Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tiny Rural Farm

So much is being written these days about homesteading and more often than not it is about Urban farming/homesteads.  Many people are digging up the lawns and planting gardens,  building chicken coops that look like children's play houses, and even bringing in miniature or dwarf goats.

Even though I am in a rural area I have land the size of a city lot.  As I continue to search the web for information and ideas, I am learning a great deal.  Most of it from city folk ;D

I've subscribed to a magazine called, "Urban Farm".  I sampled it by purchasing an older issue and downloading it on to my computer.  I just love all the great information.  So, I am going to give it a try and subscribe for the year.  I got a few good links from it and one I particularly like:
They prove that you don't need acreage to raise a couple of dairy goats.  When you breed them and have a few kids you can sell them.  I would want to have someone nearby who has a buck that I could use for breeding.  I've also learned that bottle fed kids behave more like pets (more domesticated) than those nursing from Mom.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  The author of an article in the magazine suggests milking in the morning and allowing kids to have the rest of the day until they are weaned.

One of the articles also suggested that city farms should raise rabbits as a small livestock and build housing like a chicken tractor moving them around your space.  Building a wood slat floor will enable manure to drop down onto the grass and the grass pokes up through the slats for the rabbits to eat!  Ingenius.

I like what the Path To Freedom family does with their miniature goats.  They have harness and leash for their two miniature goats and take them walking.  They have been a true inspiration to me with this small space challenge.

Another article gave step by step instruction on building your own self watering containers.  My container garden which is on my wood deck has grown this year.  I have kale at the moment and some herbs.  I have purchased winter squash seed especially suited to containers along with eggplant for container growing.  I will add cherry tomatoes for my salad garden which has been planted up in the wooden window boxes hubby made for me. 

The more I learn, the more confident I feel that we can build our small homestead successfully right where we are.

We will get bees at some point.  Not sure when, but local honey is a must for my honey infusions.  I thought my next post would have been more of an herbal medicine topic but when I found the Urban Farm magazine, I just went with it!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now I Know It Is Spring ;)

My salad garden has begun to push up lovely little leaves!  Last year I saved seed from my French Breakfast radish.  I planted some last Sunday and around Thursday they began to sprout up.  Along with the radish I planted arugula and a salad green mix that looks interesting.  Such a diverse mix of seeds has to produce something out of the ordinary!  I planted a red bunching onion too.  I've never seen anything like it and look forward to the addition of them in my salad.

Leek seeds haven't sprouted yet, but germination can take as long as 21 days.  They are out on the deck waiting for the ideal weather.  I'm about to sow some flower seed in the house.  Sweet Pea and Nasturtium.  It's a good idea to include such an attraction to the bees for pollination.  I have a couple of rail containers to plant them in and I'm sure they'll do the job.

Last Sunday I also transplanted some kale to a large container on the deck, along with seed in peat discs which had sprouted purple sprouting broccoli and calabrese broccoli.   These will be planted in one of the raised beds.  It wasn't all that long ago that the ground was still a little crunchy.  They'll do okay in the peat discs a little longer.

Tomato seeds are up.  Roma plums.  I've potted up some containers of mushroom manure and topsoil to transplant them in.  I don't know about where you live, but gas and food prices are going up.  I just didn't want to spend money on potting soil that I really didn't need to have.  The Romas will live in the 2' X 10' raised bed down in the garden.

I'll start the eggplant and peppers at the end of the month.  I have a winter squash developed for container growing that I can't wait to see full grown.  The squash bugs are relentless.  I do plan to plant dill in the container with it though, after reading that it is supposed to deter the squash bug.  Let's hope it works.

Speaking of herbs, my sage looks ragged and I hope it comes back.  However, the last year's pot of chives came back in full force!  It was so nice to see that first greenery a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not absolutely sure what I'll be doing with the herb garden.  I've got several different ones to get started which will be the beginning of my medicinal herb garden.  I don't want to have them all in containers.  I would like to have them in a permanent place where the ones that will reseed have the space to do so.

So that's all I've gotten done in the garden so far.  Next post should be about my adventures with  A truly rewarding experience.