Add to My MSN

Crunch Time at the Homestead

5/15/2014 9:58:00 AM

Tags: Homestead, Garden, Planting, Seed Starting, Erin Sheehan

Erin SheehanThings around our homestead are kicking into high gear as we get ready for another growing season.The garden looks pretty bare now but won't for long.




Our seedlings have graduated from the grow lights to spending a few hours every day outside soaking up the sun and experiencing the wind. Seedlings are tender and have to “harden off” before we can stick them out in the garden. In a week or so they’ll be ready to face the outside world for good.



We have our cold-loving crops pretty much all planted: a few kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard, broccoli, kale, spinach, peas, and several herbs. The garden is slowly filling up. Jim’s tilled in the winter rye cover crop twice in the hopes that it won’t come back again.



peas3We planted onion sets at the community plot last week. We haven’t tried growing onions in the past, but onions are about the only vegetable we buy instead of grow, so we thought we’d better give them a try this year.

My “Sweet Meat” and “Neck” pumpkins finally sprouted. The seed packages say 10 to 14 days, and they took nearly that whole time. I started them in pots on warming mats, but they sit on our front porch, which has been quite chilly this spring due to the unusually cool weather. We had a warm spell last week and on day 12 all but one had popped out of the dirt! It was so exciting to see those tender shoots finally coming up. I grew Neck pumpkins last year with great success, but the Sweet Meats are freebie seeds I got from the community garden supply. These types of pumpkins take 110 to 120 days, a real stretch in our area. We hope to get them in the ground in the next week or 10 days.

I bought some marigolds and alyssum at a local church flower sale to use as companion plants in the garden. They help repel the bad insects and attract the good ones so we do try to squeeze them in. Grandpa always put marigolds in his garden, and my mom has always had them in hers. This is our first year trying alyssum, I read in a magazine that it’s good to have in the garden so we’ll give it a try.

With so much still to put in the ground, we have a whole lot of work ahead. It’s a busy time at our homestead. But it’s also the most hopeful time of the year as we see the potential of a great growing season. I hope your garden is starting up well this year, too!


Related Content

Signs of Spring

Early spring on Green's Organic Farm and Apiary.

Past, Present and Future Homesteader

Growing up with homesteaders, I never thought of myself as one until recently.

Stages of a Homesteader

The stages of a homesteader and how we go from obsessive interest to peaceful stability.

A Blarney Blog

When you are in pain and cannot do much, you can always recall memories of happy times.

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


5/28/2014 2:05:38 PM
Erin, it is indeed a busy time of the year. Planting is in full swing here in Nebraska as well. It really should be done by now but the Spring weather has delayed the planting times. The plants that were in the ground (cabbage, onions, lettuce, radishes) grew slow. Now that the temperatures have finally warmed up and stabilized, everything is exploding. The tomatoes are even starting to show some growth as apposed to just sitting there shivering. The two cherry tomatoes given to me by a neighbor actually have blooms. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that. I am just really not going to be able to plant as much as I would like this year but I did get all my sweet corn planted. A patch for the animals and a patch for me. Now the race is on to complete the fence around the patch that's for me. I should be able to complete the last 45 feet of fence before the corn ripens in August. I'm putting up a six foot high recycled wooden cedar fence around a 30X30 garden area and lining it with chicken wire on the inside of the fence. Good luck with your gardening year ***** Have a great crunch time at the homestead day.

Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!