Kindergardens and giving up chickens........

Well here we are, next week is the last week of Kindergardens, harvesting is almost done and I am down to two chickens.  

Like many gardeners this is the time of year is when you start to reflect on how to make next years garden better than this years. I have a few ideas I have been kicking around.  I am hoping to get some of it done (and share with you guys, of course!) before the real cold weather sets in.  This was our first year having a big garden. Not everything went according to plan, which can be disappointing and frustrating to say the least. But you learn from your mistakes. 

Here are some things I learned this season:
  • Many hands make light work
  • Patience
  • Little hands always make work fun
  • Patience
  • Never bite off more than you can chew
  • Patience
  • Plan ahead
  • Patience
  • Sometimes you plan ahead and it just doesn't work out
  • Patience
  • Keep trying
  • Patience
  • Gardening is a lot of work that is well worth the effort. 
  • Patience
  • The internet is a great tool but I find 9 out of 10 times you cannot find a direct answer and everyone is an expert.  It helps to invest in a good book, or several.  I like Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.  I also bought this book called Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land.  I have referenced back to these books many, many, many times this past year.  I know there are other really great book out there, these are just the two I use quite a bit.  The Country Wisdom book has much more than gardening. It is a good all around book if you are interested in homesteading. This book has recipes on how to make cheese, breads, jams, etc.  I find I use it for more than gardening. 
  • Patience (notice the theme?)
Patience has always been something I have needed to work on and this year I was forced to be patient.  Nature hurries for no one, I learned this first hand.

One of my favorite pictures, picking strawberries at the farm

As for the garden.....I was happy to find the peppers started to grow, yeah just a tad bit too late. The frost will be here soon enough.  I harvested all of my basil and froze it.  I am going to try my hand as drying some rosemary, I have a little more research to do before I start that adventure.  I have tomatoes a plenty and a ton more out in the garden. I attempted to make homemade sauerkraut, let's just say it didn't turn out edible by any stretch of the imagination. (I didn't know mold could be those colors!) I will try again, hopefully this weekend.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it is a success this time!  I am also saving some of my basil and garlic chive seeds.  I'll let you know how this turns out as well! 

We are not giving up on chickens completely, just until next spring.  I may look at some hens that are already laying for over the winter and then get some chicks in the spring.  I am not sure yet, I think it depends on if the last two of our six original hens survive.  I am now trying to locate a local hatchery which sells chicks for the spring.  This way I know where they came from and the breed is more accurate.  The garden center I bought them from sold me mostly Rhode Island Reds and a few Golden Comets but told me they were all Golden Comets.  The worst part about this whole thing is that we haven't gotten a single egg.  Errr....Maybe next year. 

How is your garden doing?  Do you feel like a big success or a mini failure this year?  What will you do differently next year? 

 And because I like pictures, here are some oldies but goodies!

1 comment:

  1. This may be one of my favorites so far!
    Its nice to read that someone else (whom I consider to be compatable when it comes to this stuff),has different ideas for next year,had some failed attempts & got a little annoyed with this season.
    Myself I planted those 54 different variety tomato plants,53 made it,loaded with green tomatoes only to get soaked before full maturity & get taken by nasty little worms. My "year of the sauce" was a complete & udder failure. I'm still not over it. That was our biggest investment for the season,it was going to be my glory canner's tale,& it was taken away by nasty little dirt eaters.
    I think we all had a late start. I know here we had horrible flooding until like mid June! Then we had to wait for the ground to dry up a bit still! So our season was way too late to start. My new variety strawberry I was so proud to see arrive in the mail never even made it to the ground!
    My seed starters failed,then failed again,& finally I boke down & bought plants. Some things like melons,squash, & potatoes never even got planted. Califlowre was eaten by green caterpillers (I will not plant that again,waste of time,money,space).
    My herb garden worked out beautifully in the end. I started with clay pots lining our front step,but herbs looked tiny & useless. Once I designed the herb wheel & planted them in the ground they took off! Next year I WILL plant more basil in with the tomatoes in the garden(suposed to make the tomatoes taste & grow better), I will also plant garlic differently, & next to raspberries at end of garden. No clue why,but I read garlic next to raspberry bushes! Maybe to keep mosquitoes at bay?
    I'm actually reading now how to make natural repellants,& I will begin working on those with leftover herb this weekend.
    I did freeze all my herbs,I also know that drying herbs can be hard. Keep them out of sunlight (once clipped the sunlight depleats the oil which lessons the flavor). I recently read an article in a local Norh Country Garden magazine I get monthly,its all about herbs & I can email you what they say on rosemary drying if you would like.
    I will invest in a dehyrator. Next year I would like to dry the wild blueberries,some tomatoes,& I will try drying herbs that way.
    I think I will replant brussel sprouts next year,not as many tomatoes,less hot peppers,& I really think I want to plant more fruit. Thinking about a few grape vines. Next year is going to be a completely different layout as well, I feel I can use space better.
    Sorry to hear about the chickens. I know a chicken farmer in Gardener,if your interested I can ask about getting you some hens or chicks in the spring. They are brown eggs & I think some green?
    I would love to get some of those jam recipes if you don't mind. I made a small batch of wild grape jelly...turns out its a hit & its so sweet! Next season I'm going for strawberry jam,wild blueberry jam,mixed berry,lavender mint,I'mgoing jamaddict! I did a god amount this year,still may get more done yet,& would love to get more mixing ideas. Also, I have be looking for "old" jam recipes. Without pectin,just natural sugar & hard work. I want to try making apple cider jam or something different!