Hello, Readers! First off, I would like to apologize for being away from the blog for the last six weeks. Things have been extremely busy for me, but that’s not an excuse. I will do better. And it is obvious it’s time for some Zion Family Homestead catch up!
I would also like to apologize for another thing, I will only be briefly touching on the subject that I promised to blog about last time, which is whether to prune your vegetable plants or not…
After doing quite a bit of research on the subject of pruning in the vegetable garden, I found there was a lot of inconclusive information out about whether it made a difference in your yield or not. So I will have to do my own experiments and publish what I find. That will have to be done next season now, for the time for pruning, or not, has passed. I will post my experiments as they progress, so you might be able to use my findings for yourself before it’s too late next year.
So What Are You Going to Write About?
I am writing about all the things I’ve been up to for the last six weeks, which has been anything but sitting around being lazy. There have been a lot of new developments that I’ll be going over in this blog, and if necessary, I’ll do a follow up post about why I chose to pursue these developments this year instead of waiting until next year. One of the first things I did was weed our garden boxes and replant anything that hadn’t started growing yet. Let me tell you that, even after neglecting weeding for a month, the task was – surprisingly- incredibly easy! I LOVE my raised garden beds! Unfortunately, due to the weird weather, a fair few of the seeds needed to be replanted. However, only about 20%, which is way better than how much I had to replant last year without my boxes!
I finally got around to mowing the fruit orchard. In order to do that I needed to get the riding lawn more up and running again. The grass was over 2 feet tall and would have taken a week or more to do by regular push mower. Not that I would’ve had the patience to do it that way. The riding lawnmower did a great job and I even got some father/son time in teaching Cold how to drive the machine – without hitting any trees!
Next, now that I could actually see the ground around the orchard, I looked up the many benefits of comfrey and decided to buy Russian Comfrey to plant in between the orchard trees. There’s so many benefits to planting comfrey that I am definitely going to have to do a follow up post just about this for you guys… I bought 12 root cuttings online and promptly planted them out in the orchard. I’m still waiting for them to pop up and grow. It could take between 8 and 13 weeks to see any growth.
Onto the Garden
After looking up the many benefits of comfrey, and planting it, I started getting excited about other uses for our land and more fully utilizing it. I figured I could start by using the garden space better. There was about a 50‘ x 50‘ section that was just going fallow. A friend of ours offered to help out by using their tractor to till that plot – If I could figure out how to get her tractor to the homestead. After working out the logistics I finally managed to get it over here. That friend then selflessly tilled our land while I was at work! I’m so grateful to her for her time and tractor. I can’t forget to mention our other friend – for the use of his truck and trailer to get the tractor here!
I waited for a week to see if any of the grass would pop back up, and believe it or not… It didn’t!
I decided that I could plant amaranth right now as something that would really benefit our garden. This is another subject that will have to wait for a good follow up post! Anyway, in that plot of recently tilled land, I planted about 2500 amaranth seeds. By hand! It took around four hours, I did a squat each time I reached down to plant a seed… 2500 squats! Luckily my wife, Perfection – the perfect helpmeet that she is – helped me on the last half. I ended up “only” doing about 1800 of those 2500 squats.
A Little More Regarding the Garden – Onions
I want to take a moment to reflect on an experience I had with the onions this year… Mid June our onions were going strong, but I noticed the tips were starting to turn yellow and die back. I was curious if it might’ve been a nutrition problem, so I looked online for the symptoms I noticed. To my dismay, all signs pointed to a microscopic bug infestation. It was highly recommended I wipe out all of the onions in the area and not plant any more for many years… Well, something about that didn’t feel right to me, so I decided to let them be and see if they pulled out of it. And they did! They’re going strong and developing good firm bulbs! No mush, no dead onions! I am very glad that I trusted my gut and decided to ride it out.
After mowing the orchard, I found 6 of our grape plants had survived the winter! And they’re just big enough to train them to go on the trellis. I’ll have to do a separate blog on my simple trellis design. I pruned the grapes and they were able to reach the top support for the trellis! Our grapes were kind of neglected last year, so I was extremely excited that these grapes were doing so well. I was even able to take some green cuttings and try my hand at propagating my own group from them. That’s also another separate blog post in the making.
One Last Thing to Catch up on!…
Last, but not least, I mulched around the blueberries, raspberries, and grapes. The grass in the orchard nearly choked out the blueberries and raspberries and, at the very least, stunted their growth for the season. While looking into mulching blueberries I found out some very useful information I didn’t know before. Information that is vital to getting good yields from each bush. This is actually what I’m going to write about next. That’s how important this information is to me. I hope you tune in to find out what I’ve learned.
Until next time…
Handyman’s on the job!