This post is sort of random, but I just wanted to share some pictures of the state of things here on the homestead. First of all, the hubster has built the most amazing raised beds ever:
The lumber came from a place near here that does custom milling. They sell their odd bits–edges, croked pieces, thin pieces, etc.–by the cord, for really cheap. The hubster used what he could for the boxes, and the rest he cut up in to smaller pieces for firewood. I love the log-cabin look of these beds. They’re each four feet wide, eight feet long, and probably two and a half feet tall–maybe a bit more? They come almost to my waist, so weeding is easy.
For soil, we did two things. We know someone whose mother owns a nursery. The nursery has a giant pile of cast off soil which they are happy to have hauled off. We mixed this with some well-aged manure, and the plants seem to like it. This solution isn’t perfect, from an organic standpoint, but it is, essentially, free–other than lots of manual labor, which I consider an alternative to an expensive membership at the fitness club, where I would never actually go. Also, I like giving the cast-off soil a chance to be healed with composting and help from the weeds and worms and bugs and birds. The soil also brought lots of weeds . . . and that is actually a bonus, because the weeds are purslane, chickweed, wild amaranth, and lambs quarters–all very edible, very nourishing, and very delicious to our chickens. We eat them too, especially the chickweed and purslane (which I eat while I’m weeding, which makes weeding more enjoyable. Nothing like snacking as you go. Just try to brush all the soil off, since I don’t like the gritty texture!). But we can’t eat these weeds as fast as we can grow them, so I’m glad the chickens are happy to help us out. There’s also a lot of shepher’d purse, which I haven’t really used yet, but I find fascinating–and it’s easy to pull out, so not a big trouble. Better than the morning glory.
Also, the flowers and herbs are all growing beautifully. I’m delighted by this golden sage plant–one of several plants that came to live in my yard after I did some work for the owner of a local herb farm, and she traded me some lovely herbs for my time and labor.
It’s just so PRETTY! And it smells so lovely. And of course, the comfrey is abundant–as always–and draws lots of bees:
This rose is so vibrant it looks almost fake. The insides are vivid yellow, and it smells nice too, for a hybrid variety.
And finally, we have crazy amounts of yarrow this year–all shades of pink, cream, white, and yellow with touches of peach. I can’t decide which is my favorite, but this pink variety is exciting:
We are working hard to keep the thistles and morning glory from swallowing everything up, and today we spent a lot of time getting the soaker hoses rearranged (I moved several plants this spring, so the old hose configuration wasn’t working anymore).
We are having a few problems of course–we had some little flying pests harassing our arugula, but the beer we put out to divert the slugs helped with those. We haven’t eradicated the slugs, but I think we’re managing to keep their damage to an acceptable minimum. And unfortunately our turnips have those little wormy things–this is the worst problem. Anyone know what to do about those? I keep meaning to research it but getting side tracked. I’m no good at pest control . . .
But overall we’re having a wonderful season so far. And the hubster finished building the last three beds, so it’s time to start thinking fall and winter crops. Phew! I’ll be over here in a puddle on the floor, drinking some water . . .