We are a christian homeschooling family of 4, living the farm life in north central Alabama. rWe are trying to live as simply and purposely as possible. Follow along as we pilgrim along this wonderful life!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Early Garden

Yesterday, Hailey and I started to work in the garden. It was like a spring day with temps in the 60's and sunny! I don't have spring fever yet, but I knew we had to start on it.

Fresh tilled ground!

I tilled the entire garden spot up. Hailey said it looked like it was bigger than usual, which it was. I really have 2 gardens separated by a 4 ft walk-through, but I decided to plow it up and make one big area. The new area has what I think is Bermuda grass, and it is bad! I will have trouble keeping it weeded, but hopefully will control it. That grass wants to take over and has a massive root system! I don't use weed killer at all on my property. I think I will try a strong salt water as a natural weed killer this year. I will have to research that.....

We planted sugar snap peas, turnip greens and collard greens. I will have to stake the peas, but that can be done later after they come up. I love to eat snap peas raw. They are very sweet and crunchy. Even the kids like them raw, but won't eat the cooked peas. I am the only one who likes green peas so I don't plant a lot. I will freeze a couple of bags to have on hand for chicken pot pie or other casseroles that call for a little.

We also planted a long row of turnip greens and collard greens. I like to just throw the seeds thickly on the ground and I usually don't even cover them up. We are getting rain today so they should fall on into the dirt nicely with the rain. I planted collard greens last year for the first time. A friend gave me established plants and they did well. We only got to have them for supper one time because it got too hot on them and the bugs started eating on them as well. Which reminds me..... I left those collard greens in the garden all summer. Everyone that saw them said I should pull those up. They indeed looked pitiful but, those ugly, eaten on things were a natural bug repellent! I didn't have near the problem of bugs on my other plants because they were feasting on those! It was a great discovery so keep that in mind while planning your garden. Give those bugs something to eat on and they will leave your other stuff alone.

Last, but probably the most important, is the green manure crop. On the remaining tilled ground we planted Red Clover! I am excited about this because I will actually get to harvest quite a bit of this wonderful herb before I plow it under. It is pricey to buy it online. Red clover is rich in nutrients and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is used as a blood purifier and overall tonic herb. It also is used for cancer. It has a beautiful red flower head that makes it even more appealing!

I will also be planting some different varieties of lettuce and potatoes soon. I canned potatoes for the first time last year and they have been wonderful to have on hand this winter! I never thought to can them until I read online that it was a great way to preserve them and it is! How very easy it is to open up a jar and heat it up. From there you can make potato salad, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes....well, you know what I mean! :)

a view of the pasture

What do you have planned for your early garden? I would love to hear from you!

Happy early gardening to you!


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