Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Growing in 2016

When we purchased the property 2 years ago, there was 1/2 acre of undeveloped land--mostly growing bind weed and wax weed.  There were so many junky cottonwoods overpowering the edge of our pond. Also they had a border of old poplars, at least 40 of them, some rotten.  David spent most of the last two summers cutting down old and yucky trees and killing weeds.  This year, we were able to grow on that 1/2 acre.  David used the logs from the poplars in a few ways. 1) As firewood to keep the families he visits warm during the cold months, 2) as stadium seating around our campfire area and 3) grow boxes.

Where the poplars were, we'll build up a mound of dirt with mugo pines and trees or grasses.  This should cut out some of the traffic sound from the street adjacent to our property.

David has put in hundreds of hours and his hard work has paid off. I was so sick with pregnancy the first summer and nursing the second summer, so this third one has been the first that I have fully participated in working the land and it's been such a blessing. I love it! This first photo shows some of the baby orchard trees and the huge poplars that remain near the grass.  You can see we have lots of pumpkins growing--306 hills this year.  They should spread out in a couple of weeks to make a sea of huge green leaves (keeping those weeds from surviving).

In between the rows of pumpkin, we planted jackhammer radishes and wild flowers. Those are good for the soil and for propagation--but also another way to prevent the weeds that have called this area home for so many years.

Shot of a pumpkin seedling shown above is from 1 month ago.  The kids and I were so excited to welcome these tiny miracles into our world. Now the plants seem huge and oh so strong.  The five middle kids are so eager to help every step of the way. They all planted a bit. They weed, fertilize and rejoice in the garden.

The pumpkins are great, but my favorite part is the grow box that will become our greenhouse.  We LOVE fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and now we get them table high. David did a fabulous job making log-cabin style grow boxes.  When the rest of the poplars come down, we'll make more grow boxes.

Here we have a bed of two kinds of baby kale. We are thinning it to make our salads just as fast as we can each day. Next we have a bed of chard, onions, Romaine lettuce and some peppers.  We also have tomatoes and cucumbers on the sides to grow hanging over the edge. There are also lots of beets (we thin the greens into salads now, but there'll be plenty of roots to boil this fall/winter.  I'm the only beet fan and think that they are delicious!

Oh yeah, here are more onions and lots of bush beans.

We also have brussels sprouts (a big favorite), buttercrunch lettuce and cabbage

We have the beginnings of our wall of grapes. Currently just young grape plants and tomatoes.  Our raspberries give 2 crops, one throughout July and the other in September. (I think it's so weird that there's a "p" in raspberries)

The most important work that we're doing is growing kids. They keep us moving. They demonstrate patience and kindness to each other. It is a pleasure to interact with them. They have become great companions and friends to each other and can hardly get enough time together. They are often all in the same room and that room is rarely quiet. We feel honored to take part in their growth and development and recognize that it is a privilege and tender responsibility to rear them.

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