2018 Farm Goals and Building raised beds

Farm Goals

Now that we own property, I think it is time to set some Farm Goals for the year!  Set up by priority with most important first…

1. Fencing, Fencing, Fencing – the idea is to completely fence in our entire property.  I have about half the money saved for this project and I am hoping to get the rest saved up this winter/spring and to have the project done late summer or early fall.  Most of the property is already fenced.  We just need to enclose the “front yard” where the chickens will be.  The idea is not to have a fortress against predators…I am well aware that they will still be able to find their way in.  The fencing is more to keep our future livestock guardian dog in/on our property.  I took advantage of having the snow on the ground to walk the perimeter of the property and found this…

Here is a place along the fence where the coyotes are going under…
2. Clean out the barn – there is LOTS of junk in the barn.  We have been able to use some of the items in the barn (like the stock tanks that we made into raised garden beds).  I also moved an old tractor tire from the barn to the garden.  I am going to fill it up and use as a raised bed and try and grow sweet potatoes in it.  However, there is still old diesel tanks and lots of scrap lumber that need to be taken out.  We have decided that we need to rent one of those big dumpsters and just fill it up.  I have been going through and picking out the small stuff and I put it in our trash can each week.  I would like to see if some of the metal is worth anything.  I am going to contact a salvage yard to see if we have anything worth any money and I can put that money toward the fence…or I may keep it to put toward the barn lighting.  There is currently no electricity to the barns but I have been thinking about setting up solar powered lights for the barns…the barn power is definitely a much more future goal…

3. Finish saving money for chicken business…if we stay on task, we will have this completed at the end of the year!  Originally, we were scheduled to finish in June 2019, right when Mark is graduating high school but we were able to save a few months extra so we are a little ahead of schedule with this!

4. Clean up the dead trees!  We thought we would be doing this in the fall 2017 but it just did not happen.  Too many other things going on.  I did get a chain saw for Christmas this year so hopefully, between me and Henry, we will start to get things cleaned up…

5. Set up some rain barrels.  The house is set up PERFECTLY to capture rain and it is all up above the garden area so we will have gravity on our side.  This will be another expense so I am just not sure how much will get completed.  We are getting SO much moisture this winter and I really want to find a good way to capture it.

BUT… Henry is going to a meeting in California this spring and the boys and I may go with him and go to Disneyland!  That is going to take away from our savings because this is not really something we have planned for but this is a great opportunity (because his consulting business will pay for his flight and our hotel room)!  We actually do have a Disney fund that I started years ago so we will use this for part of our trip…

In the Garden

We are going to need lots of raised beds for our garden.  I decided to start with putting together the perennial beds.  We made an asparagus bed with some salvaged lumber from the barn.  These are 1 foot high and 2 inches thick.  Henry nailed them together…

Then, I tacked on 1/2 inch hardware cloth onto the bottoms to keep the voles out…(I hope it keeps the voles out…)

Then, I started adding “stuff”…here are some salvaged leaves I had collected from the curb…

This is a layer of half rotten compost that I had in our hot bins. 

I also put a layer of the rabbit poop mixed with wood shavings but I guess I did not get a picture of that….

I put the old hay on top…

These are the blueberry beds.  There are 4 beds that are 8 feet long by 3 feet wide and they are 8 inches high/tall.  I plan on plating 2 bushes per bed for a total of 8 bushes.  Blueberry plants really like acidic soil (about pH of 4.5).  I placed sulfur in the beds to help lower the pH.  I had read that it is best to do this several months before planting so fingers crossed that it works.  Hopefully, we will be planting bushes in the spring.

Here is our little strawberry bed (this shows the rabbit poop/shaving mixture).  I am planning on putting 10 strawberry plants in it.  Then, next fall, I will build another one and plant 10 plants in it.  We will keep doing this each year until we have 4 beds.  I have read that strawberry plants last about 3 years and then need to be replaced.  So, the idea is that as the last bed is built, the first bed will be pulled out and new plants will be placed in it.  So, we will always have 3 beds at top production and one in transition…

I would love to have more raised beds put together for more annual vegetables.  I am just not sure if we are going to have time this spring to get this done.  If not, I will just concentrate on the stock tank garden and the hay bale gardening.  I think this will keep me plenty busy this summer.  Plus, I have the sunflowers to work on too…there are also like a hundred million other little things that I want to do…put up a bat house, plant blackberries, plant grapes, build some bird houses…the list goes on and on!

Happy New Year!
~Denise and boys

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