We are getting a ton of tomatoes, and cucumbers. They have had no tomato horn worms yet or disease problems. I have had no weeding to do either. I am very well pleased with the results and the lack of work with this kind of garden. The lavender up in the top picture is absolutely beautiful. The squash plant which was planted late has lots of blooms. I grew these plants from seeds. The first plants were starters from a nursery and they did not take well in the bale. I have to say by the time I planted them, it was very hot. I will start all my plants from seeds next year. They popped very quickly in the bales. I love this kind of garden. I also notice that there are less insect problems as well. We have had a handful of grasshoppers but they don't seem to be doing much damage. You must really deeply water the bales once planted. That is extremely important. I will try beans and all the rest of the veggies next year in the bales.
My gogi berry bushes planted with hay bale edging also has survived. It looked doubtful for awhile but I notice they have blooms. Berries should come next. I have found that watering them deeply and spraying all the vines, not just the roots, seems to help them. Next challenge is if they make it through the winter and come back in Spring. Each season here has its challenges. A man who is an expert told me that they should survive. I will mulch them well with straw to help them along.
The comfrey plant in the bales never did well. Normally you can't raise Comfrey in pots but I am going to try and raise two plants in a 33 gal trash can this winter.....keep it in the shed. Comfrey send down deep roots and if you pot it, generally will die off. I am curious to see if the trash can is deep enough to work. The area where they are growing was doing well but the leaves are showing signs of iron deficiency so will give them some help on that this week. So far the comfrey plant is the only one that did not do well.
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We have decided we may not stay here but will try to find a new place in spring. The winds here make it real hard to grow things. A nursery would be real work. There are two towns about an hour a way that are greener, have a river, and are agriculture areas. They grow hay and many crops. It would be much easier to try and raise herbs there. Their area contains 12,000 where this area has less than 100. So we are going to let go of the nursery idea here. The winds were so bad this past spring that it is hard to tell how long a greenhouse would stay up. The soil here has a layer of lava rock a foot deep. It takes a huge amount of brawn to dig a hole. Most people here have a raised bed. That will take hauling in truck loads of soil amendments to do that. We have no shade on the property, so would have to build a shade house for many of them. We many change our mind but right now we are rethinking this area for a nursery.
I still am going ahead with buying the chickens and a Nigerian dwarf goat for milk. It is our plan to be self sufficient for the coming difficult times. We will not move if we cannot find the right place where we can grow herbs and have the livestock. We have our rabbits started now....3 Angora rabbits. My husband is building a second hutch. We are keeping them in a colony during the day and in the hutch at night for safety. They are really fun to watch. Their babies will give me fertilizer for my Moringa Trees, garden, and the earthworm beds. Their wool can be sold and you can eat them as well. I may get a pair of New Zealand's for meat as well.
I know that some of you only think of rabbits as pets. Rabbits are often kept as just pets. Rabbits are also a farm animal used for food. We are setting up a homestead. Unless your are vegetarian, you are eating either chicken or beef. It is no different. If you raised a calf or sheep as the 4-H kids do, they will tell you how much they love their sheep or calf. The reality is though, they do become steak for someone. These three will not go for meat. They are my stock for the future. They have room to play and are fed very well. I spend time with them daily. Their babies will in some cases we sold for people who want their wool and to others who eat their own organic meat. The store bought meat these days is a toss up. The animals are fed hormones and antibiotics. They are fed Genetically M Corn and who know what else. Raising your own food and meat is the only real way you can know what you are eating for sure. It is only getting worse not better. You need to think about that folks.....the picture is not pretty. You are eating meat that was grown and housed in horrible circumstances....in tiny cages. Look at U-tube and how chickens are housed. It is very grim and nasty. You do not hesitate to eat chicken. Beef are also raised in grim pens. Hogs have it even worse. Most of your food is raised on huge farms with many thousands of animals. People just shut off their mind, while eating these foods. Eating your own raised food, you at least know they were kept humanely and fed properly. The meat was handled the right away. You know your animals were not sick or diseased. You know the quality of the food you raise. Its a choice of what you want to put into your body.