Spring is here on the Wild Ride Homestead and I feel like there are always things to do. Every Tuesday I share what I was up to on my homestead over the previous weekend but I realized I was leaving out the stuff I do during the week. So I thought each Thursday starting today I would give an update to what I have been up to.
The reason for doing this on Thursday is that due to my schedule most of my homesteading work during the week is done on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hope you all enjoy these posts and now on to the fun stuff!
I just love my new Douglas maples--as you can see in the top picture they are just starting to leaf out and I really find them to be beautiful trees.
Douglas maples are new to me but are native to western WA but are also common across the Rocky Mountains where their other name comes from: Rocky Mountain maples.
These maples get around 20 to 30 feet tall and tend to have multiple trunks. I'm growing them as a part of my hedgerows but also I'm experimenting with them to see how well they can be coppiced (cut down and then re-sprout from the stump). A lot of maples handle coppicing fine so I'm hoping these will too.
Along with Sitka alder I'm hoping that Douglas maples can be support plants for my food forests. If they work I would plant 2-4 of these plants next to every fruit tree and then coppice them on 2-4 year cycles. This will release nitrogen from the Sitka alder and create a lot of biomass to build the forest floor of the food forest. Plus they will supply a bunch of fall leaves each year to further build soil.
This week I just walked around observing the Douglas maples and seeing how they are doing. I'm really loving them and I look forward to watching them grow!
I have lupines planted all over as support plants for my other plants. The lupines are really taking off this year and I'm starting to chop-and-drop them as they grow too big.
In the picture you can see the lupines that I chop-and-dropped next to 2 blueberries. The blueberries are a dwarf southern variety that so far are very productive despite their small size. They don't need as many chill hours to fruit and they handle less acidic soils than the regular northern blueberries.
I'm curious to see how the lupines recover--hopefully I can chop-and-drop them some more to help build soil and release nitrogen before the summer heat comes. I'm curious to see if they can keep up with comfrey.
So far the lupines are winning since my comfrey are just waking up from the winter while these lupines are evergreen and have been growing for a good month or so already.
Time will tell if the lupines win out in terms of being a great chop-and-drop plant compared to comfrey.
Working on a Food Forest
I'm slowly working on another food forest--I think I mentioned this one a while back in a weekend homesteading report. This corner of my property used to be a gravel parking lot. I built a big hugelkultur bed around it (the part on the edges with the wire fence) to get things started and since then I have just been improving the soil.
A month or so ago I planted 2 apricots, 2 pears, and 4 hazelnuts in this area and I also added 9 soapberries (native nitrogen fixing shrub that also has edible berries).
But the area was not very well defined and needed improvement. This is what it looked like before this week's work.
So, lots of improvements but still more to do. Today I'm going to be broadcasting lupine seeds that I started soaking yesterday to help improve the soils and support the fruit and nut trees.
The trail boundaries are marked with brush piles made up of old sticks. These will create little micro-habitats for beneficial critters and also help keep the leaves that fall each year from blowing away. They should also help slow down water runoff and hopefully get more of it to sink in.
Later I need to mulch the grass you can see in the picture and add wood chips to the paths.
Eventually this corner will feature a nice canopy with a solid hedgerow around the edges making this a very private spot that will also block out the neighbors buildings and old truck.
This corner of my property gets more sun than any other part of my property which is great but also makes it a bit harsher in the summer heat. This is another reason why I'm mulching heavily and adding the brush piles. This should help keep the ground cool until the tree canopy forms.
Still early in the process but I can't wait for this area to become a fully functional food forest. There will be a hidden nook with a small bench next to a couple willows that will be a very nice place to sit and get away from it all once everything grows.
This is 1 of 2 food forests I'm currently building--but this one is further away from my house which means it will be setup to need less attention and likely kept a bit more wild. No snags yet but next year I will likely add a couple to it along with some rock piles ;)
A Busy Weekend to Come
Hope you all enjoyed this first End Week Homesteading Report. This weekend is going to be crazy busy for me since I need to do a lot of furniture moving to get things ready for my new baby. Plus, I need to add compost to my garden, plant the garden, write some blog posts, and a bunch of other small tasks.
Never a dull moment as a homesteader!
Weekly Blog Post
- 5 Essential Steps to Plan Your New Garden
- Companion Post on Steemit - 5 Needed Steps for Planning Your Garden Before Your Build It
Related Blog Posts
- What is Mulching? The Complete Introduction to Mulching
- 5 Ways Your Homestead Will Benefit from Native Plants
- Hugelkultur Beds: The Best Raised Beds for Your Garden
- Chop-and-Drop: A Quick and Easy Way to Abundance
- How to Work With Nature to Rewild your Homestead (And Why You Should Do It.)
Follow me for more posts all about homesteading, working with nature, and growing your own food: @wildhomesteading
And check out my blog - www.wildhomesteading.com for weekly in-depth posts on working with nature to grow your own food and start/build your homestead.