This is about the fourth year we have been raising some of our own food, and while each year we get a little better, this year we are cutting back a little and trying to conserve some of our time.
In this Spring 2013 Homestead Update we are focused on trying to learn the layout of our future homestead, so instead of having a lot of experiments at our home, we are focusing on what we have some success with.
We are down to two beehives, and are not planning on harvesting throughout the season, but rather just keep adding boxes, and harvesting all at once.
Our fruit trees are doing very well, and I believe it is because of the aggressive pruning I did – the growth should mirror the root system, and by cutting down the growth, I brought everything back in balance.
Our grape vine is doing well, and our blackberries are outstanding.
In the raised beds we have the strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers. But we are using a lot of wood chip mulch to make weeding and watering easier.
The rabbits are doing well, but I am having some severe neighbor dog problems so while I started the season with 15 chicks I am down to 3.
I have some potatoes in the tire planters, but they are left over from non-harvested potatoes from last year. We also have some garlic and onions growing from plants we did not harvest last year.
The ginseng is also doing well, and I hope that it begins to seed itself this year.
No matter how busy we are, I have to experiment a little, so we planted some upland rice, canteen gourds and more loofa. But we also planted some perennials food items like scarlet runner beans, ground nuts, and stinging nettles.
We also have a small batch of grain growing from some chicken scratch grain we threw out on bare ground last year.
With any luck we will have some loofa to show how to make loofa soap, and some oats and wheat (and maybe some rice) to show you how to process in small batches. But one way or another we will continue to learn how to become more self-sufficient and share that with you.