Posts Tagged With: Urban Gardening

Late Summer Snapshot

It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve made it onto the computer.  I’m sure you were wondering if I had some sort of mysterious injury related to a grub hoe and a compost bin.  But I assure you, everything is fine.  The sun has been out, and things have been growing like mad, including both boys and C.  So the blog has been collecting dust!  In the mean time, I’ve been able to get a few things done around here.

We picked cucumbers up at our CSA and put up 48 quarts of pickles.

We got the tree trunk and stump hauled away to a mill.

And we put some 7 pounds of elk meat into the dehydrator to become jerky.

We harvested corn and our first potatoes with the neighbor.

I have to say that harvesting potatoes is one of the funnest things ever – it’s like a treasure hunt!

We ended up with 40 pounds of fingerlings and 50 pounds of Desirre red potatoes!  We will have plenty for seed next year and hopefully enough to store through the winter.

We also have a neighborhood BBQ in the works and have been spreading the hens’ good will via eggs and some extra garden onions.

We are getting ready for some berry picking and peach picking in the next week or two.  I am excited to get some preserves into the pantry as well.  We are going to take a walk tomorrow to the house with the concord grape vine and see if the new family there will share some grapes with us this year like the last tenants there did.  We are bringing some 2010 jam with us to give them as an incentive!

The late summer/early fall is one of the busiest times around our homestead.  Harvests are coming in, the dehydrator is running, and we are trying to see if we can manage to get the yard back in shape in time to participate in the second annual Denver Botanic Gardens chicken coop tour.  If you remember, I made some improvements on the coop this spring with the tour in mind, and last year was a lot of fun, so it’d be really great if we can pull it together in time.   More updated posts in the coming days – I am finally getting back on the ball around here, I think.  ;)

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Categories: Canning and Food Preservation, Chickens, Community, DIY, Garden, Independence Days, Urban Homesteading | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Slow Harvest

It’s been a month since I did an Independence Days update.  I really like this method of keeping track of what we’re doing on the homestead to work towards our own independence.  The end of July and into August seems like a time we should be pulling a lot from the garden.  We were really on the ball this year with our spring and fall plantings, but our summer crops went in extra late (except the tomatoes), so our harvest has been slower than I was hoping it would be this year.  Of course we’ve had our hands full with family matters too. ;)  I’m really wishing the carrots, beans and watermelon would kick into gear.

Plant something – fall crops of beets, peas, beans, kale, turnips, and bok choy went into the ground.  After the virtual homestead tour last week, I had someone ask for a picture of the whole garden.  After we did some weeding and put in the fall seeds this weekend, I took a couple of pictures.  It looks so empty without the big squash plants of summer that we usually have, but here is what our main garden currently looks like.

  

Left picture:  clockwise from top left, Kohlrabi, newly planted peas onions still growing from seed, onions and beets we picked, newly planted spinach, late zucchinis still growing, just planted bush beans.  you can see some tomato plant tops there at the bottom left corner of the pic. 
Right picture:  from top left, tomatoes, cukes and pole beans on the trellis, peppers in front of the trellis, bee hive in the back and kohlrabi on the far right.  In the row with the peppers is bok choy, kale and the bush beans. 
 

Harvest something –  eggs, onions, beets, peppers, tomatoes, kale, chard.  We have tiny little cucumbers on the vines and could probably pick some kohlrabi this week too.  Otherwise I feel like things have been slow.  I and just waiting for all the tomatoes to really come on… then I’ll be wishing things would slow down just a bit, I’m sure.

Preserve something – nothing since the baby was born… no wait, I take it back, I cut the necks off the garlic bulbs and sorted the ones we’re saving for seed and the ones we plan to eat.  Yum yum!

Waste Not – compost, scraps to chickens, recycling, etc.  We’ve done quite a bit of eating from the freezer – all the things I saved up for C’s arrival.

Want Not – We found out about a co-op here that sells grains and chicken feed for a great price.  We got 65 pounds of organic layer feed (whole grains and seeds!) for less than $27!

