Late August Garden…


Even though we were hard hit with the super wet spring and then a massive flood, this year’s garden is really the best we’ve had since we moved in!   Actually, the 5th growing season.  We are into our fifth year here.  Hard to believe!  I knew it would be something that would evolve through the years and it’s getting there.  It’s not the garden of my dreams, yet.

We have had successful tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, swish chard and flowers!  Our broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and onions, well, they didn’t fair so well.  They were mostly down at the low part of the garden and were flooded.  Our strawberries were a total loss.  However, the grapes, raspberries and blueberry bushes really did well, growing good and strong.  No fruit from them this year, but I really wasn’t expecting any.  I wanted them to get a good season of strong growth in.


I am so happy for my sunflowers this year!  They really did nicely.  I just love sunflowers.  I can’t wait for the big heads to get all finished and dried out.  I want to save them for the chickens to enjoy in the winter as an enrichment activity!   I know they will adore a dried sunflower seed head when it’s dark and chilly out.  And the high protein of the seeds will give them a little boost.  Next year I hope to grow them all over the place!  They are so beautiful and cheery, why not!

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We have several pretty pumpkins growing!  Yeah!  I love to see them make it to maturity.  And even a little teeny pumpkin vine that volunteered in the blueberry box!  It’s only got one little pumpkin on it, but that’s okay, it’s adorable.

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Next year, I will also plant a zillion zinnias!  I just love them.  They are so beautiful and so varied.  I just love the vibrant colors.  I have two good sized patches this year, in the garden and in the courtyard.  The courtyard is slowly coming around, we have planted a few little patches of perennials and I am happy to report that this year, they really did a good show.  And I also planted some annual seeds to just make the place a little more perky!  Next year, I’m going to really go to town!  I sure hope…  I want to make the place bloom again, with beautiful flowers and gardens all around.

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We have really done well with squash this year!  And the funny part?  We really don’t like them!  Isn’t that a hoot?  Well, I grow them because of the animals.  And because they are prolific plants.  They grow a lot of vegetation, which I gather in the fall for everyone to nosh, and then they put out a lot of good yield in squash that the animals really enjoy.  I picked four really large yellow squash today and took one for the chickens and three for the hogs and my goodness, you would have thought I was handing out crack cocaine!  They just love squash.  One of my goals is to have some massive squash and zuchini beds in the back of the garden, just jammed full, so I can save a bunch for fall and winter.  Right now, we wait till right after Halloween and we buy up waste pumpkins by the truck load for all the animals.  We actually had pumpkins to give out around Christmas!  And it only cost us $50 for a HUGE amount of them.  We fed out pumpkins, one or two a day for like 3 months!  What is nice is that pumpkin seeds are a natural wormer.  Even the sheep and goats love pumpkins.  We let everyone have a pumpkin or half at least nearly every day.   The ponies are the only ones that won’t eat them.

We also buy a lot of waste apples…  there is an orchard in Pioneer that sells ground apples for next to nothing.  They call them deer apples or downed apples…  basically, you just walk the orchard rows with 5 gallon pails and pick up anything on the ground.  We always take a couple buckets and we will put good ones in one pail and so so ones in the others.   The good ones we pick out and make applesauce and this year I’m going to dehydrate a bunch for apple chips!  Yum!

But most of all, EVERYTHING loves apples on the homestead, even the ponies!  We try and keep as many apples as we can in the poultry barn without spoiling.  Once the cold weather hits, they last a long time in the poultry barn.  In the past we have done quite a few, but this year, I really want to make an effort to get as many as we can.  The hogs really love apples the best.  Although, the sheep and goats are pretty good at munching them as well!


We have really done well with tomatoes this year, as well.  If I don’t go and pick them every day, some will go to waste!  We have a little bit of a pest problem this year, I am sure it’s from the super wet winter.  But It’s not bad enough that I want to spray or anything.  I don’t mind sharing a bit of a bountiful harvest!  Anything that is a little too nibbled, I just give to the hogs or chickens.  They even like the bugs!  Extra treats!

