After an intense first two months (six weeks for me as Rob got here a bit earlier than me), the pace of life here is finally slowing down as we get into the groove of farm life.
Rob first built a 1.8m heigh fence around the front of the property, renting out a machine that allowed him to dig fence posts. He also installed the gate. He built the chicken house, and we made a chicken run to use in emergencies. He also built the pig house and made all the pig fencing.
We had also converted a tractor storage area into a hoop house and now it has two kinds of cucumber growing in it with watermelon and soon tomato and peppers.
In the front garden we already had two kinds of apple trees, two peaches and a plum. In addition to asparagus, blackberry, lots of strawberries and some grapes. We added a pear and cherry tree, 3 blueberry bushes, 6 raspberry bushes and some more grapes.
I’ve got the veggie bed planted and mulched in the walkways. It now has beds with seedlings or direct seed of fennel, carrot, potatoes, two kinds of onions, garlic, two kinds of lettuce, white chard, normal swiss chard, two kinds of squash, zucchini, two kinds of beets and two kinds of broccoli. The reason for the doubling up of veggies in the garden is because we received such a nice present from my old colleague Nathalie (thanks Nathalie) that contained ancient varieties of veggies, so we planted them alongside traditional varieties. We did this last year in Switzerland and I realised why industry had changed the varieties (cucumbers with super thick skin and slightly bitter, etc.) but I am still hoping some of these ancient varieties that Nathalie gave will compete with their evolved or modified ancestors.
Then we have the famous herbs. Rob prepared two garden beds in different locations of the lower field today. These will be test plots for herbs. As the soil is incredibly sandy, I don’t think we will have much success with herbs other than rosemary, thyme, lavender and other mediterranean herbs, but we will see. We have those in the greenhouse ready to plant out but also have tons of lemon balm and basil to plant, as well as savoury, marjoram, chervil, nettle, cilantro and dill.
The dilemma is, if only those few mediterranean herbs grow on the lower field, is that all we grow? We only sell those herbs, plus the flowers (chamomile, verbena, calendula, rose hips) for tea that we grow on the pig field when they are done digging it up.
Or, do we make nice beds for the cilantro, dill, etc. which need rich soil in the front garden? Seems pointless if these herbs can’t grow on the land since we can’t grow large quantities. On the other hand, limiting ourselves to so few herbs lower down is pretty risky. We have 8 acres and that land was meant for growing large quantities of herbs.
Another two options are trading some pork with our neighbour for large quantities of her horse’s manure in the fall and digging that into some of the lower field. That could give us richer soil – who knows if it’ll be enough.
Or, just planting asparagus. We have ideal conditions for asparagus. Hesitated for a minute to switch and grow that but it is totally the opposite of our plan – and we must stick to the plan!
Now that the house is setup, we have our things and furniture, animals are ok (other than kitty – but I wrote a separate post for that), and garden is ok, I am feeling a bit better. Luckily the little bit of consulting work is keeping my worries of financial ruin at bay as well, and when that stops we will figure something out.