Sunday, May 1, 2011

Growing Food

While the rest of the family is off at the baseball field helping to fix the fencing and play on the playground late this Sunday afternoon,  I thought I would take a moment to share some of what we have been doing here on our little homestead.

The warmth of the sun has been helping to dry the soil and really get things growing.  The snap peas and lettuce have sprouted, which I am so excited about - our first food of the year is on its way.

Mike (dear husband) has been putting up the fencing for the goats.  He is making good progress.  We are just using saplings and fencing that we have found, was left behind, or given to us.  We truly don't buy new things all that often.

I have been doing lots in the gardens.  I am expanding them quite a bit.  Last year was our first planting season here and all of the garden areas are brand new - there was not an existing garden - so it does take time.  Our strategy has been to pile compost into the back of our old Suburban (which we have access to for free from a neighbor that has 5 -6 year old composted cow manure - pure black and beautiful stuff!), and then shovel it out into piles on our property.  From there, I wheelbarrow several loads a day to wherever I am planting and just put it right on top of the soil.  If there are a lot of weeds or grass, I just turn it over with a shovel and shake out the soil and then throw the weeds into the chicken's fenced in area.  We do not till the gardens. 

In between the rows I put the chicken house little (in other words, poopy old hay), to provide some protection from weeds and then to become part of the soil for next year. 

So far I have planted about half of the onions, lettuce, snap peas, carrots and parsnips.  For flowers, sweet peas and bachelor buttons.  Next on my list is mixing half sand and half compost to make the mounds for early potato planting.  The small potatoes we over wintered in the basement look great and are growing little sprouts.

Oh, I could just spend the entire day outside when it is as lovely as it has been.  It is amazing how quickly the time goes when you are working.  However, I think everyone would get quite hungry and the house would soon be a mess, and there are always orders to work on - so it is a balance of time.  I am so grateful, though, for the time I do spend outside growing food for our family.

Happy May!

"Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May."
Geoffrey Chaucer

Warm wishes,


  1. I love that picture of you in the garden! I can so relate. I've been so excited to get peas and lettuce in the ground. I can't wait for a salad fresh from the garden. Good luck with yours!

  2. Busy times! I know the excitement when you see thise first shoots. I cant wait to see what harvest comes of all your hard work :-) Bless you for making sure your family will have food on the table that is cheap and healthy

  3. A wonderful way to spend the day! I prepared most of my meal from fresh vegetables that we grew! I think it was one of the best meals!

  4. Happy May, Tonya- and it is so nice to see you! You look so wonderful in your skirt and boots- I was in a skirt and boots and gardening all weekend too! I am so glad for you that you're feeling so well and can work your hands in the soil.
    Happy May Day to you! And maybe we'll meet up sometime soon. :)

  5. This was such an interesting post. Thank you fo sharing. I am wondering, are you piling the manure on top of "good" aerated soil or is it just ground? I am been trying to expand my garden as well. We do have some raised beds but I am trying to grow my herb garden, for example, outside of one of the beds. We have very bad soil here so I am at a loss.

  6. Love the photo, Tonya! It is so peaceful and satisfying for me to be in the garden... the time truly passes so quickly. Praying many blessed days ahead for you, digging in God's rich earth!

  7. Tonya...I love the good hard work of gardening, too! And in a skirt with gumboots is just my style:) I love your skirt, and your swelling belly even more. A healthy babe is growing well with such fresh air and good exercise. Blessings to you:)
    xo Jules

  8. Your garden sounds lovely. Time to work on ours. I do hope our tomatoes sprout!

  9. Veggie planting and Chaucer, perfect post! I'm just beginning to learn about no till gardening and suddenly it seems to be everywhere, or perhaps I'm drawn to like minded souls? Looks like you are making great progress, well done you : )

  10. May greetings to you dear Tonya! Gardens are such a blessing, for the good food they provide to our families, and for the good outside time it allows us. I too love the picture of you working in the garden.
    Thinking of you, glad all is sunny and well.
    With love, Renee

  11. Oh how I miss the busy work of gardening. Can I come help and get my hands in the earth, please???

  12. such industriousness abounding at your homestead! Love it...and how you'll love all the blessings from your garden.

  13. It must be wonderful to be out in the garden! We've had nothing but rain for several weeks, so our ground is totally saturated and we're falling way behind in planting out the garden. I'm envious when I see you out there in the sun! You look so lovely working in the soil with that sweet baby bump of yours :)

  14. Hi Tonya, I have been reading your blog now for a few weeks and I am really enjoying it.My partner said if your reading blogs then you should make a comment. So here goes. We are in Australia so are in Autumn and for us this is the perfect time to be growing things as it doesn't get too cold here. So the activity in your garden reminds me of the day I've had today firstly in the propagation house then planting out passionfruits and a lemonade tree.The days are much shorter and there never seems to be enough time to do all the things I want to do and to get all the planting done. After the very hot and dry summer we had it is really nice to be able to spend an entire day in the garden.
    Regards Kate

  15. You are amazing!!!

    I'm always happy when I get my cold weather crops in & I can just relax until after the final frost :)