Working on the Mobile Garden

Reader Contribution by Robyn Dolan
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Today I got dirty. I worked on the mobile garden, which has mostly been neglected since we left for Oregon, back in April. Yes, it has been watered, and I have begun harvesting the peppermint, but mostly it has sat untended. My strawberries refuse to either produce or die out, so I pulled the dead pansies and other flowers and made a nice mulch around them. I will continue to cover them as they go dormant and hope that they come back again in a few months.

I added my compost/garden soil mix to the remaining pots and took inventory of my seeds. Since potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic are relatively inexpensive, I decided to forego planting any of those. Tomatoes, squash and cucumbers are probably too late to start, so I decided to go with greens, herbs and peas.

Fall is coming soon, here in Colorado, so cooler weather crops that might do well in small pots seemed like a good idea. They also have to be mobile, since we will be changing locations every few weeks, and our fall and winter travels will include New Mexico, Arizona and California. I also put in some rosemary, oregano, parsley and dill seeds. We will see how they do.

This time, I labeled everything, along with where I got the seeds – some from Bountiful Gardens, by mail order, and some locally from farmers’ markets last year. A few I got from discount stores at 10 for $1 – could you resist? I want to see what germinates and what doesn’t and how they do, so I can “weed out” the non-productive seeds in my backlog of inventory, and justify the cost if the mail order or farmers’ market seeds take off. This way I can also keep track of what I planted in which pot, especially when it comes to harvesting the salad greens.

I also started a mobile compost bucket. Since I am used to the outdoor compost heap at the Homestead, I am not sure if I should put some aeration and drainage holes in it or not. I have put a base of wheat and pine-based cat litters (I don’t like the clay-based ones) and have started with food scraps. I may add earthworms, too, but I need to do a bit more research on composting in containers first.

For now, the cat litter will contain the odors. I am excited to start this mobile composting project. I have been feeling like I’m wasting so much by just throwing it in the trash. Can’t wait until I get a paper shredder again, so I can add that to the mix. I think this will cut down greatly on our waste and help us be more sustainable by producing our own soil for growing some of our food.

It is always nice to get back to Colorado, because my cow-share people also make raw butter and fresh eggs (well, their chickens make the eggs). Even though in Arizona and California I am able to get raw milk from Sprouts, I like my cow share even better because I’m getting it right from the dairy farm. As my No. 2 son says, “You can taste what the cow’s been eating,” and I like that. It’s earthy, connected and I think it’s healthy. Why would I want my milk to taste like water? I am looking forward to lots of dairying this week – yogurt making, cheese making and, now that I picked up my little ice cream freezer from the Homestead, ice cream, too!

Speaking of frozen treats, I happened to pick up a cooking show on the local stations, Lidia’s Kitchen. On this particular episode, Lidia made Mint Granita, a frozen dessert. It looked scrumptious, and I can’t wait to try it with some of my fresh peppermint. I will post on how that turns out another time. Right now, I have to clean the dirt out from under my fingernails and throw together some store-bought greens for lunch.

I hope you will consider joining us at my website, Mrs. D’s Traveling Homestead, for more updates on our mobile homesteading, roadschooling and simple living adventures. Please also check out my book: The Working Parent’s Guide To Homeschooling.

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