Independence Days Update: Greening

Sharon March 20th, 2012

I’ve already written a bunch of rhapsodic posts about spring on the other blog, simply because spring does that to me.  Get some peepers calling and warm sunshine on me and can’t help getting all Keatsean on you folks ;-) .  So I’ll try and restrain myself now and just say – hey, it is SPRING!!!!!  Yeah it is a month early and a little scary, but hey, SPRING!!!!

Busy time right now – getting the barns cleaned from winter is taking up a lot of time – we’ve  had a fair bit of rain and had to wait for some of the mud to dry up to haul barn cleaning stuff where we need it.  The good news is that a lot of compost is a very happy thing.

The weekend was spent celebrating Eli’s twelfth birthday – it was glorious and he really had a great time, mostly due to the warm weather – warm enough that the kids could swarm all over the creek.  All that time out in the sunshine watching kids play (including my visiting niece) may not have been productive, but boy was it nice.

Lots of seed starting going on right now, taking advantage of the warm weather to get things out to a good start – but I took the covers completely off my low hoops, figuring that I was much more likely to fry things than to get any advantage at night for this week.  Next week we go back to cooler weather.

Eleven baby bunnies this week, the first setting of chicks should hatch soon and all in all, new life coming apace.  Mina is due in mid-April, the rest of the does begin kidding in early May.

Plant something: Tomatoes, Huckleberries, Tomatillos, Ground Cherries, Marigolds, Calendula, Malva, Chamomile, Bok Choy, Cilantro, Dill, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Celeriac, Root Parsley, Parsley, Sage, Geranium Cuttings, Lots of Lettuce, Basils, Mizuna, Arugula, Spinach, Peas, Fava Beans.

Harvest Something: Milk, Eggs, Lemon Verbena and Geranium cuttings, parsnips.

Preserve Something: Not a thing

Waste Not: Worked on cleaning out the garage, accepted six bags of summery girl’s clothes for the foster kid stash, kept most of it, passed some of it on.

Want Not: Ordered bread flour, oatmeal, pasta and beans in bulk.  Sold beef to my neighbors.

Eat the Food: Lots of salads of early greens and anything involving eggs – we are now egged for the forseeable future.  Time to start selling them again on a larger scale!

Build Community Food Systems: Volunteered on a new community garden project.

Skill Up: Working on a braided rag rug that won’t look stupid.

How about you?


21 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Greening”

  1. Fantastic! I’m especially jealous of the bunnies. I’m trying to satisfy the itch with chickens at the moment – have to start somewhere! I posted my ID update last week.


  2. K.B. says:

    Not much last week, but this coming week is the big garden clean-out/planting binge :)

  3. Teresa says:

    I’m up at

    My mother (who lives west of you in the Finger Lakes) keeps reminding me that’s been known to snow in July where she is, but I choose not to believe her.

  4. Mary Walker says:

    Getting things done slowly but steadily. Have transplanted strawberries, spearmint, lavender, lemon balm, mums, roses, blueberries. Have started tomatoes, peppers, radishes, spinach (two lots a week apart), basil, oregano, chives, lettuce, marigold, tansy, and pyrethrum. I am a bit cautious because here (northwest Indiana) we can get nasty snows as late as the end of April.

  5. Jenn says:

    It’s spring here too (or so it would appear), and I find myself alternating between jumping for joy and pondering / worrying about its very early appearance and what that means.

    There are some areas that I could use more work on – notably planting, harvesting, and preserving – but bit by bit I’m adding to the stockpiles, creating even less waste, and just generally thinking more about what independence would look like, which seems to be helpful in and of itself.

  6. Nicole says:

    Plant something: succession sowing of spring crops already in the ground, more herbs into the herb garden

    Harvest something: nothing new.

    Preserve something: working on dehydrating some fruit that was in my cellar, and have plans to can the rest.

    Waste not: more building supplies being cleaned out of the garage waiting on the curb for pickup plus a trip with the smaller odds and ends to the thrift store.

