Monday, April 2, 2012

Gardening Season Here Again

With the warm days of springtime here quite a few weeks earlier than normal, planting in the garden began mid-March and has continued over the past several weeks. This year I didn't actually make a garden map out on paper (lack of time perhaps? Either way, it didn't get done!), but I did have it mapped out pretty well in my head.

So a couple of weeks ago, I tilled up a section of the garden and using a rake and hoe, made a 39' long 2' wide raised bed in which carrots were planted. Then this past week, I tilled most of the remainder of the garden and planted a few more things as well.

Three different varieties of lettuce . . . the lettuce on the right I had started from seed, and the others are volunteer plants that had sprung up in various places in the garden. The larger of these 'volunteers' were planted here before tilling began.

Spinach (which was also started from seed indoors)

So far there are carrots, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and 200+ onion plants growing, and wide rows of beets, mangel beets, scallions and a small row of green beans that are planted (the latter is kind of an experiment . . . we have never planted green beans this early before, but with how warm it has been, we thought it would be worth a try.)

One of the dew covered broccoli plants

A wide row of three different varieties of onions - many of which are destined for salsa this summer

A long bed of carrots that is badly in need of weeding . . . little by little, though, the weeds are being eradicated.

Me planting a wide row of green beans in the early morning before it got hot . . . this day the temperature climbed to near 90! Makes one think that spring was skipped over and summer has arrived.

The vegetable garden
(as you can see, there is still a portion at the front that needs to be tilled . . . first I want to spread some compost over it, though. There is also a portion to the right that I didn't till - tomatoes will be planted here, and there are so many volunteer marigolds growing, that I didn't want to till those up! So once the marigolds are transplanted, I'll simply mulch around the tomato plants and over the weeds.

In addition to work in the garden, I was able to do other outdoor things last week such as weed and mulch around the rhubarb . . .

. . . and weed around the blueberry bushes and mulch them with pine needles . . .

The poor blueberry bushes were damaged quite badly by the cicadas last year, so they are a lot smaller than they would have been!

Meanwhile, one of Dad's big projects this spring has been this . . .

Tilling, leveling, raking and seeding our front yard. After a fall and winter of our entire front yard being un-leveled mud, it is so nice to be seeing green covering a big section of it now! There is still a lot left to plant in grass, but at least the large area right in front of the house is planted. And as you may be wondering why in the world our entire front yard was mud and not grass over the past two seasons . . . well, I didn't share this on my blog back when it happened, but the county required that we get a brand new, up-to-date septic system (long story!), and the only place on our entire property that met the new codes was right in the middle of our front yard. So, it got all dug up :), and had a large drainage field put in.

Our fall was so dry that we couldn't plant grass then, and we all looked forward to springtime when the yard could be leveled out and grass could be planted. It is so nice that has been able to happen now!

In addition to the yard, a large chunk of our vegetable garden was also taken as well as one of Mom's flower gardens and Leah's flower garden, too. Since Leah's flowers were mostly bulbs, she had dug most of them up and is in the process of beginning a new garden now . . .

This one is up near the house and is being lined with rocks (a good friend of ours had a pile of these in abundance that he didn't want so he said we could have as many as we could use! They work wonderfully for edging gardens.) Next for her garden is to finish lining it with rocks, to fill it with dirt and compost, and then to begin planting!

In addition to the gardens, there are other signs of springtime all around . . .

Wild violets

Blossoms on our blueberry bushes

Peach trees that finished blossoming and are now covered in tiny peaches

Flowering wild plum trees

And a close-up of their blossoms

Blooming lilacs . . . the scent from these is so wonderful, and it fills the air all around this bush!

How delightful this season is! I have been thoroughly enjoying it and especially the early mornings and evenings . . . those are my favorite times of day during this time of year. Mornings because everything feels fresh and the birds are singing, the air is cool, the grass is bedecked with dew covered spiderwebs, and so much more. Evenings are perhaps my favorite of the two, though, as the day's work is done and there is something special about dusk. So many smells, sounds, and sights to make it delightful! Such as the other evening when Leah and I were out bottle feeding, and we saw deer in the pasture as well as an elusive red fox. What an especial treat it was to see the latter and to be able to watch him for quite awhile!

Springtime is also a wonderful time for taking portrait photos . . . and after getting back from running errands in town this past weekend, Leah and I went out for a 'photo session' and were able to get new ones to update blogs and things with.

My dear sister, Leah

And me

After this, we walked around our place together a bit, and Leah snapped this photo of me petting our baby goats . . .

They love attention! And as such, they are not the easiest to photograph. :) Below is the result of my attempts this past weekend . . .

Aurora and Gunner

Hopefully one of these days they'll be less interested in being petted and more interested in grazing and/or playing so I'll be able to get some good photos of them to share here!

And there you have a glimpse into some of what has been happening here lately . . . and as the springtime days continue, garden work will increase, more grass will be planted, more animal babies will be born, and life will continue on our little farm . . . .

Linking up to the "Homestead Barn Hop"


  1. Gardening season...what a beautiful time of year. To me, it symbolizes growth and rebirth. Beautiful post Sarah!

  2. It looks like you've been staying very busy, Sarah! How I wish I could start in on my outdoor garden projects! But the delightfully warm weather we were having has vanished and been replaced with temperatures back in the 30's. Everything that was growing is a bit frozen now. I'll just have to be patient a few more weeks!

