Homestead Diary Week Ending April 22ndPosted: April 22, 2016
Monday the kids and I took the Alchemist to work and then drove out to work on a friend’s homestead. He and I turned a rotting pile of hay into essentially a massive strawbale garden. We nested soil in multiple spots and we’ll plant a couple different winter squash varieties and let them crawl all over the hay and into the grass around it.
After that there was enough time for me to help him with some fencing before we had to drive back into the city and pick the Alchemist up. My kids had a blast playing with his kids and checking out his various animals. We’re going to tag-team garden and it’s a possibility that next season I will have a sizeable plot on his property that I could use for farmer’s market production. This year we’ll both be learning the site and figuring out the best way to work together when I can only drive out once a week or so.
Wednesday my load of free tree trimming chips came so I spent most of the day working on getting those spread. Almost all of the bare dirt in the garden is now covered except for a few beds where I won’t spread chips until the plants sprout and grow a bit taller.
New Farm Supply ran a special bundle of 24 plants, 8 each of honeyberry, elderberry, and gooseberry. Each species is a mix of cultivars they’ve specifically selected for the Upper Midwest. All three species were things I was looking to plant in 2017 but the pricing was tempting enough that I sprang on the offer. So I spent some of Thursday after homeschooling prepping a good section of where the new plants will go, finishing it on Friday after school. I used a sod lifter to strip the grass off, forked up the existing soil, added a layer of compost, and then covered with chips.
Friday morning I was doing schoolwork with the kids when someone knocked on the door. It was someone from the sanitation department who said neighbors had complained all the way to the alderman’s office about me having wood chips dumped in the street. I said “really?” and he shrugged, “yeah, but I can see you don’t have any other place to have them dumped, and I told the alderman’s office that.” He was very nice about it and just asked when I could have them out of the street – I said by Saturday for sure – so he could schedule having the street sweeper come through.
I’ll let the pictures below tell the rest of the story.