Today’s Strawberry Harvest

The gardening/homesteading blog conundrum: in the dead of winter I’ve got nothing but time to write about the garden, in the actual gardening season I’m too busy outdoors to post updates! Despite actually having a fire in our wood stove for a few days in early June, spring/summer has finally arrived and things are starting to grow. Nothing too exciting happening yet although my bucket potatoes seem to be thriving. The best part this year is that the strawberries just won’t quit.

This is my haul from today. Similar harvests yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and the day before that. Strawberries love hugelkultur. And maybe my new beehive has something to do with it too. I bought these plants 3 years ago for 4.99 for 10, expected nothing from them, and basically neglected them ever since. Apart from planting them in modified hugelkultur beds (rotting logs covered in soil) I have given them next to no love. And this is how they repay me:

strawberries

I can’t keep up with all the strawberries this year…

strawberry patch

Raggedy and neglected, but so happy

I’m taking this as proof that all the rigid instructions for growing strawberries “properly” that I read thoroughly and then promptly ignored as not in line with my lazy tendencies, are not necessary. Lazy gardening FTW.

I’ve got 99 projects…

Updates time! I’ve still got a million unfinished projects in the garden, but some of them are gradually approaching something like completion. Progress has been derailed by work and life and general chaos, but it’s getting there.

We turned an empty raised bed into a multi-layer strawberry tower, because my dog keeps using the existing strawberry bed as a toilet.

wooden raised beds

Beginnings of a strawberry tower thingy

I planted an ungodly amount of potatoes. All in containers of various kinds due to the aforementioned dog.

Potatoes in a basket

Potatoes sprouting in the cupboard. May as well plant those too!

potatoes in a trash can

Some potatoes went in a giant garbage can that already had holes in it because it had a previous life as a compost bin.

plant pots

Some potatoes went in pretty containers, because I can’t always be function over form.

Continue reading

Happenings on the Half-Assed Homestead: Projects Galore

So spring has sort of, kind of, almost come to New England. Not that you’d know it lately since we’re back to lows of 30s and highs of 40ish. But we’ve taken advantage of the few warm days to start tackling a million different projects – stacking random firewood that got lost under our 12 feet of snow this year, adding an invisible dog fence for our fearless Plott hound Grover (which necessitates replanning much of my garden, oops), trying to remedy the damage done by Grover to his previous dog run, digging up beds, planning paths… If my yard looks like a wreck under the best circumstances, it’s that times infinity right now. So here’s what’s been happening, in no particular order. Stay tuned for progress pics as all these projects (HOPEFULLY) approach completion!  Continue reading

Growing Potatoes Two Ways

As most of the snow has now left my garden (not all of it yet!), I’m beginning to emerge from my long hibernation and really start garden planning in earnest. I keep looking outside at my still frozen sad looking garden and dreaming. Maybe I’ll put a strawberry tower over there, or experiment with growing something fun like hardy kiwis over here… I’d like to put in more fruit, perhaps some golden raspberries, or a blackberry patch. My difficulty is that even though I have a pretty large space to work with, once I start planning I realize that there isn’t enough room for everything I want to do. For example, last year’s potato patch would probably be a great place for a future blackberry or raspberry patch, but then where to put potatoes?

I think my solution this year will be to build some potato towers so I can maximize my space. Once I do that I’ll be sure to post pictures and plans, but in the meantime, I thought I’d revisit the previous ways I’ve grown potatoes – the 5 gallon bucket method, and growing in straw. Continue reading

Garden Planning 2015: What Shall We Use to Fill the Empty Spaces?

Since turning my backyard into a giant vegetable garden, I don’t have too many empty spaces left in the back of my house, but the ones I do have are haunting me. Then there’s the front yard. A bare, unused small patch of grass with some torn up spots where I pulled out the ugly shrubs I hated. I also hate these unlandscaped sad empty spaces, but landscape design is not my jam. I am a total loss for what to do with these bits and pieces. Do I plant some blueberry bushes over there on that one weird slope that’s so hard to mow? Do I turn my front yard that no one uses into a butterfly/pollinator garden? Plant a bunch of veggies out there with a sign for my neighbors to wander by and help themselves?

I turned one empty space into a dog run (showcased in my post on poop composting) but I’ve still got this:

Unused space #1

Unused space #1

Continue reading

Compost All The Things!

Let’s talk about poop, shall we? More specifically, dog poop. We have a large dog and he poops a lot. I hated the idea of just picking it all up and throwing into the garbage to get sent to a landfill, but I can’t just leave it sweltering in the sun stinking up the joint either. So I started researching dog waste composting. I found cool instructions for building your own in-ground dog waste composter and figured that was the perfect solution.

So last year I redid the dog’s whole side yard (he’s since totally destroyed my efforts, bad dog) and installed my very own in-ground dog waste composting system. You can just see the lid of the in-ground composter in the far corner. Continue reading

I’m melting, melting!

The Wicked Witch of Winter is finally on her way out. My garden is still 3ish feet deep in snow, but I now think it’s entirely possible that I might be able to work on the garden sometime before May! I can actually see the top of my compost bin again!

IMG_20150309_091926413_HDR IMG_20150309_091102115_HDR IMG_20150309_091933283_HDRAnd here’s a before photo for contrast:

IMG_20150216_082805417_HDR