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.

17 June 2011

 This is just my favorite little garden, with rosemary in the back, oregano in the  middle, and my beloved lantana to lure the butterflies my way.  That figure is from my grandmother's garden, and the well is something Autumn had been begging for the last two years.
 This is not the best part of the garden to be honest.  My little blueberry plant is struggling, so I'll find better places for those next year.  Then I have kale, basil, and broccoli.  The broccoli did not do well again this year, I think my timing is bad in planting it.  I will keep trying though!
 This is the butterfly/hummingbird garden (the previous picture is the right side of this, in front of the brick wall).  This is to attract all my pollinators, then I stuck some veggies in for fun.  This garden was all ugly ivy last year. I had it dug up, then had fresh dirt delivered and put in the retaining wall.  Autumn planted all the butterfly weed, cosmos, and bachelor buttons that are in the lower part.  They are all flowering at this point!
 These are some tomato and pepper plants.  This is my 'fancy garden', shaped like a sunburst...yes a splurge...
 More tomatoes and peppers....they are bigger now (these pictures taken two weeks ago), and some are already beginning to have little fruits on them.
 This is the nasurtium.  The leaves are edible, and currently it has pretty orange flowers on it.  The second row is carrots and radishes, then above it is rainbow chard and some insectory mix.
 The large purple/green bush in the middle back is the Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth...again..very excited for this harvest!
 This is my corn plot, also containing squash, zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, peas, and room for weeds!  These are now also much bigger, the corn is at least my height.  And I saw some changes in it...will hopefully get a new picture soon...
 My zucchini...can't wait to try it!

This is my greens garden.  They have all now gone bitter, so I need to turn them into compost and plant some more veggies in there...just need the energy to do so!
 Marigolds are supposed to keep away nasty bugs, so I have them planted throughout the garden...they also happen to one of Autumn's favorites!
 Some more nasurtium...and another addition from my grandmother's garden behind them.
 I think these are the cosmos...they are beautiful colors now!
This is the side yard where the raised garden beds you can see...plenty of more room for next year!

Amaranth...a lucky guess on my part! ex-husband (of all people) was dropping my daughter off and as is his habit now that we are civil, he takes the opportunity to appraise my gardens.  Generally, he is very approving, and I have to admit I find this all mildly amusing.  But as he was studying my one garden, he asked me about a particular plant.  It is Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth...I told him I bought it to attract wildlife.  It was kind of a splurge at the time.  But his question did pique my interest about it, since I have looked up so many other things, but I let this just be a pretty addition.
Well, thank goodness he asked about it...amaranth is an amazing plant, and not just for its gorgeous look (hey that describes me, ha ha ha ha)!  The seeds can be used a grain, but without the allergies and intolerance of  other true grains and corn.  It can be cooked, ground into flour, popped like popcorn.  And that's just the seeds.  The leaves can be eaten as well.  The young leaves can be used like spinach, and when they age a bit they taste better cooked.  Amazing!  It is very high in protein and hordes of other vitamins. 
I am now looking at this addition to my garden with new found respect!  I'm also even more eager for it blossom and ultimately give me some of the those seeds to try. Let me attach the pictures I've been promising and see if it is in there...I hadn't been looking for it specifically...but here are the gardens!

07 June 2011

Catching Up's been almost a month.  That's mainly because I'm still sick.  They say I'll be better by September, so I will miss this whole growing season to an extent.  But that means I can get my rows ready for next year :)  This year was mostly about providing for the family and learning, so as you see my pictures, it's more of an edible landscaping adventure this year.  I have not been able to get mulch down or some more compost, but I did feed the herbs, tomatoes, and peppers this weekend.  Need to get to the corn, watermelon, and squash in the other garden.  I tasted my greens today, and they have gone bitter.  So I think I will turn them over where they are and figure out what else to put there.  Maybe potatoes?  I'll have to check what will be a good second crop in that garden.  We had quite the yummy salad though from that batch when my family came down a couple of weeks ago. 
Most everything else is doing really well. I learned I should have planted some things earlier, like the greens and sweat peas (my daughter LOVES these, so I need to plant more next year, too!).  I've also learned that no one in my family likes probably not too many of them next year.  I thinned the corn and spread it out as I mentioned in my last post...go figure, all the transplants are doing well!  So I have an 8' x 8' plot full of corn growing.  Can NOT wait for those to ripen!
The small strawberry plant we had died with all the rain we had, as the big pot I had them in didn't have drain holes.  I'll find a better spot for them next year.  My daughter did get to eat one and loved it. 
Anyway...I will now try and post some pictures I've taken...we'll see how that works.  But it's good to know, even with little help from me, Nelson Acres is still moving along :)