    Want not: yeah, I bought summer clothes. All of last years seem to have been sacrificed to working outside, so now they are working clothes, which are not to be confused with “work clothes,” and the new arrivals are for when I don’t want to look like I just finished digging holes. Also ordered some dehydrated fruit.

    Eat the food: Busy cleaning out the freezer for meat season coming up, but nothing new.

    Building community: Nothing new this week.

    Skill up: I’m on vacation this week. I’ve just been improving my hiking and paddling skills.

  7. Rob says:

    Weekending 3/16/2012
    Plant: Nothing
    Harvest: Some arugula; Some Kale.
    Preserve: Froze some lasagna.
    Prepare: Did my Taxes. Gives me back some income!
    Local Foods: Picked some arugula and kale
    Community: Offered up some leftover seeds to a local High School student making a community garden for the clients of our food bank for his Senior Project;
    Eat the food: Arugula and Kale in Fettucine.
    Repair, Re-use, Reduce, Recycle: Reused and recycled some 5 gallon buckets into SIP planters

  8. Raye says:

    Plant something: lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, peas
    Harvest something: eggs
    Preserve something: froze a couple of gallons of soup someone gave me
    Waste not: took apart a crate that held stone, will burn unusable pieces, use wide boards for bottoms of seed trays
    Want not: ordered seeds aplenty
    Eat the food: scrambled duck eggs for breakfast.
    Building community: time helping others with their gardens
    Skill up: learned how to use a manual seed drill

  9. Brandie says:

    Plant something: One blueberry (our third), one apple tree (our second), one nectarine tree, three bush cherries, two native plums, one trifolate orange; lettuce, onion transplants, and potatoes in the garden, peppers in flats.

    Harvest something: Eggs, the last of the collards that haven’t bolted, walking onions.

    Preserve something: Nothing

    Waste not: Borrowed a truck and took a load of the county’s mulched yard waste instead of buying mulch in bags

    Want Not: Nothing.

    Eat the Food: Not much sophisticated cooking right now with everything else going on.

    Build community food systems: Planted an edible-fruiting mixed hedge in the front yard near the street.

    Skill up: Helped a friend harvest a frame of honey and learned to put together frames for beehive. Took a brief edible-weed walk with an experienced forager. Joined a prepper Meetup group and took a class on putting together a first-aid kit, given by a wilderness doctor. More classes to come with that group.

  10. NM says:

    We’re getting a series of rainstorms and snow flurries out here on the west coast. (somebody last week asked for geographic locations).
    Plant something: A potato, peas (twice; first ones didn’t come up); lettuce, spinach, miner’s lettuce, calendula, parsley, leeks, onions. Especially happy about the last two, because (all) the seeds were at least year old, but came up anyway, despite the warnings about not keeping old allium seed, in particular. Although the lettuce didn’t germinate well.
    Harvest something: Kale, chard, sorrel, lettuce, spinach, oregano, leeks, carrots, celery. Local eggs, farmers market vegetables.
    Preserve something: Nope.
    Waste not: Took some things to Goodwill.
    Want not: I found a forgotten half gallon of dried nettles recently, in a cupboard, and am consequently well set for the year, with no harvesting …
    Build community systems: E-mail exchanges with person interested in joining our Slow Food group.
    Skill up: Not in the last week.
    Eat the food: Sorrel and potato omelet, eggplant parmesan (eggplant from freezer, tomato sauce from homecanned jar); spaghetti, kale pizza, tea cakes with fresh-ground flour; peach and marionberry cobbler (fruit from freezer) with freshly-ground flour, herb tea, banana muffins with freshly-ground (and regional btw) flour and local walnuts.

  11. Bee Girl says:

    I do hope you’ll share your braided rug once it’s completed…it’s on my list of projects to attempt :-) Hope you have a marvelous week!

