At the heart of this homestead is our vegetable garden.
I built shallow raised beds using logs from the woods and our woodpile. I filled our beds with well composted horse manure and then topped off with bark chips as mulch and weed prevention.
The vegetable garden is where I spend the bulk of my summer months. I am either building a new raised bed, weeding, hauling and dumping composted horse manure, stirring our own homemade compost, planting, harvesting or eating the organic vegetables I grow.
Gene first built our six sectioned compost bin system using free wood pallets and green metal “T” posts.
I am working toward growing and producing as much of our own food as possible. When we first started, I asked myself many of these same questions. Today I would like to share some of the reasons that we’ve chosen to make the commitment to grown our own food, even though, at age 64, it is not always easy at times.
Later we needed additional composting space so we added this large wire fenced-in compost bin for larger chunks of organic material. this is where we toss ornamental grasses, thick stemmed plants etc.
Awareness of food quality, pesticides and additives is growing among the general public. When you grow your own food, you have complete control of what the animals are fed, what goes into the soil, and what is sprayed on your crops.
Today’s harvest of organic tomatoes.
When you grow your own vegetables there is no more guessing or wondering what side effects pesticides or food additives will have on you and your family.
This year I am testing growing tomatoes in grow bags in just horse manure compost soil.
I believe it’s more affordable to grow my own than to purchase all my organic produce. Its quite good exercise. I also like to show my granddaughter where her food comes from.
the early days of our bare root strawberries in our raised cedar bed mulched with bark chips.
There is also a great deal of satisfaction in growing one’s own healthy food. And the taste of fresh picked vegetables…oh la la – nothing else compares!
Today’s harvest of snap bean and cukes.
Living and gardening in SW Michigan can be ‘iffy’ proposition. With our lean Oak Savannah sandy soil heavy amending of our soil is a given. We use almost anything organic we can get our hands on; grass clippings, kitchen scraps, weeds, leaves, manure, bark chips, straw and more. With compost and mulch our garden is a source of much of our summer food. I make raw salads and use these vegetables that I turn into casseroles, sauces, stews, soups, Quiche and much more.
My garden staples include; spinach, chard, kale, snow peas, snap beans, tomatoes and squashes. What I cannot grow I purchase from the farmers market or local farmers.
I like being reliant on my garden for my food. I like walking out to the garden each day and deciding what to have for dinner based on what is fresh and ready to be picked.
Yes, it’s a lot of hard physical labor work but I believe that the garden is worth it. I also believe in voting with my pocketbook and I believe in supporting our local farms. Supporting organic farming is support for small business and job creation in my own community.
Donna at the Small House Homestead