This is by far one of my favorite times of year. Maybe it’s in my blood, since I was born in the Spring, but I still just love it. Everything wakes back up, the sun smiles at us more, birds chirp all the time, and you remember that everything has a season, and everything comes back. As a human, gardening teaches me so much about the Earth, about myself, and a whole lot about patience, As an athlete, I am very kind to my body and focus on good vibes in + good vibes out. So if I take so much care of my body, I feel I should also take care of the earth. It seems only fitting for that reason that we have started down the rabbit hole of gardening, permaculture and homesteading.
The weeks leading up until now, I’ve been doing one of my most favorite activities – garden planning / dreaming! Some things are pretty routine by now, since this is our third year. But some things change from season to season and year to year. We are honestly pretty new to the gardening + homesteading game, but we love it. In the future, we want to be able to grow all of our own produce, and be self-sustainable when it comes to food. (#lifegoals.) But it takes time, so every year we add a little bit more and see how things go.
Now, it’s time to plant! So I thought it would be fun to give an update on what our garden looks like, and what all we are planting for 2020. We just got everything in the ground this week, and I am beyond excited!
We love our yard, and it isn’t honestly big at all. We have a little bit less than half an acre. We still want to give our dogs room to run, and we have a garage on that space too, so not all of that half acre is “plantable.” So far, we have two, 8-ft raised beds, about a dozen containers, a small *brand new* orchard and we do utilize some of our flower bed space to plant. It looks sort of bare right now because its early in the season, but here are some snapshots of some of the bits and pieces:
Our rain barrel collects rainwater, which we use for just about the entirety of our watering. It feels good to be able to not use our garden hose (except to fill up our kiddie pool for the pups)! I painted it this year to add a little whimsy.
While we do still purchase some amendments to mix into our growing beds, we create our own compost in our compost bin that I built two years ago. Bonus: this lets us give a second life to our food and paper waste! I’m curious, do you compost? Let me know in the comments below! I seriously love it, and still consider it one of the single most impactful things we’ve done to cut down on our waste.
I started organizing and tracking things better this year. As we continue to grow, it should be bananas helpful to understand where we came from and what we did. Less guess work. More gettin’ to the good stuff. So yeah, consider me a planner. But I think it helps my brain make sense of everything. Here’s what we’re looking at for this year:
**blueberries, chamomille and apples are new additions for 2020
This should be all the produce we can eat for the summer, and enough to can and pickle for the cooler months, too. We plan to pickle jalapeños, banana peppers, artichokes, our own giardenera mixture, and a couple of different kinds of pickles and relishes, while we plan to can apple butter, applesauce, and raspberry jam (we’ll still use a local farm for enough apples to make apple butter and applesauce until ours are grown up enough to use all our own fruit). We’re pretty new to the canning game, so this list will continue to grow as we realize better what we like and how much we go through over the winter. It’s a work in progress – which I think is the most fun part of it all! We will also dry herbs and winterize some so we can have fresh and dried herbs year-round. I hope to try my hand at making tea down the road also, but that is a whole different story 🙂
One additional project over the course of the summer is to prepare the northwest corner of the yard for next year. There isn’t anything planted there now, but I am in the process of building a fence to connect the two raised beds, and want to prepare the ground to be able to plant corn, sunflowers and squash there next year. This will open up one of the raised beds where we currently plant squash for something else in 2021. Small changes over time make a huge difference!
True life is lived when small changes occur.Leo Tolstoy
Get fired up! No matter where you live, you can grow something. Pick one thing to start growing this week. Whether it is something you want to grow to eat, an easy-to-grow succulent that will brighten your indoor world, or a native plant that will sit on your apartment balcony and attract butterflies, hummingbirds, or honeybees, I believe everyone can benefit by growing something. Start small. Big results can follow!