Here are a few projects I've been working on:
1. Gardening space usage: This year I've been moving my old garden plants from the back of our property to the front. Having the garden closer to the house makes a world of difference. I started last year with nine 4' beds, three cattle panel trellises and a small 1' by 4', for a total of 156 square feet with three cattle panel trellises for vertical growth (and this is GREAT for beans and cucumbers!). You can grow a LOT of vegetables in what amounts to a 12.5' by 12.5' garden space! I have five more beds in the back, but I'm undecided whether or not I need to move those to the front.
I might begin growing some of my annual vegetables or flowers mixed in with the (moved-closer-to-the-house) perennials if they are compatible. For example, tomatoes are supposed to grow well with asparagus, and bush beans with strawberries. If I end up doing this, it will free up space in my raised beds, and also make better use of my perennial areas. Some crops just don't take up a lot of space (garlic) so they don't need their own space, and others grow during the shoulder season (March-May and September-November, like spinach) so they can be pulled out or put back in as needed.
2. Seedlings: So! Last month I told you about my grow light, which is another thing that has and will make seed starting easier and more reliable. Keeping the grow setup in the basement was great. The plants didn't dry out as easily because it's damp and cool down there. There are a few things I'll do different in 2022: I will grow onions in a huge mat rather than start each individual plant in its own cell. I will also start tomatoes a month or two later. I plan on buying another grow light, but it won't be a special light; rather just a shop light. My small light wasn't quite big enough to hold the peppers and tomatoes together with the onions, herbs and other miscellaneous starts.
3. Compost: We kept a steer this year, so I have a boatload of beautiful manure to make compost with. In addition, I have the chicken manure (which usually goes into raised beds). I'm looking into some exiting new ways to use the manure, which includes creating hotbeds and using it to facilitate composting things like cardboard.
4. Chickens: I incubated chicken eggs this year, and it was a success! A few days after I moved the feathered chicks out to the coop, my husband went to the farm store to get some more chick starter. You know you have a good husband when he offers to pick up feed for your stinky chicks. But you know you have a GREAT husband when he goes to pick up the feed, and calls you when he sees more chicks for $0.50 each!! So I had him pick up some more chicks to stink up our kitchen. But they are totally adorable and I love them. This year I bought a warming plate to replace the heat lamp for our chicks, and it is amazing. The warming plate is similar to a mother hen, where the chicks huddle underneath it when they're cold. It is not a fire hazard like a heat lamp is, it's better for the chick (allows them to have a natural night/day cycle) AND it only uses a fraction of the electricity that a heat lamp does. Our warming plate will pay for itself in about three years based on those savings.
So, that is what I've been working on as of late! I love being out in the sunshine in the dirt, and hearing our baby chicks chirp in the kitchen each morning. I haven't been writing much, but I have been living much, which is just as good. :)
I've also been able to finish a few books in the last month or so: one biography and also Richard Wurmbrand's Tortured for Christ. The latter is very good. If you are a Christian, or even just a history buff or Patriot (as we now seem to call ourselves), it is a very worthwhile and eye-opening read.
And lastly: we can't end this post without a shout out to my Rumble channel! In the midst of the busyness, I've been able to get out two new episodes of Meals From The Bunker since the puff pastry feature. I have several episodes of that series in the pipe, and I will also be putting up some gardening videos as time allows.
I hope you have a beautiful and productive rest of the month!