Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Gardening at the Cockeyed Homestead

Since the Cockeyed Homestead is such a heavily wooded, small parcel of land, we have a rotation planting system to provide what we need for the year. After all only 1/4 acre is actually cleared and that includes the double wide trailer, a 20x24 barn and a 8x12 rabbitry also in the same 1/4 acre. Not much room for a garden, huh? But yet the planned garden will produce enough food for the two of us for 6 months to a year.

We garden in a 25x25 ft trapezoid shaped area in the front yard. That's not a huge space. The longest section borders the barn. There is a 10 ft wide driveway between the garden and the barn. Another driveway borders the front and right side of the garden area. The house is at the southern border (yellow arrow is direction of the sun). We plant double rows. We planted corn, pole beans, and black oil sunflower seeds in the longest bed. Not a whole lot of each, but enough for us to have a year's worth of corn for the freezer, pole beans to eat fresh, and sunflowers to sprout for the rabbits and chickens to supplement their diets.

The second row has tomatoes for fresh eating on one side and Roma tomatoes for canning on the other side. We've planted a single row of onions in the middle. That's about three quarters of this row. Last year, we went through 35 quarts of sauce and diced tomatoes. We also planted zucchini, and a few okra plants at the top of this row. We separated the plantings with old tires planted with red potatoes.

The third row, was dedicated to canning produce in the form of cucumbers and bush green beans. Not all the cucumbers will be pickled, but a good portion will be. The two crops is separated by an elevated raised bed (1'x3') of spearmint and lemon balm. These are terribly invasive so we maintain them in an elevated raised bed.

We have two 3x6 beds with garlic and onions (G) and strawberries (S). One 4x8 bed(A) that we've sown asparagus seed into. Yes, we know it will take several years to have good root stock for great stalks. We can wait. The boxes marked with an H are our elevated raised beds of herbs on either side of the gate facing the house.

Rosemary and lavender are planted on either side of the front gate between driveways. Eventually the plan is to have elevated raised beds of each herb we plant. The plan calls for both medicinal and culinary herbs to have enough to sell. Since the beds are made from pallets, they are 4X4. 

We have an orchard space diagonal to the barn down a twenty foot slope that levels out a bit before the drop off to the fresh spring water creek that borders one side of our property. We've got oaks, apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, black walnut, and pecan trees planted here. Eventually, we have plans to plant muscadine grapes here too.

Along the downward slope we've seeded with wheat and barley seed. This will enrich the soil for future gardening or continue to be grain or flax growing areas. We do cover crops of this type to stop erosion and fuel our organic growing endeavors. In the area where our old chicken run was will also be seeded in this many also. We can scythe the grain for straw for bedding for our flock of chickens. Green manure for fertile new soil.

We have a patch 5x5 dedicated to dandelions and clover behind the greenhouse. This is for our rabbits free grazing pleasure once a few harvests are cut for our use. As we rotate this patch to other areas, a mixed variety of lettuces will be planted. These weeds, to most, have many medicinal uses. Speaking of medicinal uses for weeds, we have wild violets, blackberries, chickweed, and plantain running rampant on our property. As I find these plants I'm transplanting them into easier to harvested areas.

By rotating the crops within these spaces, we can double and in some cases triple our yield. By staggering our crop plantings we can grow things we use the most of like potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic twice a year always giving us a fresh supply year around. We take the plastic covering off our greenhouse about mid-spring allowing us an ample supply of fresh greens, peas, and other "cool weather" crops for a later harvest. The green tree cover allows for filtered sunlight and a drop of temperature for these plants. We eat fresh for as long as we can. By first frost, we will have canned, frozen, or cold stored all the vegetables we need for the gap between November through April.

Eventually, we will cut the trees that narrow our growing area, but for now...this is what we do. While we cannot grow enough wheat to be self sustainable, we do what we can. Without the purchase of several acres of additional land, we will not be totally self sufficient nor do we expect to be. But every step towards getting more self sustainable is one step towards being better off.

Until next week...
Y'all have a blessed day.

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