Our November garden is one of promise – the hard labour of clearing, composting, bed preparing and building is almost complete and nearly all the summer crops have been sown. Melon, winter and summer squash, runner and bush beans and cucumber seedlings are slowly but surely being planted out into the said prepared beds. With sowing season pretty much at a close, I've had to hurry with getting eggplant and a few other essentials into newspaper pots. Our summer planting season may have begun a little later, but it ends right along with everyone elses...
We have been having a frustrating time with the tiresome snails and cutworm... I have come to loathe the creatures as they continue to feast on our young transplants and seedlings. This battle must be won, so we keep a stiff upper lip and begin again. Gardening is all about success and failure and failure and success. No use getting down in the dumps – I couldn't quit even if I wanted to as our growing family is always needing nourishment! When I speak of our 'growing' family, I am not actually speaking about our human family. We have recently acquired chickens which need plenty of healthy greens in their diet. Having chickens has been a life long dream of ours, so to realise it the other day was simply delightful. Nancy is in charge of the chooks while Mom and I keep our hand on the garden.
Three weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have a compost making lesson with a gardening neighbour. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and came home all fired up to make our own heaps and get growing in earnest! We've always had a compost heap of sorts, but it was wonderful to learn the proper way to make a heap which should be ready to use in just four weeks. Compost is amazing and I love it – not everyone around here shares my obsession for this incredible plant food, but they all appreciate it. Though I must add that Mom is also very excited about having compost available for her little garden. Dad does his bit by carting manure and other things to our compost making section and slashing grass to dry and grass to use straightaway. If he has time, he'll help Mom and I with building tripods, clearing new bed areas or anything else that is just too challenging for us girls.
The peas were finished halfway through last month and the broad beans only remain because of the valuable beans which are drying on the plants for next season's planting. I had to clear out most of the bean plants to make space for the cucumbers. I've just left two or three bushes to dry.
We are enjoying our strawberries most of all. There are times when we get frustrated when the plants don't produce well or the berries get nibbled by slugs or caterpillars. But on the whole, I think they're not doing too badly. Mom picks a small bowlful nearly every morning, washes, dries and removes the calyx off each berry and places the whole lot in an ice cream tub in the freezer. Come a hot day, we open a tub of strawberries and blend them up with homemade yoghurt, frozen banana, paw paw and pineapple, a squeeze of orange juice and a good dollop of pure honey. Strawberry smoothies are such wonderful and healthy treats in our home.
Fresh berries are eaten in our breakfast once a week or so or for snacktime.
Mom's two raspberry bushes are doing beautifully. The berries have just begun to ripen and Dad had the first one the other day. We added another three smaller bushes to our bed of raspberries and another two will be planted out later today.
A few other smaller crops include radish, beetroot, Swiss chard, carrots, lettuce and herbs.
Both the runner and bush beans are sporting beautiful flowers – a truly beautiful sign of the goodness to come!
And the sweet peas we planted in Autumn are flowering prolifically along the fence and in the kitchen garden. Mom loves to gather her bunch of loveliness every morning and being able to give a gift of pretty sweet peas to someone is too glorious for words!
We really do feel like we are finally enjoying a homestead life – our days are simple and sweet yet extremely busy. Everyone falls into bed after a day of breathing in fresh air, making meals together in the kitchen, looking after our little animals, working in the garden and helping each other with school work. Sewing, crafting and leisure activities happen somewhere inbetween...
This is where the Lord has placed us for however long He deems fit. Now we enjoy it and work with it and ‘bloom where we’re planted’!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our toils, tribulations and triumphs – please feel free to share what is happening in your container/kitchen/large farm garden with me in the comments section. I love to read about other people's experiences and be inspired!
With much love,