Grit Blogs > Adventures in Rural Living

New Life on the Farm

Marie James head shotSpring is a time for fresh beginnings and new life. We have a few little sprouts around our homestead. 

We really enjoy gardening, growing flowers, veggies, and fruit. This is the third summer since we moved here full time. The first year we concentrated on finishing our house while we lived in a trailer. Last summer we planted some fruit trees, built a large raised planting bed, and put in a small garden. 

This year, we're expanding...just a bit. 

tomato starts 

The tomato plants we started in a storage closet are looking great! Well, maybe we got a little carried away with varieties. We like to have all sizes and types of tomatoes: some for sauce and paste, some big slicers for hamburgers and sandwiches, and some medium salad-size. And of course we love the teeny ones, so we have currant and cherry tomatoes. A friend suggested using purple tomatoes to deepen the color of sauce and paste, so we have a couple of those too.
pepper plant starts

Sweet and hot peppers and some other assorted plants are smaller but getting a good start. It will be a few more weeks before we can safely plant them outdoors without shelter. If you’re thinking about starting some seeds for summer planting, here are descriptions of how our daughter made her similar simple and inexpensive system: the shelf and light setup and the heat mats made of Christmas lights and rope lights.  It's a big improvement over last year's windowsill operation.
damaged tree sprouting new leaves

Our orchard is taking shape! Unfortunately, due to deer, gophers, frolicking dogs, and some planting errors, we lost several of the fruit trees we put in last year. We replaced some of the trees this month and are watching some other weak ones that are—amazingly--sprouting new buds. Some of them I was sure were lost for good…but they have heart! This little guy is giving it all he has.The damaged trees that recover will just be a few years behind the others when it’s time to bear fruit.
raspberry and blackberry plants

We took a country drive to a local vineyard to buy grape, raspberry, and blackberry plants. Here are the raspberries and blackberries; several types of table and wine grapes are planted next to them. We’ll also plant blueberries and gooseberries. Strawberries are growing in a raised bed in the garden area. Is there anything like a juicy berry, warmed just right by the sun? Mmm!

strawberry sprouts under mulch 

What’s sprouting at your place?