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Starting a Garden (Our Journey Into Homesteading)

Hello friends!! It has been a while since I have posted anything to this blog, but I have missed it so much. I've got a few ideas in the pipeline for new blog posts to get this train moving again and I am so excited to share them with you!

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For this blog post, I wanted to write about how during the COVID pandemic, Aaron and I were even more motivated to fulfill our dream of having a garden. In the beginning of the pandemic, we were most concerned about produce at the grocery stores and them being picked over by other people who might have the virus. We really enjoy the feeling of being self-sufficient and having a garden is something we have wanted to tackle for a few years now. A pandemic seemed like the perfect time to start!

First we made a color coded graph chart to lay out where each crop would go in terms of height. We wanted the tallest crops to go in the back of the garden, and the shortest crops to go towards the front. What we have learned in the few months since we started is that we should have put our pickling cucumbers behind our corn since they are climbing so high!

We also planted butternut squash and pumpkin pie pumpkins, which I am very excited for. We learned that pumpkins are monsters and take up a HUGE part of our garden, so next time we will plant them in a different location so that they can just spread like crazy.

Our seeds all came from Johnny's Seeds in Maine and we have been really happy with the seeds so far. Here is a list of the kinds of veggies we got from there (I'm just going to list the generic name, but let me know if you want specifics):

- Corn

- Popping Corn

- Pickling Cucumbers

- Bush Beans

- Cherry Tomatoes

- Bell Peppers

- Hot Peppers

- Spinach

- Beets

- Kale

- Lettuce

- Carrots

- Cabbage

- Sugar Snap Peas

- Butternut Squash

- Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins

- Parsley

- Dill

- Basil

First, we had to clear a large section of our yard and till the soil to get it mixed up. We also got some free chicken manure to use and bring more nutrients to the soil. After mixing our soil with the manure, we flattened the space while taking out any large rocks and debris.

It took a while to get the garden set up and ready to simply plant the seeds, then the seeding took a while to do as well. But it is definitely rewarding to see the fruits of your labor pay off!

The first few weeks we were not seeing much coming up, but once our crops started coming in, it felt like everything came in. The bush beans and corn were the first plants to come up, quickly followed by the pumpkins, but then everything made its way.

As we continue to see our crops grow, we are so excited to use them in dishes and then for canning and freezing. We bought pickling cucumber seeds specifically because we are excited to make our own pickles! I love cooking with string beans (and it is a veggie Lydia will eat!) so we plan on blanching and freezing them to store long term.

Aaron got a popcorn popper from my brother from Christmas a few years ago, so we wanted to get popping corn to have some fun movie nights! With the regular corn, we felt like there was something super appealing about having a cookout and just being able to break off our own corn and sticking it right on the grill for ultimate flavor.

I think one of the crops I am most excited for are the pumpkin pie pumpkins. Because I love to bake, these pals are going to be a very exciting way to make baked goods this fall. I am excited to make muffins, cupcakes, bread, and of course, pie with them. Bring on the cream cheese frosting and pumpkin combos!!

Like many other people, this pandemic has certainly inspired Aaron and I to fulfill some homesteading dreams of ours. We already have our bees (this is our third year with them, second for getting honey since a bear ate our honey the first year) and have loved being able to have our very own honey to have for ourselves, but also to give to our friends and family.

Our next plan is to get a few chickens as well! This will benefit our garden by being able to use the chicken manure from our own chickens, but then also the obvious benefit of getting fresh eggs. I have eggs everyday for breakfast, so I am very excited to be able to go out in the morning and bringing in those eggs to cook. And as a huge baker, having my own eggs to use for baking would feel incredible!

Though there have been many difficult parts to this pandemic, the inspiration to start our garden was definitely a positive piece for us. We have loved getting to see it grow and both of us go out everyday to check on it and see what has popped up or grown!

Did you start a garden recently during the pandemic? How has it gone for you? Comment below with your garden stories!!




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