Build Community Food Systems – Our neighbor, Doug, harvested some carrots and onions.  His carrots look like they belong in a story book or on a seed packet!  He shared the first ones with our boys.  And I actually got a picture of him!  His corn is getting close to harvest too – I bet he’ll get some ears this week.

I really wanted to participate in the first ever Denver County Fair this year (Rick makes some amazing zucchini bread), but the fair dates fell about 10 days after we had C, and it was a little early to be walking around the fair just yet.  But we did get a call about joining the Denver Botanic Gardens chicken coop tour this year.  The tour is in October, but we’re on the fence still, since with all our projects this year, we’re not sure the yard will be in any sort of shape to have people touring it.

Eat the Food – We’ve been eating a lot from the garden.  This is my favorite time of year – when we make whole meals from food we grew ourselves.  We’re also on our last jar of grape jam, and only have a few packages of peaches left – perfect timing since we should be picking more by the end of the month.

Categories: Food, Garden, Independence Days | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Virtual Homestead Tour

Welcome to the Schell Urban Homestead’s end of July virtual garden tour!  I was really excited when Erica at Northwest Edible Life invited me to participate in letting all you Nosy Neighbors peek over our garden fence!

Here’s how the Lazy Homesteader does the Nosy Neighbor Virtual Homestead & Garden Tour:

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The first part of this tour that makes me really excited is that I’m actually documenting what the whole garden is doing at a given point in the summer.  I never remember when we get the first tomato (this week!  A Silver Fir Tree Russian heirloom).  The kohlrabi is a giant variety that Rick’s grandpa brought us from Slovakia.  It will get to be over 8 pounds and will not be woody.  It also keeps great all winter, and it’s starting to bulb up to about baseball size in the last few days of July.  Rick’s parents shared cucumbers with us last week and the week before, but ours have only just begun to flower.

The unexpected thing that I am loving about this tour is the truth of it.  In the pictures of the onions and watermelons, you can see both the weeds I’ve neglected to pull, and the light-colored, hard clay that we grow in here in Colorado.  Normally, I’d make an effort to hide both the weeds and the soil, because the shiny-happy blogger in me wants you to think that my garden is perfectly groomed and full of rich, dark, beautiful loamy soil.  In fact, some people do think that.  Rick’s grandparents even commented this week on how they couldn’t grow something that we could because their soil (about 25 miles from us) is hard clay.  Rick and I burst out laughing.  So here’s the proof.  We don’t have perfect soil.  This is how it looks after eight years of work amending it.  And I’m glad I let it show.

Some of my other favorite highlights from the slideshow (the shiny-happy stuff):

Corn from our neighbor’s garden, actually.  His corn is peeking over our front yard fence.  Well, not peeking, so much as towering.  We are actually sharing our harvests this year, so that is how I’m justifying including crops that belong to someone else in my garden tour.  ;)

The hundreds of tiny cherry tomatoes on H’s plants make me giddy.  And I can’t believe how big those two plants are.  Over six feet high!

The garlic I harvested in the week before C was born is drying in the garage, and the beets I pulled a few days ago are beautiful, although we might have pulled them about a week earlier if we weren’t in new baby mode.

We’re still waiting on the first eggs from the pullets, but we are getting two or three a day still from the older hens.

I was really hoping to include a picture of our raspberries this year, but they suddenly quit producing just last week.  Luckily I found something in the strawberry bed to show you instead!

Be sure to check out the other homesteads and gardens in Erica’s Nosy Neighbor Tour.  Thanks for stopping by!

Categories: Beekeeping, Chickens, Community, Food, Garden, Hugelkultur, Urban Homesteading | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Garlicky Love…

Does harvesting your garlic in the pouring rain count as nesting?

