February’s homestead goal was to build raised beds for my kitchen garden. My dream for a homestead vegetable garden was to be able to walk right outside my kitchen door to an abundance of flowers, herbs, and veggies ready to grab at a moment’s notice when it was time to prepare a meal for my family. The layout of our property prohibits that to the extent that I had hoped, but we have found a way to work with both our land’s layout and our mental picture of how we wanted things. I will have a raised bed garden near the house, where I can put my herbs, grow some flowers, and include some vegetables. They will be mostly greens and other cool weather plants, as our house is shaded on all sides by an abundance of trees. My hope is that, with the extra shade that we have around the house in the heat of the summer, I will be able to grow things like lettuces longer into the year than our Alabama weather normally allows. Our larger garden, with our tomatoes, okra, peppers, and other heat and sun loving plants will be out in the field, near where we will situate our eventual orchard and berry patch. I have been calling that my market garden, even though that terminology is based more on the style we will use in planning its layout. As far as I know, this land has never been used for gardening, so it may take a few years to get it to where we want as far as production. Therefore, we simply start where we can, my raised beds.
I have seedlings growing happily under lights in my basement while I wait for the weather to cooperate and the raised beds to be completed. Admittedly, over one third of what I have started is flowers. Never before have I had the space to grow tons of flowers with my garden, so I am loving the chance. I have nasturtiums, echinacea, and marigold seeds already in the dirt, with many other varieties awaiting their turn, but my favorite flowers of all time are hollyhocks. I have a full seed tray dedicated to them, and I am crossing my fingers and praying that they flourish. I planted a packet of a dark pink color mix, though my top favorite is the black hollyhock that I am attempting to grow. There will be zinnias, chamomile, and calendula, and we will be moving outdoor furniture to where I can sit with my morning coffee to enjoy the cheery morning flurry of pollinators thriving in the space, keeping both them and my plants happy.
The past two days have been beautiful and almost summery, and I believe spring fever has fully set in. We have been doing so well with keeping our routines, until it was pretty outside. This week, I find myself sending the kids outside for hours during the day, making them promise to do school at night instead. The raised beds are still a work in progress, largely because of the weather being particularly uncooperative with our schedule. We will get done when we can, but we will be here forever. So today, we will enjoy the sunshine, and enough of the day’s tasks will be completed to call the day a success.