The Humble Beginnings of Nelson Acres

My lifelong dream has been to be a farmer. I have been researching and reviewing organic and sustainable methods for a couple of years now, and am now trying to put some of this into practice on my 1/2 acre preparation of the day when I can make that dream come true. This blog is going to be my place to document, share, and follow my successful and unsuccessful attempts as Nelson Acres moves closer to reality.

19 April 2011

Moving Right Along

19 Apr 11

Still home sick, but it is allowing me to water the plants and keep a good eye on them.  Sunday my very good friend Meri and her brother finished my beds for me and moved 3+ yards of topsoil/compost into them.  I planted the cold weather plants, mostly my greens.  Of course it's been cold and rainy since, but they are all looking okay.  I'll post pictures when I can.  Nothing is really taking off yet, but I feel pretty confident as soon as we get some real sun, they will.  I also gave plant food to all my established plants this morning and the little Japanese Maple in the front yard.  I'm hoping these will all create a synergistic affect as the wildlife does their part in pollinating and such.  Of course, the squirrels are a concern, so I'll be keeping an eye on those little buggers.
And I have a big temptation offered to neighbor is looking for a home for a pet rabbit her son found.  I don't need another pet between everything else I have going on, but I am such a crazy animal lover.  And I just looked up that rabbit droppings are good compost for the garden.  Hmmmm....I may casually ask her to meet the little guy.
I'm also looking into an off-shoot of Nelson Acres, specifically utilizing the herbs that I'll be growing.  I have been looking up making my own organic hair products and soaps.  I got some supplies yesterday and will give it a try.  Unfortunately, I've been overdoing it so I need some rest.  Gardening is not for the weary...but who can resist when so much is to be gained!  Still doing a lot of research.  I need to see which veggies I should give the plant food to, and see if they take off.  Pictures soon....

15 April 2011

In the beginning....

15 Apr 11, Location: home sick.
This is an interesting time for me.  I had big plans for this spring, but here I am too sick to do all those things, so I am instead going to start this blog.  I do think this will be a great way to capture my initial attempts at organic gardening, so it is probably best that I can not continue to put together my raised beds.  But let's catch up to today...
About 25 Mar, I had my Miracle Gro Organic potting soil, two trays of fifty peat pots, and had gotten my packets of organic seeds.  I began filling each peat pot with the potting soil, and then set them up in the little greenhouse cases I had gotten from Home Depot.  Shortly, they began growing.  The majority of the seeds were from Southern Exposure, but I did have one package of Martha Stewart Organic Sunflowers.  Ultimately, I ended up with four trays of fifty, with multiple veggies, herbs, and flowers for the Butterfly/Hummingbird garden I built last year.  Some of these are of course Autumn's, and she is very excited about her contribution. Most started growing in very short time, some even outgrew their peat pots. Luckily my mom brought me some of my grandmother's pots to use, and the plants have pretty much soared in those.  I just started hardening them to the outside climate a few days ago, and they are doing fantastic.  It helps that I'm home because I can pay them so much attention.
I also had decided against tilling, and am instead utilizing the Lasagna Gardening strategy.  This is in part due to the heavy clay soil I have in my yard. I ordered three raised beds (also from Home Depot), one a 4'x4', another 8'x8' (driven by my desire to do corn), and the third a ridiculously expensive but very pretty ornate one that resembles a flower when looked at from above.   The topsoil mixed with compost arrived today.  I have been trying to get the gardens put together, but alas, this illness didn't let me get as far as I'd like, so I am now resting from that.  But once they are together, I'll put cardboard and newspaper down on the bottom of each garden bed.  This is supposed to reduce the ability of weeds to pop up.  I had hoped to add straw as well, but in my current state something had to give.  So friends are coming to help me this Sunday to move the topsoil/compost mixture into each garden, as tomorrow it is supposed to rain heavily. 
I have such a variety and so many are really doing well, so at this point I'll point out the ones not doing well, mostly herbs: thyme, oregano, feverfew, chamomile, peppermint, and a few of the others.  Borage and Chevril are the only ones really showing up right now.  I have put in some more seeds as of yesterday and we'll see if the next batch will appear. 
I am zone 7a, so planting time is somewhere between now and next month...most seem to recommend planting next month (after mother's day), but I may go a little early as the plants seem ready.  We'll see how that goes. 
Well if nothing else, I need to get a tarp over the topsoil so it won't all drain away tomorrow.  I'll add more in the next few days as to how the making of the gardens go.