It’s been a rainy Sunday morning, which has created a very welcome lazy mood here at the Homestead. The kids are out hunting for morel mushrooms in the forest after a morning spent tending their Minecraft homesteads (they each have their own virtual homesteads with gardens and maker spaces and I am so tickled about it). Brian and I are on our second cup of coffee. We’ve tinkered with the to-do list and the garden plan, but the sun is starting to peek out, so we’ll likely get to work here shortly.
Speaking of work, yesterday we were so busy doing work I didn’t have time to do a garden update post, so I’m combining it with the weekly meal plan post today. We shoveled out and wheelbarrow-ed around two full truckloads of compost: one for our new butterfly and perennial garden and another for the raised bed garden we bought for my parents, who are first-time vegetable gardeners. It’s a 12×4 raised bed, so is deceptively large. It took the full truck load and, frankly, could have used two or three more wheelbarrows to top it off. They’ll be able to grow a good amount without it feeling overwhelming, and knowing they have source of fresh produce during all of the chaos of the world right now makes me feel better.
Chloe and Liam helped us shovel and fill the wheelbarrow for both truckloads and I was so proud of their ability to stick with it. It was hard, dirty work, and I’m glad they’re learning how much manual labor and planning goes in to a successful garden. They were far too young when we put in the main garden to be aware of anything, and since then have only benefited from the rewards of all of this hard work each season–the delicious food.
The perennial bed will need a little leaf mould forked in at planting time to help with drainage, but should be ready to receive the abundance of flowers and herbs I’ve got planned. The bed will be a cottage-style border, but will retain some structural shrubs for year-round interest, and should make a striking visual transition between lawn and the more formal raised bed garden area. I hope to provide ample food for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, as well as sprinkle in a few medicinal and tea herbs, mainly ones that I can’t squeeze in to the Mediterranean herb raised bed and/or cannot not expect to share the rich-soil of the other herb raised bed (but more on those two beds next week).
We will need at least one more load of compost for planting and mulching over as the season progresses because our own compost heap is not substantial enough for our expanded space (plans to make it substantial enough are in the works) but I do believe we’re nearing the end of unloading truckloads of things, which is very welcome, though my core is feeling a welcome burn from all the wheelbarrow-ing. 🙂
During the week, I worked on mainly cosmetic improvements such as staining and re-arranging on the patio. We were able to enjoy our first patio cup of coffee, which is our favorite spring, summer, and fall tradition. It just makes every morning a little bit better to be outside. But I did start more seeds in the greenhouse and the kids helped me plant-out some lettuce in our spring garden raised bed (so named because it will get some shade during the heat of the day, which will be good for more tender, cool-weather plants). This bed will be filled primarily with different lettuces, spinach, and arugula, but will also be home to our crop of peas for the year, which I’m hopeful do well in this location. They have always produced fairly well in the main garden, but for a very short time given how much sun the main garden gets (and heat, which gets trapped by the wall of forest and the house and seems to settle right on the garden. It’s marvelous for tomatoes, peppers, and chili’s, but less so for anything remotely tender). It’s an experiment and we won’t know the results until it’ll be too late to do anything about it this season, but that’s part of gardening–trial and error.
In just a few weeks we’ll be planting out everything else, and I can’t wait to begin the more restful garden work of weeding, pruning, mulching, and picking. I’ve already planned the menu for the biggest week of the year: May the 4th (be with you), Cinco de Mayo, my birthday, Mother’s Day, and Planting All the Things. Stay tuned for next week’s Weekly Meal post to hear more about that. 🙂
On the menu this week is more stuff I can make mostly with what we have on hand. I also placed an order through Market Wagon for some produce, so that should help. I told Brian that once we get our garden growing, thanks to the investment in infrastructure we’ve made this spring, the engine of the garden doesn’t have to stop. We can have our own fresh produce year-round now in a lovely cycle of harvest, propagation and/or starting seeds, greenhouse, and back again. It’s going to be glorious.
The Weekly Meal Plan:
Monday – roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato pasta
Tuesday – meatloaf, mac n cheese, and peas
Wednesday – sweet n sour chicken
Thursday – spring minestrone soup and homemade rolls
Friday – burgers, baked beans, and homemade french fries
Saturday – leftovers
Sunday – salad bar night