I really think that having a successful homestead, means, having a garden.  There is such a feeling of accomplishment when you can stroll out in the morning and harvest food for the day, not only for your family, but for your livestock.  The baby rams wait at the gate for me to bring them each a big leaf of Swiss chard and they eat it like little bugs, just chewing away and wagging their tails!  And I bring a couple leaves for the bunnies who race around their cage when they see me coming!  Everyone benefits from a nice garden!

And each year, our garden is getting better and better.  This fall I intend to really work on some infrastructure.  I want to build up the lower areas with real boxed beds.  I tried the strawbale techniques but I found it to be a bit of a mess, and took up a lot of real estate as well as cost.  The cheapest bales I could get were still $2 each, and it took 8 bales for each bed.  And then they fell apart after a year.  If I had just invested in some good slab wood or rough wood, I would have nicer beds and they would still be manageable.   I really want to see if that factory I got a lot of my boxes at is still giving away crates.   All my free crates are really doing well!  I think that is something to look into.  For awhile, they were not giving them away.  But I drove by a week or so ago and they had quite a pile.  I might just go out there and ask nicely!  It’s worth the gas to drive back and forth a few times for these nice crates.  I love to garden, but my back does not like bending over so much, so these crates are WONDERFUL!   And very helpful for our garden…  the low beds and ground planting we did really suffered with the flood.  The crates?  All perfectly fine. Worth the effort for sure.

Another thing is I plan to really lay down the straw and mulch over the areas in between the boxes and such.  I am just tired of weeding and mowing those areas.  It’s just too much work.  I’ve been saving up junk mailing boxes and newspapers and I plan on killing off the grass between the crate beds.  And along the back fence and in the fruit orchard.  It’s just not worth it to have to keep up on the mowing and all.  We have plenty of other green areas!  I want just a little patch up front, where I’d like to put in a little patio area, and maybe a little reclaimed window greenhouse.  Just like ten minutes of mowing now and then!  (Haha…)  I am all for lazy homesteading!  Well, I prefer to call it time intensive homesteading.  There is really no reason for me to have to spend so much time mowing in the garden!  I want to be growing food and flowers in the garden, not grass.  I’ve tried to let the ponies graze it for me, but they have discovered a fondness for young fruit trees and walking in ground beds and that is just not acceptable.  I can’t let the sheep or goats in there anymore, they act like locusts and eat everything in an instant.  And of course, leave the grass.  No, the garden is going to slowly become a grass free zone.  If I could afford it, there would be rock in a lot of the pathways!  But right now, straw and mulch will work just fine and are in the budget.

Soon, in the next week or so, I want to plant some quick growing green beans, peas, some lettuce, and then plant a good crop of garlic for next year.  That is in the plans.  Maybe some radish for the bunnies.  They love that.  We really don’t get hard frost until October, sometimes even into the middle or near the end!  So that gives me about 45 days or so.  I’m going to plant my beans in boxes that I can cover with some plastic if need be to get them finished off.  We’ll see how that goes!

Next year, I hope to really establish a good strawberry bed, more fruit trees and finally get a perennial herb bed going.  And get the grass situation under control.  I hope to work until it just gets too cold, cleaning up, and building some infrastructure up…  lower garden boxes and hopefully a patio area.  If we get a late winter, I might even see about trying to get my little greenhouse put together!  I thought about trying to make a cattle panel and plastic one, but then I thought, I’d rather wait and do the solid one and not waste money on the panels.  I have 14 windows so far…  I just need some 2 x 4s to build the frame work.  I think I want it to be about 12 by 8 in size.  Not too huge, just big enough to put some benches in for early garden starts and have a little area for a table and comfy chair for me in the late winter to soak up some sunshine and warmth!   Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  I think so!

Well, that’s the garden wrap up…

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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