Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Urban homesteader goes crazy

Last week I was home from work for spring break with the kids and we had some great, mild weather. As a result, I worked out in the yard for 2 to 3 hours a day getting stuff built, dug up, planted and planned.

Here's the wrap-up of what I got done. Now, it's back to the daily grind.

Random stuff
Built a new 4' x 4' raised bed (mostly for herbs)
Built two hoop houses to go over 4' x 4' raised beds
Dug out two 7' arborvitae to make space for fruit trees
Dug trench for weed barrier (from our neighbors invasive lawn)
Harvested a ton of dandelions for the chickens
Put corn gluten on the lawn
Pruned back trees
Cleaned out chicken coop
Harvested three gallon bags of kale (made kale chips)


Ordered fruit trees
1 cherry
3 plum trees
1 peach
1 nectarine
2 pear trees

More importantly, my fig tree seems to have survived the winter and has new buds growing on it. I thought for sure it was dead, since it was just a little twig out there, but hopefully it will revive.

After planting all of the above, and assessing what I have growing under lights in the basement, I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't have enough space so I'm still contemplating building another bed to round it out to 6 in the lawn in the back.

I'll let you know what I'm doing with all those fruit trees once I get them in and planted. It's a work in progress.

I've been reading The Backyard Homestead and it's making me want to grown my own small crop of wheat. We have the space for it, but it would have to be in the front yard and I don't think the neighbors would go for that. But, our front lawn is huge and growing grains closer to the house wouldn't be as obvious as near the street. I don't think our covenants say anything about that.

Do any of you grow wheat or grains on your urban or suburban lot? Is it worth it?


Dr. Monkey Hussein Monkerstein said...

We love our fig tree. I've made fig preserves for the past few years and they are super tasty. It's a brittle tree so give it plenty of room and watch out for it's branches.

Michele Lang said...

After reading that lovely "Backyard Homestead" book last year, I too became very interested in growing wheat. I'm here in the Seattle area as well and got a few recommendations for varieties that may do well here; one place I was referred to is Lopez Grain project

Michele Lang said...

Should have mentioned, I didn't get around to planting any yet...after growing dried beans last year and knowing how much went into growing as many beans as I could buy for about $2 at PCC, I haven't made the leap. Still on the list though...will look forward to hearing if you try some out.

Kate said...

We've grown rye as a cover crop. I let a little bit of it set seed once and went to the trouble to harvest it, thresh it, and winnow it. It wasn't really enough to bother with eating. I just saved the seed and replanted it as more cover crop. The chickens do love the rye grass. But the experience of harvesting the grain made me very much more appreciative of the cheap availability of all sorts of flours. It was a pain, and I dealt with only a tiny amount of rye. But maybe it gets easier with practice and having the equipment/space set up for such activity.

Desert Lean-to said...

I've grown quinoa on a very small scale and, although it is easy to harvest, I don't plan to put aside space to grow on a larger scale. We don't have the space (.07 acres including the house isn't much to work with) and it would take a significant amount of land to grow enough to put by.

We planted winter wheat as a cover crop. I think I'll save that seed for cover cropping next season.

Michelle said...

I haven't grown wheat (yet) but I'm keen to start some elderberries - where did you obtain your seeds/plants?

Anonymous said...

After reading your post I have no doubt that you are Wonder Woman! Now that's a productive vacation. My list is much shorter and doesn't involve much planting-just some much needed yard clean-up. My garden is waiting and at this rate it will be waiting for a long time. I will say we did have some fun, quality family time.

Kate @ Sacred Bee said...

Talk about a productive week! Way to go! My garden is prepped and ready, but I am "waiting" for a break in the rain to drop the starts in. We'll see with our lovely Washington weather. I might need to just grab a raincoat and take the weather on!

Anonymous said...

I've tried to grow grain for three years, and it's never worth the space. Deer at the wheat, rye was ok but prone to ergot, and raccoons got every single ear of corn, even with "3 sisters" planting and a nylon stocking over each ear.

My best harvest was 3lb of rye from about 300sf of garden space. I'd have gotten 300-450lb of potatoes from that same space. Threshing and winnowing was a pain, too, and no straw to speak of for composting.

I wonder if the best use of home grain growing is chicken feed? Amaranth, perhaps...

Crunchy Chicken said...

Michelle - I got our elderberry plant from the local nursery a couple months ago when it was 50% off. I finally got around to actually planting it.

Well, it sounds like the rest of you haven't been too impressed by your forays into grain growing. I'm thinking if I bother, it will be for the chickens and not for the peeps.