How do you pick up where you left off when you've neglected your blog for almost 6 months? Life got crazy for a while with a job change, a long commute, then another move back to where I came from. Someone asked me recently, "when are you going to start writing in your blog again?" This is a feeble attempt at doing just that, and hopefully it will get me over the hump.
I moved back into a house I own that has a lot of shade and compact, grassless soil, and I decided that I'm going to start an urban homesteading project. Over the course of the next three years, I want to slowly build a mini-farm and see just how much of my family's food I can produce in my own yard. The long term plans include chickens for eggs (new to me) and bees (something I have some experience with). I want to show what an average person, with a less-than-green thumb, can do in an average neighborhood to be self-sufficient and provide her family with fresh, organic food, while still being employed full-time and not having to spend hours a day in the garden. I've started out by building two 4x8 raised beds in the backyard and trying to get some fall veggies going. I've planted one of those beds with cabbage, broccoli, and collards, and the other bed I plan to do a "lasagna garden" with, layering it with what I have on hand right now and letting it compost over the winter so it will be ready for the spring. I also have seven Earthboxes (five "real" ones, and two homemade ones) that I will keep on the deck. There's a small fenced-in area right outside my bedroom door that will allow me to start small while keeping my dirt-loving dog from digging in my new beds. Here's what it looked like upon my return to the house...
I think I can do quite a bit with this small space, and then after next summer I will have to expand to the rest of the yard.
I picked up a copy of the book The Backyard Homestead and it's packed with good information. I will probably be referring to it a lot.
I plan on doing a lot of composting because my soil is poor and it is so expensive to buy the stuff from the store in such large quantities. The worms are still thriving in their Rubbermaid bin in the laundry room, but I would like to expand my "worm farm" to provide me with a greater amount of castings to further enrich my poor soil. Plus, worms can make composting go so much faster. So I need to figure out a way to have a larger worm bin outdoors, with good drainage, preferably some way of catching the "worm tea" that runs off, and enough insulation to keep the worms from freezing in the winter and cooking in the summer. (I live in Zone 7).
I have some pictures of the new beds and fall plants that I plan on getting up in the next few days.
And I plan on attempting the Master Cleanse again at the end of this month.