    I love the portraits of you and Leah! I will be assisting at our church this Sunday in taking free family portraits in honor of Easter. It should be fun!


  3. I'm so thrilled to see this post, Sarah! Spring is such an exciting season, and things seem to be coming along quite nicely on your little farm. I was blown away by the amount of onions planted, but smiled heartily when you mentioned them being used in salsa. I can hardly wait to begin making salsa from the produce out of the garden.
    I'm glad to hear that the septic issue has been resolve and that new gardens are in the works. Oh how I would love to send Leah some of my surplus of Asiatic lilies (about 8 varieties) for her new garden, but I don't quite know how they would survive the shipping now that they are nearly knee high. I can't remember a time when they had matured to this point so early in the year.

  4. I have really enjoyed ready this and can't wait to read more! Please come visit and follow at:

  5. What cheery, springy pictures! I absolutely *love* the one of you planting with your garden hat on! So lovely! The portraits of you and Leah are lovely as well. :)

    I can't wait to see everything growing in your garden. :)

  6. Delightful post, Sarah:-) What fun and busy times you are having on your little farm! I am really liking the look of Leah's new garden so far...I'll bet it will look even nicer than her old one when she's finished, which will be a nice consolation for having to dig up the other.:-)

    That's too bad about the septic, and all the digging. Between that and the leak you all had, you've done your share of digging this year!

    I, too, love the straw hat picture when you gardened...and I love the braid! It looks very nice on you! The portraits of you and Leah turned out is so nice to take natural-looking pictures outdoors. I think I prefer this kind of photo to a posed portrait studio photo. Have you and your family always done your own portraits like this?

    Well, I could go on and on, but sufice it to say I really enjoyed this post!:-)

    ~ Betsy

  7. Your garden looks like it is off to a great start. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. I loved yours & Leah's portraits! Both of you look so beautiful!

  9. Thank you, Optimistic Existentialist! Gardening season is a beautiful time of year . . . and one that is always greatly looked forward to here!

  10. I have been, Bianca! Well, it probably won’t be too much longer before you’ll be able to start on your outdoor garden projects :) . . . it’s hard to be patient, though, isn’t it?! Wow, you had quite the temperature change! I hope that it won’t damage the plants too much that had already begun growing. We have been watching the weather closely the past weeks for a temperature drop/frost, and thankfully, it hasn’t come. And I don’t think it will now! Spring seems here to stay.

    How fun to take family portraits for the families in your church! I am sure that will be a blessing to them. I hope it goes well for you!

  11. I am glad that you enjoyed it, Renee! Spring is indeed an exciting season . . . and my favorite of the seasons as well. There is so much to enjoy during it! That is quite a lot of onions, isn’t it? :) In addition to the salsa, I also store a bunch in the fall for winter use, so I always try to plant a lot of them (and could probably have planted even more!)

    Before we know it, it will be time to harvest produce from the garden, and you’ll be able to make that salsa you are looking forward to making! Do you make it fresh? I have always made canned salsa, but I would like to make some fresh this year. It sounds like it would be good!

    Leah would love your surplus of Asiatic lilies! And how thoughtful of you to think of it. :) But I think you are right . . . mailing knee high plants probably wouldn’t be the best idea. :) She does have some Asiatic lilies already that she will be planting in her garden once she gets the dirt hauled in, and I am already looking forward to when they bloom. They produce such beautiful flowers!

  12. Welcome to my blog, Clint! And I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. Thank you for sharing the link to your blog, and I look forward to visiting it!

  13. oh if only we lived closer:)

    loved seeing your garden.

    matthew and i were sitting on the porch drinking a cup of coffee last night as we watched the rain...looking around and wondering why no one arounds us gardens anymore.
    we came to the conclusion that most folks are too busy.

    It's a blessing to see those still taking pride with gardening. growing, and living off the land.

  14. Thank you, Joy, for your kind comment! Glad you enjoyed the photos!

    And I can’t wait to share about everything growing in the garden. :) It’s always fun watching the garden grow and seeing the bare dirt gradually filling with green and eventually producing plants!

  15. Thank you, Betsy! I am glad that you enjoyed it. These are indeed fun and busy days here on our little farm . . . and we are greatly enjoying them! I, too, think that Leah’s new garden will look much nicer. I am so looking forward to seeing what it looks like once it is finished!

    Well, with the septic system, that was digging that we couldn’t do ourselves as the law requires a certified person to design and put it in. So we had someone come in and put the system in for us. It was nice being able to have someone else do it!

    Thank you for your kind words about the photos! I, too, prefer portrait photos outdoors instead of in a studio. I can only remember one studio photo that we had done and that was when a family in our homeschool group was offering it to everyone, and then when we were really little (before I can remember), we did go to a studio a few times. Other than that, though, we’ve always taken our own which is what we prefer!

    Thank you again for your comment!

  16. Thank you, Julianne! And you’re welcome. :)

  17. Wouldn’t that be nice, Amanda? I would love being able to drop in at your place and spend a day with you! I know it would be both encouraging and inspiring.

    Your evening last night sounds so pleasant! It is kind of sad how few people garden anymore . . . just think how different things would be if everyone had at least a little garden spot or grew some plants in containers! But like you shared, it probably is due to the fact that most people are just too busy. There is something special about gardening, though, and so many satisfying blessings that come from it . . . people don’t know what they are missing!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)