  12. KC says:

    Here in Virginia, the peas are up. I still need to plant onions soon! With 80 degree days, I feel like I have missed my chance for spring planting and I want to plant early beans soon (but I am falling behind on bed preparation). I fertilized the garlic and it is looking good. The greenhouse gets hot during the day so I moved most of the flats outside. Time to get these seedlings in the ground, soon. We are trying to get the beds in shape to plant. We have a lot of chickweed – (makes a great cover crop over the winter – I just hope that it will return to the earth for spring planting – when I dig it under.) We bought some alfalfa hay to mulch with as soon as we get the chickweed dug under.

    My plan is to try to keep the beds mulched year round and pull back the mulch when it is time to plant. (Wish me luck…we have 20 beds).

    Plant something: peas, radish, transplanted lettuce, arugula, mizuna, spring greens, beneficial insect flowers. started inside: tomatoes, more peppers, herbs: marshmallow, chamomile, motherwort, sweet annie …, marigolds, zinnia, dill, other flowers and herbs, more lettuce, …. I planted peas in the beds where tomatoes will be going. If nothing else, it is an early cover crop and might grow some mulch for the tomatoes. if I am lucky, I will be able to harvest some too. I have tried this with peas and winter squash and it worked quite well … but I planted the peas on Valentines Day last year not St. Patrick’ Day!

    Harvest Something: lots of kale, dandelion greens , buds and roots, carrots (from last fall but still good), parsnip, daikon, beets, turnips, onions, leeks, celeriac, parsley and other greens (all from last fall as I am clearing out the beds to make way for new plantings). The first spring nettles are ready to harvest (maybe tomorrow).

    Preserve Something: Nothing, but I am thinking of cooking up the rest of the sweet potatoes into West African peanut stew and freezing a big batch, soon.

    Waste Not: working on eating up freezer food (tomatoes, okra, peppers, greens) and other storage food. making progress, but there is still a lot to use.

    Want Not: Ordered pau d’arco herb in bulk. A friend gave me a bag of yellow eye beans.

    Eat the Food: Lots of kale! Miso soup with dried veggies , local chicken, and sprouted mung beans. Pasta with tomato, okra, peppers… salads with lettuce, leek soups, kale. I’ve been eating millet and quinoa from dry storage – a fried rice type dish with cabbage, ginger, garlic and sprouted mung beans.

    Build Community Food Systems: Helped a friend harvest kale and creasy greens.

    Skill Up: …?

  13. Evey in WV says:

    The last week and a half have been very producrive is you don’t count housework.

    Plant: 5 fruit tree gifted from the neoghbors who are selling us two of their 45 acres- 2 peach,2 cherries,1 pear. Seeded 2 doz various tomatoes, some from saved seed also stevia for the first time.

    Harvest: 1 dozen eggs per day, top cuttings from oinion starts

    Perserve: pressure canned trial batch of dried beans, tried them tonight and they were better than expensive canned organic beans.

    Eat the food: cooked up 3 meals worth of just slightly off smell brown rice, working through the last of last falls apples

    Waste not: retrieved an unopened bag of rolls from the trash at work for the chickens.

    Want not: fruit trees for new property, water for the trees from excellent rain almost every day- otherwise we need to haul 5 gal. buckets from a pump down a long hill. Picked up 400lbs of rock powders for above trees and other up coming plantings while we were down in Asheville NC last weekend-not available areound here.

    Skill up: am about 1/4 done with a crocheted orgainc cotton baby blanket I looks good enough to actually give!

  14. Tara says:

    It’s looking more like late April here in north Texas – I do have to wonder what we’re in for.

    Planted: nothing new this week

    Harvested: eggs, scallions, peas

    Preserved: baking & freezing lots of bread for later

    Waste Not: found potatoes growing in the compost bin from old discards, so we figured we’d hill ‘em up and let them go – what the heck! Also donated a big bag of clothes to charity. Moved goats onto pasture – no more hay buying for awhile – yay!

