Well, that’s a wrap on the 2012 garden. Overall, I’d say I had a pretty successful year. I fulfilled most of the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and even had some fun doing it! Yes, it was a lot of work, and just because the year is over it doesn’t mean that the work is done. Gardening at My Happy Homestead is a never ending labor of love!
I’d have to say that weather was the biggest player in last year’s garden. It affected nearly every crop I grew (some for better, some for worse), and allowed a host of unusual pests to outstay their welcome among all of the plants. As I look back on the highs and lows, the successes and failures, and all of the lessons that I learned this past year, I am filled with a great sense of satisfaction and privilege.
It has been incredibly satisfying to feed my family with fresh, healthy, organic foods that come straight from our own backyard.
What a privilege it has been to work in the soil and grow food for ourselves, friends, family, strangers, neighbors, and tons of little critters (both good and bad) that visited our homestead, this past year.
It was a year for trying out new gardening techniques, like this wire basket compost and potato growing system.
The compost system, when we stayed on top of it, did a very good job of delivering dark, healthy hummus for us. The potato baskets, well, I think it just gets way too hot, here, for potatoes to grow well in this manner. This coming year, the potatoes are definitely going back into the ground where they can stay nice and cool (with a liner of chicken wire at the bottom to keep the gophers out, of course).
Pinterest had a big influence on the look of my garden, this past year. I fell in love with all of the beautifully designed raised garden beds that I saw, and decided to try my hand at creating one. I love how my lettuce bed turned out. It was every bit as wonderful as I imagined, except for one thing – I never wanted to harvest from it!
A few of my Pinterest-inspired projects were a little more practical and will be keepers in this year’s garden, though,
like this Pottery Barn inspired container,
and this old chair planter,
and this old crib turned tomato trellis.
Speaking of practical, straw mulch was and will still be a huge part of my garden. It always does such a great job of cutting down on weeds and feeding the soil, below, as it decomposes, and the plastic bottle cloches proved to be an indispensable tool for protecting transplants, too.
One thing that I’d like to do a little more of, this coming year, is seed saving.
I’d also like to take up right where I left off on preserving the harvest,
and eating (mostly) only what’s in season.
There’s a lot to look forward to out at our homestead in 2013. We’ve got plans to expand our fledgling home business, Whit’s Acres. In addition to selling heirloom, organic seeds, seedlings, and produce, we’re excited to be offering a “Harvest at Home” gardening service for those who would love to grow their own, fresh, heirloom, organic fruits, veggies, and flowers at home , but don’t necessarily have the time (or feel like they know how) to do so. Here’s a sneak peak at a couple of the items we’ll be offering…
A Home Harvest box, filled with various, one-crop, edibles, for rent,
and a Harvest at Home raised bed garden – a permanent garden- filled with a variety of edibles that we construct, and keep filled with veggies (and will even service) all year ’round.
I can’t wait to see what becomes of our endeavors in 2013!
Most people say that I am “lucky”; lucky to be living where I live, to have to space to grow what I grow, to have the knowledge and talent to do what I do. I prefer the word “blessed”. I am so very thankful that God has brought me to this place and that He allows me to participate in this amazing life that He has given me! I pray that I never take it for granted, and that I use all of the gifts and talent He has given me to the utmost for His glory, as I work to create an even better garden (and all that goes with it) in 2013!