2017 is yet another year when we won’t be getting much from our gardening efforts to shorten the food chain; not having a spot to start seeds early enough really cuts down on what I can get out in the garden in time. We are still working on it though. Next year I WILL have an indoor seed starting area, somehow. In the meantime, here’s what we’ve got growing this year (We also have 15 adolescent chickens who will be providing eggs in a couple of months, but I missed getting a picture of them.):
Lettuce and peas
Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash
Herbs – Clockwise from top left: Italian parsley, chamomile, spicy oregano, unhappy basil, unhappy basil
Inside the underused small greenhouse – tomato (5), cucumber (1), celery (4), carrots and 2 random daisies.
Outdoor tomatoes and replacement amaranth
More tomatoes and some peppers
Mystery squash in the compost
Raspberry arbor #1
Raspberry arbor #2
Potato (1 of 90)
Purple pak choy (still tasty, even after bolting)
Winter squash (probably won’t mature before winter, but we’ll see)
Mystery compost squash planted in the garden
The big greenhouse will be ready to extend the growing season, though we won’t be using it for heat lovers this summer.
Ducks – most of these will be in our freezer in a month or two. We’re switching back to chickens.
This year’s duck poop compost
Last year’s duck poop compost, growing a very healthy crop of chickweed and lamb’s quarters (aka duck feed) – this needs turning.
Why are we making a farmlet (really big garden, or really tiny farm) in suburban Fairbanks, Alaska? It would be much easier and possibly cheaper (in the short run) to continue as we have been, buying food from the supermarket, with the occasional purchase at the farmer’s market, and raising a small, usually less-than-spectacular garden. The property we’ll be farming is probably the last acre of undeveloped land in our neighborhood. That certainly doesn’t mean it is untouched. The previous owners stored a junk car collection among the birches, spruces and cottonwoods. Judging by the bits and pieces of rusted cans, empty bottles and campfire remains, the property has hosted humans at least a few times over the years. We have also recovered quite a bit of random junk: electrical wire, fencing material (sadly deteriorated beyond use), even a piece of railroad. Not a railroad tie, mind you. An 8’ length of track, bent into a curve no engine could navigate.
Preventing this piece of land from falling into the hands of our local junk-yard owner was our impetus for buying it in the first place. Making it productive enough to help us pay for it was our next goal. But as we’ve worked on it, and done a bit of research into what our climate can support, it has become, for me, a chance to make the world better, in several teeny, tiny ways.
1. Prevent another suburban junkyard/eyesore.
2. Rehabilitate the hidden junkyard we bought.
3. Reduce our reliance on shipped food (which has traveled even farther to us than the national average of 1500 miles.)
4. Provide another local food option to our neighbors.
5. Produce food which we know to be organic and genetically unmodified.
6. Provide a pesticide-free area for local honey bees to do their thing.
7. Help our children understand, in a very hands-on way, where food truly comes from, and help them develop a respect for (if not love of) the hard work involved in feeding people.
Next Post: Making this piece of world better. The Nature of a Garden