6 weeks into the season in the southeast: April garden

in Homesteading6 months ago

This year, we are focusing on yield given our economic uncertainty. This means we decided to sharply narrow the kinds of vegetables we grow, and focusing on a few nutrient rich crops. For the first time, we are also trying to grow 90% of our cultivated land for a spring garden and then turn that around and nearly immediately plant a summer garden.

6 weeks into spring

Potatoes look beautiful and have benefited from intermittent rain and sunshine. I just lightly fertilized with fish bone meal, and hilled them to encourage big root development.

Beets are thriving. For the first time, we will pickle and can them.

Onions are doing fair. Starting to develop bulbs. The area to the right was sheet mulched last year. The weeds are starting to come back, so I am going to turn this area over with a shovel, apply a cap of compost, and then this will be one row for the sweet potatoes in 3 weeks.

Half a decade later, I kept a promise to my wife

We are starting a flower garden for my wife that I began last year using the sheet composting method which I chronicled in a previous garden diary. I picked some ornamentals up from a high school greenhouse. I don't even recall what they are called, but the students had started them from seed and now aren't there due to COVID-19.

And my four year old dwarf apple trees reveal my novice skills in pruning.

And the summer garden is in the barn under lights. Next month, I'll be talking tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and sweet potatoes.

Thank you to @simplymike for sponsoring this challenge another year. You can join at: https://peakd.com/homesteading/@simplymike/hive-community-garden-journal-challenge-april

Because I am trying to quantify the profitability of my work I am keeping track of all costs and will estimate receipts at the end of the season.

My expenses to date (January 2020-April 2020) are:

*reflects COVID-19 panic buying
ExpenseAmount (USD)
Seeds and sets14
Chicken feed100*
Pine shavings11
More seeds for long-term storage4

Just so you know, if you are buying already processed grains in the chicken feed, most of the nutrition will have oxidized in 3 weeks. Whole grains last a long time, but once crushed, they have a very short shelf life.

I think your plants are coleus and geraniums.

It's cool you get 2 growing seasons! Not so here in New England.

You have so much knowledge to share. I will seriously tip you 10 HIVE if you did a write up on how you feed your flock, in particular what are options for long-term feed storage. For humans, we store ground flour in mylar bags with dessicant packets to prevent oxidization. But still we put them at a shelf life of a year. I would be fine buying whole grains from a mill (like we really should buy wheat berries instead of flour) but am not sure of the optimal kinds and mix. Think about accepting a commission! Thanks as always

I don't want to brag anymore since we are just plain lucky, but we really get 3 seasons really with a fall garden after the summer crop is harvested. Here is our kale I planted in October, overwintered, harvested first week of March. I left the hardiest plant for seed saving.


Thank you for the complement!

I do not yet make my own feed, as we already have too much on our plate. We were getting our feed from a homesteader who had done extensive research and was grinding her own. Her mill broke, so we are back to buying commercial.

I hope to some day, in a few years, collect many large dead freezers for storing grain, and buy a mill (VERY pricey), and start milling our own. I probably would not be looking at more than a year at a time, for grain storage. Having done the math in the next paragraph, it looks like we'd not be able to store more than 3 months of grain at a time.

I do keep a record of how many bags of 50# we use each month, and in 2018 when we had 2 pigs, 90 broilers and 18 layers, we went through 5100# of grain. That's over 2.5 tons, 102 bags of grain. It would take a lot of freezers to store that, safe from rats from next door.

It is not something to be undertaken lightly, as chicken nutrition is a finely balanced thing if you want the healthiest birds who produce meat and eggs well. The other thing is to make the feed enticing enough so they eat it all. Fines like the vitamin/mineral mix tend to sift out.

If we did start making our own feed, it would also be for the pigs, in addition to layers, and broilers, and chick feed. All these would have to be carefully researched.

In the meantime, this is how we feed our flocks:




Hi @briarch I am just curious if you posted this directly into the Homesteading Community or if it appeared here via a tag.

I have been waiting to ask someone that. :)

Into community. Thanks!

Awesome! :)

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Wow! Those potato plants look big already. They're giants compared to mine 😂