March (= 21 September) and will I be able to guess the amount of sunlight our proposed garden site will get, the trees not being in leaf yet?
I must admit with all this going on – and the glorious getting-dirt-under-my-fingernails – I have lost track of the chicken plan, but then I’m thinking we can get that going any time. I’ve also set aside the fruit trees and berry bushes project. And the mushrooms. But we must for sure tackle our torn up front yard (now loam and buckwheat). And get the root cellar in. And devise and build some sort of simple and mobile green house for winter growing…
Prioritize, Plan and Patience!
Have fun, learn, and count your blessings!