View from the deck on a glorious morning in early June.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This is the year of no excuses.

The first pot with leeks has sprouted. I am trying something new this year. Leek and onion seedlings don't mind being cheek to jowl in the starter flat. And they always end up having these scrunched-up roots. This year I am growing them in 2 gallon pots. It liberates scarce room under the grow lights, and the roots can go deep. Last year I learned to make holes for leek babies using an old broom handle as a dibber. Why did that take me 40 years to figure out? It worked beautifully and made it so much easier to space them correctly.

After the aborted (but still worth while) season last year this will be the year of no excuse. I am trying to figure out why, after 30 years of un-interrupted residence, we are not sitting on a thriving homestead. Let's see. We have never had the ambition do have animals other than chickens. The perfect beast for this land would be sheep. Way too much hassle for my taste. In earlier years there were children to raise, and later there were jobs. I have never been one of those people who can just go-go-go. I need sleep and empty space in my life. The spouse did build a greenhouse back in 1992 and has done the odd bit of fence building, but more to keep the peace than because he is interested. There was a long period when many efforts were being sabotaged by deer. It took a while before we came to terms with the need for a Fort Knox style fence. 
It took a ridiculously long time before I realized that fruit trees need the same babying as veg beds.

This is my year for getting it all together. With food prices rising and the economy in shambles I feel more urgency than at any time since the seventies. My health is back. I have a greenhouse. I will not waste garden time on plants for sale. I will not spend time getting ready for the farmers market, attending it and resting from it. Never say never, but not this year. I can spend a bit on infrastructure. .

I am going quite nuts making plans. Here is the list, not in any order. Much of it will require some help from younger, stronger persons, but once it is done it will make gardening easier as we age.

Get the veg section of the fenced garden in boarded beds, with mulch from the pole yard in between the beds. 
A friend has cedar to be milled, and will cut boards into 2x12s of the exact lengths. 

I have decided to turn each 21x3 bed into 2 9x3 beds, with a walk space in between. The older one gets, the more one needs to be able to minimize steps. When I am in form it is nothing to have to walk around, but there have been bad hip days when short cuts become important. I will lose some square footage, but the soil can be used for beds in the still to be developed sections inside the fence. 

Install one of the gates that were made for the chicken run in the North side of the fence. That will make it so much easier to bring inputs from outside into the garden. 

Move the row of raspberries to fruit section, at right angles to the veg rows, once they are done for the summer. Get more lonicera bushes and plant, likewise with wolf berries and blueberries. Collect cardboard like mad and build hugels. Tame the blackberries and red currants. Make cuttings from currants, consider moving red ones to section below greenhouse next to the black currants.  Deer don't seem to eat them.

Get a water catchment and storage system, using the metal roof of the chicken barn. Summer, once it sets in, can be dry, but you won't believe how much rain can be collected in a single thunderstorm. We used to just put containers under the roof. I want a cistern, with the possibility to gravity feed. This will require installing eaves troughs. I have no idea  how to go about that, or how that affects the sliding off of snow in winter. Look into drip watering systems. Must do research. 

Get electricity to the chicken coop. I really want to have eggs and manure again. What stopped me was the hassle of frozen water in winter. Install bigger windows in the chicken coop. There is something to be said for just letting them stay indoors, safe from the many predators. They have a dirt floor, lots of room, and get green goodies. After some thought I decided against meat birds this year. I will just try to get a few year-old laying hens again. Re-build the run? I have not yet decided, but will not give it priority.  Start new worm bin. Look into outside possibilities.

Remove the forked fir that is shading the greenhouse too much. Seed lettuce starters every week.
To be continued.


  1. we've really noticed food prices too, and as I have a baby and a toddler we are REALLY stepping it up this year. I am in Nelson B.C and also have a blog, I am glad I found yours via Northwest Edible Life (isnt she great!) I am doing some heavy reading on year round growing right now and have redesigned the garden for fall/winter harvests versus just summer, I am excited to experiment!

    I will be following your journey!! you arent far from here :)

  2. What a lovely blog. I feel the same, that this is the year of no excuses! My small garden has been over run with climbing frame and kids playing football for years, but I re-claimed it in the Autumn. We have always grown raspberries (not that many make it as far as the kitchen!), rhubarb, apples, peas and herbs. This year I want to grow a lot more, but it is quite daunting. My plans have all been ruined by the long winter we are having in the UK, so I don't seem to have got anywhere yet. But reading your blogs and seeing the pictures of your greenhouse has really given me some much needed motivation. Thanks. Judy


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