Hobby homesteaders unite (over at my other blog…)

I’ve posted the ocassional blog entry here that relates to my backyard chickens, my sustainable living goals, my garden, and my sourdough baking. All of this material (and more related topics) will now be posted over at my other blog, The Hobby Homestead. I’m waiting on a domain transfer to get rid of the .WordPress part of the URL, but while I wait, I figured I’d start spreading the news that I’m splitting up my blog into two distinct interest areas.

If you’d just like to keep seeing my posts about mom-life, do nothing.

If you’d like to read more about my urban hobby homesteading endeavours, check out my new blog and consider following me there, too! I’ll be posting less content there (about one post a week), but content will always include pictures and a walk in my shoes as I learn new ways of being self-sufficient as a wannabe urban homesteader. It’s pretty much all food related for now, with topics ranging from growing vegetables to brewing beer.

Here’s a sneak peak in pictures of what I’m writing over there right now.

Hint: Maple syrup season!

Garden Journal: May 2017

I tried a classy little moleskin gardening journal a couple of years ago, meant to track my garden layout for rotation planting, list what seeds I needed to order, and make notes on what worked and what didn’t work for me that season. I ended up storing the journal with seeds in the shed and I didn’t get much use out of it. Since I’m really consistent about using this blog, I’m going to try this format. I hope my readers don’t mind the deviation from purely two-mom family stuff, but gardening and self-sufficient lifestyle stuff is an equally huge part of who I am. 

For anyone interested in our urban backyard homesteading projects, we have a 100′ x 50′ back yard in zone 5. Unfortunately it’s North facing, but we work with what we have. 

Tasks done this spring

February

  • Started chicken coop design, started to source materials
  • Ordered seeds (a little late…)

March

  • Started kale and herbs indoors. I started a bunch of perennial herbs this year. Perennial is where it’s at.
  • Started scavenging materials for the chicken coop. Waited for the snow to melt to start building…
  • Searched for ready-to-lay hens.

April

  • Topped up gardens with fresh compost (store bought because my compost bins are slow acting right now) 
  • Started tomatos indoors
  • Transplanted kale and cold hardy herbs (winter savoury, lemon balm, chives) outside. Hope to never have to do this again thanks to cold frame plans for this fall/winter… 
  • Pruned last year’s old growth out of raspberry bushes
  • Construction on the chicken coop commenced! I should be clear – I played NO part in this. It was all my wife. Someone had to watch the baby…
  • Ordered chicks after giving up on finding ready-to-lay hens in the breeds I wanted. They’ll be ready for pick up mid to late June.

May

  • Transplanted everything else to outside gardens after last frost date (we had frost mid May this year, so it’s good I waited).
  • Harvested some fiddle heads – they really didn’t do well this year and I have no idea why. They’re native, they’ve done well here in the past, and they’re supposed to be prolific. Need to do some research into why they are struggling.
  • Harvested morels! After trying and failing with mushroom logs for the past 3 years, this was a big win. And that’s why I love wild edibles and native planting. It’s there for you when agriculture fails.
  • Harvested asparagus – also not doing well. Need to bite the bullet and dig it up in the fall to move to a better location.
  • Chicken coop nearing completion, but still need to build the run and get all the chicken husbandry supplies.

General To-Do/Goals List:

  • Have a more perennial vegetable garden. Give more space to things that come back every year and minimize the amount of seeds I have to start inside and transplant.
  • Build raised bed covers out of framed hardware cloth (i.e., heavy duty welded wire mesh) to keep the squirrels out of my freshly sowed seeds next spring.
  • Build a mini hoop house for over my herb bed/kitchen garden so I can harvest kale and herbs through the winter and start greens really early next spring.
  • Move asparagus this fall to a sunnier location.
  • Improve composting methods (maybe trade in black bins for an open-air heap in a pallet frame for easy turning)