Our mailman graciously gave our family some organic garlic from his garden and shortly thereafter our neighbors, who have a nice garlic patch themselves, gave us four varieties of garlic for our gardens. So my son and I planted nearly 150 cloves that shall sprout in 2015. We carried wheelbarrow loads of fallen leaves from the nearby forest to the gardens and covered the garlic beds and then put the rest down on the soil that has yet to be worked over to add organic matter.
This year we also planted green manure at the suggestion of some family friends. We planted red clover which is extremely helpful to the soils health and consistency. I have spent a better part of the last two days turning over the green fertilizer.
I am working on a few more river rock raised beds before the weather drastically changes. Meg is pregnant with our fourth child and she is due in February so I would like to get as much of a jump on next year as possible.
The garden is still producing some items of importance. Kale is in abundance. We occasionally feed some of it to the rabbits and chickens and use it on our own plates. Until very recently we were still picking late season peas and onions. There are still even a few herbs and flowers clinging to health. Lemon thyme and calendula to name a few.
Our doe rabbit had her first litter three days ago. Five healthy babies. We will probably keep one, give one away and the other three will feed our family. I have to admit I was not sure what type of mother she would be but turns out she is a very good one at that. Truthfully I am really dreading the butchering process but feel that if our family is going to eat meat it is my responsibility to holistically raise and harvest that meat.
In hind sight it was a very productive year on a number of fronts. Our berry patch, our raspberries in particular, were very productive though we did lose some of our blueberries to early season rains. Our vegetable gardens for the most part were very productive and healthy, though once again some late season rain created a killer mold in our dried bean patch. We were, in the end, able to have a steady supply of healthy fresh food and even a little extra for the rabbits. We still have a few dried, canned and frozen items left as well so it was a job well done.
I am eyeing the yard daily trying to figure out how to squeeze in more food for our growing family. We are thinking about an heirloom apple tree, some more blueberry and raspberry bushes, strawberries and an elderberry hedge.
Looking back at 2014 one of the things that I will remember most is the odd weather. Here we are in November and I can work outside in a flannel while on July 4th it was 70 degrees. Normally it is in the high 90's just to give you and idea of the difference in this years weather.
Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead https://www.facebook.com/seedtoharvestbossyhenhomestead/ which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here https://amileinhershoestalesofastayathomedad.wordpress.com/