Oh heavenly garlic love…

Categories: Food, Garden | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

What We’ve Been Up To…

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  We’ve been up to a lot.  We spent some time pulling weeds, trimming hedges, cleaning up the flower beds and mowing this weekend too, but I didn’t get a picture.  This is very sad, because it was the first time Rick used the new push mower!   Other garden news – the sunflowers and okra I planted are up and should make a nice screen soon.  But between all the projects, I’ve been pretty exhausted and have had weird hip-nerve-fire-stabbing pain going on my right side.  Because of that, I’ve been spending the boys’ nap time (my usual blog writing time) napping myself.  38 weeks pregnant and counting.  Here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to over the last couple weeks.  As always, click to view larger.

The tree stump came out:

 

The garden is growing:

 

The rest of the basement got “finished”:

The nursery got a few more touches:

 

 

Baby’s ETA is any time now.  I was 12 days early with E, and although I know I can’t count on a repeat of that goodness, I can still hope.  You can bet there will be pictures.  ;)

Categories: DIY, Garden, Hugelkultur, Simple Living | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Independence Day Independence Update

It’s been a while since I did an update on our Independence Days project.  Over the last few weeks we’ve done a lot.  But mainly I made up for a bit of garden neglect this weekend.  We pulled lots of weeds.  Lots and lots of weeds.

Rick has been working hard over the last few weeks at digging out the tree stump.  It’s such a big project, but this weekend he got through the last of the big roots and even the tap roots underneath.  He moved it a bit with our 4Runner, but we still need to get the trunk hauled before we can really move the stump anywhere.

I’ve been consumed with baby things lately as I realized last week while finishing up the nursery that we had NO baby clothes.  I mean none.  We thought we were done after Emmett, and since the house is small, we didn’t keep anything around.  Whatever I didn’t sell I donated.  So I did a lot of shopping this weekend.  But it was fun.  Rick and I went together, and I realized that it was the first time that we actually bought baby clothes together.  :) And now, the baby will have something to wear when he or she gets here.

Here’s the update…

Plant something – okra, two varieties of sunflowers, and sad to admit, but beans and squash just went into the ground.  I hope we get something?

Harvest something –  eggs, lettuce, garlic scapes, peas, thinned carrots and onions, got a few (a handful) of raspberries!

Preserve something – quiches and some grilled chicken in the freezer… mainly things for after the baby comes.

Waste Not – compost, scraps to chickens, recycling.  Planned meals for 24 weeks straight, but then I missed last week, and our budget showed this.  But I have a plan going for this week, so I’m back on the wagon.  25 weeks planned this year so far.  I used some scrap wood from the garage to make a trellis for the grape vine, and I sold the gas-powered mower and set the money aside for a new push-reel mower.  It’s been raining a lot so we’ve just been watering the gardens and the lawn by hand as needed.  Also consolidated the freezers and unplugged the upright for the summer.

Want Not – Got new shoes for both boys (again!) – this time from the resale shop.  Got lots of neutral baby items this weekend second hand, and re-purposed a sturdy shelf to be the new changing table in the nursery.  Thrifted some pictures frames for the baby’s room too.

Build Community Food Systems – While my cousins were in town, our CSA started distribution.  This led to a few conversations about food – local, organic, non-GMO, etc.  I was super excited that when she got home, she went shopping and sent me an email detailing out her changes – she went for all local and/or organic produce, natural meats, organic dairy, etc….  !!  I know it’s not building MY community on this one, as they live in Tennessee, but it was really encouraging!

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day!  We celebrated by working outside and of course watching fireworks.  ;)

Categories: Food, Garden, Independence Days | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

End of May Homestead Photo Tour

I thought I’d share what’s going on at the homestead right now.  I was going to do a video tour, but being nearly 32 weeks pregnant with a baby pushing on my lungs, every video take was nothing but me breathing heavy as I walked through the yard.  So it’s a photo tour instead.

Starting just outside our back door with the boys’ hugelkultur.  I didn’t do a close up, but the watermelon sprouts are up.  Next is the chicken yard, then the side yard along our driveway where the volunteer spinach lives, as well as the grapes, garlic and strawberries.  Next come my flower gardens that are slowly getting edibles mixed in.  And the neighbor’s garden that we’ve been helping with.  Then is our main garden and the beehive, which is to receive a new roof this weekend.  Not shown are the tiny leek and kohlrabi sprouts.  :)  Eggplant and carrots are planted too, but not up yet.  Enjoy!

