Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Becoming more self sufficient...as a family

So, my husband has decided that our 3 acre tract around our house is to be called 'the farm'.  I am all for it.  Our daughter's old playhouse is being recommissioned as a hen house.  The back acre, previously wasted, will be our farm.  We are starting with what we have, which is a lot more than most people have and we are grateful.  Eric, my husband, has done TONS of research (he says it's his favorite part). We are going to have kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, basil, green onions, onions and cilantro.  I recently requested green bell peppers (just FYI, they are NECESSARY for all cajun cooking).  He and the kid made soil blocks, so we don't use the peat growing cubes (peat is NOT renewable, by the way - it takes much longer to grow than is reasonable for us to use - we are destroying whole eco systems for our convenience of growing from seeds).

First Eric made the little soil block maker out of a vitamin bottle, some bolts, and elbow grease.  He then mixed our top soil with hummus and rotten wood and made these little blocks.  My daughter and I added the seeds to the hole and we let them sit for 7 to 12 days.

We had some rotting trees around the property.  Everything that couldn't be used as firewood (our wood burning stove is our only source of heat) went into something called a hugelkultur (hugel for short).  It is a component of permaculture and is a commonplace farming technique in places with less fertile ground.  Rotten wood is very good for soil and as it breaks down slowly, something like this will continue to provide nutrients and water for our plants for 10 or more years with little to no additives and with minimal irrigation.  We are planting perennials there so that we can just let it grow and enjoy the literal fruits of our labor.  Blueberries and blackberries are this heaps top priority.  Those plants will be surrounded by asparagus and whatever else catches my husband's fancy.  I dug a trench 20 foot long, 3 foot wide and 6-10 inches deep.  We piled all of our wood into it.  We are now in the process of covering the wood wall with topsoil and compost.  Here are a few pictures.

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