Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 Homesteading Update One

Last week I shared all my homesteading goals for this year and this week, I thought I would share a few updates on my list.

Expand my weedless garden beds.
While I haven't expanded yet, we installed the new support system in three of the existing beds. Last week we planted peas in these beds (after soaking them in water overnight) and knew that they would need something to climb. I am planning no putting similar supports up in the new beds for the tomatoes. This way, we can easily plant peas or beans or whatever crops we rotate in the beds each year.

Grow corn for our chickens this winter.
Learn to forage and use forage items.

Get honey bees.
Alas, after looking over the budget for the year and prioritizing our projects, it looks as though bees might have to wait until next year. I am considering a small mason bee set up similar to the set up that my sister and I got for our dad for father's day last year from Crownbees.

Consider cold frames to extend our season.

Get at least two turkeys for holiday dinners.
I found a local source on Craigslist for Narragansett turkey eggs. My dad and I are going to hatch six and hope for 2 each.

Get piglets.
The gentleman that I was hoping to get 3 pigs from emailed me with some devastating news: two of his sows that should have been pregnant, turned out not to be. The one sow that gave birth over the winter, lost all her piglets due to a power outage during one of our last big winter storms, causing the heat lamps to go out. Since we want to have pasture raised pigs, it is best for us to get them from a farm that is also raising pasture raised pigs. By getting pasture raised piglets, they are more likely to have an immune system already developed for the type of possible bugs they might encounter in the pasture. I am looking for another source, however this too might have to wait until next spring.

Add the following: rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
We ordered our additional fruits: 3 blueberries, 13 raspberries, 75 strawberries, 2 goji plants, 2 gooseberries, a cranberry tree, a fig tree, 2 pawpaw trees. My husband took one of the beautiful days we had last week to build us 4 raised beds, 2.5' by 10' to accommodate the 75 strawberry plants. He used 10'x2'x8" boards with a 2.5' board in the middle for support. We got rough cut from a local lumber yard and the 10' boards were actually a little longer.

Rhubarb did not make the list and will also have to wait until next year. We tossed around whether to get it instead of the fig tree or pawpaws but in the end it came down to this: we have a source for rhubarb but no source for these other fruits. Since the trees take a few years to bear fruit, we figured that we should plant them now and just continue trading eggs for rhubarb for another year.

Plant another row of maple trees.
Plant pines along the thruway border.


This article was shared on The HomeAcre Hop, My Turn for Us, The Mind to Homestead, The Chicken ChickHomestead Barn Hop, The Backyard Farming Connection,

6 comments:

  1. We want to get honey bees also, but they will have to wait one more year. We have a lot of the mason bees, so those will have to suffice for now. I see a lot of jam, fruit muffins and berry pie in your future! Yum! Good luck with all your plans!

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    1. Vickie -

      Thanks. How many Mason bee homes do you have and how long have you had them for? Any problems you have seen? Thanks for stopping by.

      Elizabeth

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  2. We raised turkeys last year (Bourbon Reds) and processed them- they are in our freezer! All were hens so we didn't keep a breeding pair. Had one for last year's Thanksgiving and it was yummy!

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    1. Megan - Did you let your turkeys free range?

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  3. Hello! I stopped by from The Homestead Barn Hop. We are hoping to get started with bees next year too. I had never heard of Mason Bees before! I am so intrigued! Love the idea of having some helpful garden pollinators at a MUCH lower cost then a honey beehive set up. Thanks for sharing this info! I'm definitely going to be looking into them further:)

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    1. Lindsey-

      Thanks for stopping by. The Mason bees are really incredible. We got them for my dad because he just didn't have the time for honey bees but he really wanted a pollinator for his small dwarf orchard. The Mason bees have been a huge hit. They require very little and are gentle so he doesn't have to worry about the kids running around. He takes them right down to the bee house and they all watch the bees together. Good luck!

      Elizabeth

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