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Categories: Garden, Hugelkultur, Urban Homesteading | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Mother’s Day Big Brag

Wow!  Happy belated Mother’s Day!  Here’s my official brag about how great my family is and what a great weekend we had on the homestead.  This weekend I had requested to get the garden planted.  The plan was for me to spend Saturday with my mom and sister while Rick and the boys went with his mom to the botanic gardens, and for us to plant the garden on Friday after Rick was home from work and on Sunday.

On Friday, we planted corn, onions, and carrots with the neighbor and put in our tomatoes.  But Friday night, we got a call that our friend, Chris, had caught a swarm of bees for us, and another call that the CSA asparagus was ready to pick.

Some things just don’t wait.  So on Saturday morning, while the guys were at the botanic gardens with Grandma, my mom and sister came over here for bunch, and Chris brought us the swarm.

The bees we had last year left in the fall, we’re not sure why.  We think either the queen died or left since there were bees milling around aimlessly for a week or two before they were all gone.  There were no dead bees, just gone.  Last year’s swarm was also much smaller and our friend caught it later in the season while we were out of town.  He had installed them for us then, so this was the first time I got to experience putting bees into the hive, and Chris walked me through it.  My mom got to watch ME put the bees into the hive (and took pictures for us!).

These new bees were pretty cranky, they had been in the box for a couple days and were hungry and thirsty.  It took me three good tries to get the majority of them in the hive and get the bars on the top.  My initial trial of things, they sort of swarmed around my head and clung to the gloves I was wearing.  But they seemed to calm down significantly in a few minutes and I was able to knock the majority of the rest of them into the hive and get the bars on top without any trouble.  I was really surprised at how they clung to the box, and also how quickly they just took to the hive.

We put them in with the old comb that last year’s bees had left behind (we’re pretty certain there were no mites or diseases), and they settled down fairly quickly.  Many bees zoomed off to the water and sugar-water we had out for them, but others went to the entrance of the hive and started fanning their wings to spread the queen’s pheromones so the remaining bees in the box and the air (there were still quite a few) would come on in and start making the new hive their home.  It was really exciting and I’m sad Rick missed it again.

Then, it was back to brunch with the girls for me.  It was a really nice time (I made lavender pound cake and my sister made yummy pecan-dark chocolate scones).  When Rick and the boys got home, we headed up to the farm to pick asparagus.  It took us less than forty-five minutes to pick a good 25 pounds before we trimmed it all up.  It came out to about 14 pounds of asparagus, processed and frozen, plus some to eat fresh this week.

Sunday, for some unknown reason I woke up super early, before any of the guys rolled out of bed.  When they got up around 6:45, they gave me some sweet cards and kisses, and promised to build me a picnic table next week!  We got dressed and they took me out to Snooze (one of my favorite places) for breakfast.  Afterward, we came home and started up more planting work.

We did the boys’ hugelkultur bed first.  H planted watermelon, carrots (two kinds) and tomatoes (an heirloom red cherry and a “white” cherry that will actually be yellow).  The boys got a new real shovel and special, colored tomato cages.  My mom always said she wouldn’t be a mother without me, and I sort of feel the same about my boys, so they get treats on mother’s day too).  E ran around the hugelkultur while Rick scrambled to make barriers to keep him from trampling the seeds.

It was nap time before we knew it, and Rick and I spent the afternoon putting up asparagus (Rick did most the work), and planting out the rest of the main garden bed.  By the evening I had gotten plans for my new picnic table, an order placed for the grub hoe I’ve been lusting over, a [nearly] fully planted garden bed, four kinds of basil in my flower beds, a delicious sunburn on my shoulders, a home-made dinner with fresh asparagus, and a perfect day with my guys.  Lucky me!

I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was just as special as mine was!  What did you do?

Categories: Beekeeping, Food, Garden, Hugelkultur | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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