    Want Not: nothing here this week

    Eat the food: eating all the eggs we can stand, also using up odd bits of things that have been hanging around awhile.

    Community Food Systems: nope. :(

    Skill up: beginning to learn to sew

    That’s it for this week!

  15. Claire says:

    Here in the St. Louis, MO area, my apple trees are blooming. That’s right – apple trees that don’t usually bloom till mid April. Most leaf buds have broken open and the leaves are beginning to expand. Our last frost isn’t generally until sometime in April, but the way things are going, we might not get another. Still, I’m keeping to my usual garden schedule. This is the Midwest, after all, and anything can happen.

    Plant: two different varieties of potatoes, a total of 200 square feet. I’ve also been pricking-out seedlings into larger quarters.

    Harvest: a couple of pounds of asparagus; shiitake mushrooms; and one bluegill from the pond in the nearby county park.

    Preserve: my DH cooked up some of the stored sunchokes and froze them, as we need to use them up before they sprout.

    Waste not: used corrugated cardboard and rotting wood from a former cold frame as mulch liner to kill some of the grass inside the newly-fenced portion of the vegetable garden. Re-used 100 feet of old fencing so we only had to buy 50 feet of new fence, and re-used posts so we didn’t have to buy any new posts. Re-using cell packs for the pricked-out seedlings (and the cell packs were trash-picked to begin with).

    Want not: purchased 50 pounds of organic flour from a mill in the upper Midwest. Finally purchased the latest version of Office that our computer’s OS will accept, to add a few years of usefulness to it (and got the software on sale at that). Piped up the rain barrel overflow to the rain garden, and buried the drainpipe this time so larger critters won’t be able to tear it up to get at the smaller critters that hide in it.

    Eat the food: asparagus; the remaining unplanted seed potatoes; sunchokes and radishes from storage; shiitake mushrooms; (tiny) fillets from the bluegill.

    Community food systems: doing my best to get the veggie garden planted and the whole yard looking as good as possible by May 20, when our yard is included on a local garden tour.

    Skill up: nothing specific this week.

  16. Sharon says:

    Evey, we don’t count housework ;-) !


  17. Lane says:

    Plant: Potatoes in tubs; a trial run of fava starts along with some sweet peas for aesthetics; the snap peas I planted in early February, before belated winter hit western Washington, are finally up. The lettuce I put in at the same time didn’t make it.

    Harvest: Spinach, to make room for the aforementioned potatoes; a few leeks, garlic greens and herbs for dinner.

    Preserve: kim chee with daikon and shredded beets I got in an editing for produce trade

    Waste not: My neighbor is giving me her chicken coop cleanouts, which I’m saving up along with coffee grounds for a hot bed, since I can’t seem to stop trying to grow tomatoes and eggplants here where they don’t really belong. Digging up a rampaging native groundcover from my garden to colonize bare spots at my parents’ place in the woods. Rain barrels are all full and ready for the days (hard to imagine right now) when the gardens need water.

    Want not: Looking after those neighbor chickens for a week in trade for eggs that will last me a month;

    Eat the food: I made soup for a crowd using mostly food gleaned from Food Bank sorting–they can’t distribute anything with breaks in the skin.

    Community food systems: continuing to volunteer at the Food Bank.

    Skill up: Nothing this week

  18. dfr says:

    “All that time out in the sunshine watching kids play (including my visiting niece) may not have been productive …”
    Nonsense – that produced *memories* for those kids. It may be something intangible and highly individualized, but that still means something. (says the woman who remembers visiting the grandparents’ farm at that age and playing with cousins by the creek and getting scratched up by the blackberry bushes while picking!)

  19. Noelle says:


    I’m curious, what do you do with your ground cherries? I planted them last year and got a great crop, but end up wasting way too many. Turns out I was the only one in the family who really liked them. I gave lots away, and made some jam, but still had rather a lot. This year I know I’m getting volunteers, and I’d like to do something else with them.


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