My plans for self-food reliance will involve animals and gardens. We are not vegetarians- though I do make many dishes that are but we love our healthy meat as well. Each year I want to incorporate new ideas, gardens, by products such as wool and meat. This year will be three large vegetable gardens, a berry/fruit patch, egg chickens, meat chickens in the fall, two to three pigs and honey bees. Every year I plan to add additional animals and/or re-arrangements of gardens.
This year the focus will be getting pastures and buildings ready for larger animals while also incorporating some animals that will do well with smaller pasture such as pigs and chickens. I am quite ecstatic for honey bees this spring. Just the research behind bees is amazing. They are truly magnificent little buggers with food, medicinal and cosmetic value! And to think, they basically take care of themselves is astonishing.
I do not plan to winter any animals besides my egg chickens and bees this year.
Next year I plan to have a Jersey cow, a crucial part of my mini farm for milk, butter, buttermilk, yogurt, and cheeses. It will take me this year to plan and research enough for my Jersey to be comfortable at her new property.
Animals I would like to incorporate into Modern Roots Homestead within the next five years are milking cow, sheep (for high-end wool), angora rabbits (for angora wool), meat cow, and lambs for meat. Though small in operation, my focus is on best quality and free range. Therefore, with my space (5 acres), small quantity for each type is best.
This past fall, we planted three apple trees, several stick pines, lots of flowering trees, a peach tree (please winter be nice), and a plum tree. Those will be ready for picking in, oh- three years. This is when I tell myself "patience is a virtue" over and over and over. This spring we plan to plant many more trees for windbreaks and a pear tree as well as a Bing cherry tree. I live in agricultural planting Zone 4b, so apparently I should be able to get away with some zone 5 plants. Here's hoping.
I have ordered my seeds for spring and am patiently waiting to plant them....still waiting... Spring time this year is going to be very exciting as I have many projects that need to be accomplished in just the gardens alone. I have a fenced garden 25 X 50 but need to make planter boxes for it. I want to have ten planter boxes 4 X 10 feet- 4 feet across so I can easily manuever weeding, planting, etc.
I also need to add a squash, pumpkin, and gourd garden. In addition, the last garden I need to develop is the sweet corn, grapes and berry patch. I will be adding to the raspberry patch, adding a strawberry tier, rowing out sweet corn, and creating a mini vineyard for table grapes.
I also need to have my husband (Kris) help me, ok um...have him build me my garden shed and chicken coop so they are ready for spring chicks and all of my valuable garden crap. I think he wants his garage back.
Speaking of Kristopher - he asked me last night about which projects I have chosen to pursue this year. I believe he now realizes how crazy busy it is going to be. By the time I got done telling him all the things that will need to be completed spring, summer and fall...he was snoring. But I didn't care, it just felt good to talk to someone older than four even if they were sleeping.
Besides vegetable gardens, I am re-designing a couple flower beds and will be filling those up with pretty plants to add some beauty around the property.
Well, today is such a tease- it is 40 degrees here in central Minnesota (which is warm for January) and reminds me of spring. Yet, I know there are colder days ahead so planning and 'arm chair' gardening is holding my appetite for now.
*Find more about the finance and costs at www.modernroots.org.
Meg working on Modern Roots Homestead.