Food Forest Update (First Half of May 2018) - Garden Journal
I love using Steemit to see updates on homesteads located all over the world . It's so informative to check out how different varieties of plants grow and learning what other homesteaders do during different seasons solidifies the fact that the planet is so vast. There is so much to see and being able to observe different growing methods is so interesting. The techniques are plentiful and picking up new ideas and progressing towards that ideal state is what it's all about. I love @simplymike's great idea on starting a Steemit garden journal. To be able to look back on the growing season of 2018 and see how the food forest take shape throughout the year in one place is awesome! To keep a history of the food forest and remember the story of each growing season, I will be doing a bi-monthly update on our food forest this year.
I was only able to purchase red seed potatoes this year, so that's the only type I planted. This variety seems to do really well in our area. Our Spring temperatures often get on the hotter side rather quickly, so we only grow the short season variety on our homestead. I am waiting for the leaves to die back a bit to start harvesting. There has been no insect issues. And even with the hot temperatures and lack of precipitation this Spring, they are still looking extremely healthy. For the last the four years, I have had yellowing leaves or insect problems at this same point of growth on this same variety of potato.
Garden Eye Candy
So many bright colors in the food forest! I planted different varieties of calendula and marigolds this year. Planning on eating some of the calendula petals. All the flowers are blooming. Spiderwort is quite beautiful this year. Comfrey and yarrow flowers are all covered in bees. We also planted more perennial flowers this year such as echinacea and Black Eyed Susan. We have been planting more perennials in the food forest to reduce our work load. Who wouldn't love more eye candy in the garden without having to do the work of planting every year!
I started harvesting a few garlic that looked more mature. This is the earliest, in five years of growing, that I have ever harvested garlic. The harvested garlic bulbs are large and healthy. I also cut some garlic scapes the last two weeks from the hardneck garlic. We look forward to this time of the year when we can harvest fresh garlic scapes. My husband makes a great dish with garlic scapes and fried tofu, yum! The rest of the garlic should be ready in a week or two. I love growing garlic and have found ways to grow beautiful, large organic garlic without chemicals. I will be doing a post on my garlic growing method soon.
I started two varieties of sweet potatoes slips this year from last years harvest. After growing my own slips indoors for two months, they were finally ready to be planted outside. I hate keeping sweet potatoes slips indoors for too long, the vines can get quite out of control. One of the varieties is called "Molokai Purple". I haved double the amount of this variety to grow this year because it makes the best (almost fully raw) purple sweet potato pie! The only part that's cooked is the sweet potato. I wrote all about this purple sweet potato and the recipe for the purple sweet potato pie as my first post on Steemit. It did not get much traction since it was my first post. You can follow the link to read the post if you like: Growing Molokai Purple Sweet Potato and Eating Pie
Lettuce are on their way out due to the hot temperature. They are now bolting and getting eaten by pests. We have been eating a lot of salads lately, trying to clean the patch out. But, I am not complaining. I love the way lettuce looks in the garden during early Spring. It adds such beautiful colors before the Summer crops overtake their place . It's sad to see them bolt but I need more space for flowers and herbs anyways.
Tomatoes and peppers are loving the heat and growing by the hour it seems. I even saw some baby fruit forming on several plants. Zucchinis are doing well. Not yet bothered by stink bugs. They will come in time, there is no stopping them. Something kept eating my Marketmore cucumber seedlings in a raised bed, so I had to replant a few earlier this week. Not a problem though, as cucumbers can be planted through mid July in our area.
We planted six more Rabbiteye blueberry plants this Spring in the new orchard area. The blueberry plants were already established in the food forest are producing a ton of fruit. As long as we can beat the birds, we will have a great harvest of blueberries this year. Bird netting will be thrown on the plants soon.
We installed a small orchard in the food forest about three years ago. I was reading all about permaculture and tree guilds at the time, so I planted the orchard using the permaculture method. I inter-planted nitrogen fixers, nutrient accumulators, mulch plants and insectary plants all in the orchard. It's so nice to see everything finally taking shape now after a few years. Peach, plum, pear and apple trees are all doing well. We probably will not have persimmons this year. Bad timing on a late frost killed all the blossoms. Bummer, the fruit was so good last year! Oh well, it's just Mother Nature making sure we know we are in control of less than what we think we are.
We love the way our original orchard is growing, so we have expanded the orchard part this year to include more diversity of fruit trees in our food forest. We have only planted a couple of trees and a few perennials in the expanded part. Our natural soil is rock hard. Our focus this year for the new orchard is building soil.
My husband has been cleaning up the land and piling all the limbs and wood around the garden. He did this a couple of years ago and realized the soil underneath the wood get super rich after sitting there for a couple of years. Decomposing tress make a great ground cover and help build soil. Nothing goes to waste here.
Farm Animal Hard at Work
My dog loves to help in the garden. He gets especially excited about cool, wet wood chips! Anytime when my husband and I go get a load of wood chips, he wants a ride. This is how he helps. He finds a nice, cool spot on the wood chips and makes us humans dig around him. Ha, what a smart animal!
Photo copyright: @thelaundrylady
I am so glad to find like minded people on Steemit! It's a community I am happy to be part of. If you like my post, please upvote, resteem and comment. I would love to hear your experience.