Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Homesteading Efforts

Today the ladies over at Design*Sponge are running a little contest for their readers. You share with them your homesteading/urban farming endeavors or future plans for the chance to win Amy English's two new books Canning and Preserving and Keeping Chickens. The following is my entry for the contest.

A little over a year ago my boyfriend and I purchased a fixer upper in the Napa Valley. Up until this point I had been held back in my gardening ambitions by the fact that I was a renter with lots of roommates and a full time student at Sac State. I still however found/made the time to can my own marinara sauce, tomato soup, peach salsa, chutney's, jams, etc. made from produce that I had either grown myself or scavenged from others. It didn't always go without a hitch and there was a lot of improvisation as pots boiled over, timers went off and ingredients that I swore I had disappeared, but every time I put up a batch of some new homemade concoction I was rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and pride in carrying on tradition.

Now however, I am not so limited, I have a whole yard and house just waiting to produce more and more of our everyday food. Here are a few things we are looking forward to this year.

When we bought the house, Jeffry instantly decided that where there is a coop there must be chickens. Our four baby buff orpingtons arrived shortly thereafter. This year, Jeffry is experimenting with hatching his own chicks. This little baby was born just last week from a package of Trader Joe's fertilized eggs which Jeffry grew in a homemade incubator. I really hope it isn't a rooster.

This year we are also trying to grow more of our own plants from seeds instead of buying seedlings at the store. I am learning the ever important virtue of patience as I wait for them to be ready to go outside. Above are some sprouting plants that will hopefully produce okra for some home made gumbo this summer.

Since alot of our backyard is taken up by things like coops, patios and storage sheds we recently turned our front lawn into a garden space. Last night I planted these beds with turnips, garlic, onion and Asian cabbage around the edges. In a week or two our tomato seedlings will go in as well. My goal this year is to try to use every little bit of space to increase our growing potential, in this case, growing root crops around the tomatoes. We are growing about 7 different kinds of tomatoes this year in hopes of producing all our own pasta sauce, tomato soup and salsa for the year.

Hope you enjoyed this quick little tour of some of our future urban farming plans. I'm sure Jeffry would love it if I had a couple new books to distract me so that he could finally have some time to play his video games again!


jennifer said...

good luck... i think thats a winning entry!

Helen said...

Absolutely brilliant!
You've done so much in such a short amount of time, and I'm constantly amazed at your ability to keep things growing and wholesome. <3