Posted by: oceannah | May 21, 2012

Homestead Happenings and Hazards

Today is Monday the 21st of May and periodically I’ll blast out some photos of what’s new on our homestead.  Today there are some lovely new things “up” and a few minor hazards I’d like to point out also.

Happening:  More asparagus!  This is a great thing.  We’ve been on an asparagus eating frenzy here.

Hazard:  We have several sections of the homestead that have asparagus.  The main row is about 80 feet long in the main vegetable garden.  Most of the yield has been coming from the south end of that row.  We used some wood chips to mulch, (our never ending dance with weeds) and those plants do not seem to be bearing at all.  We have fingers and toes crossed that it’s just because they are still cooler and have yet to sprout up, but I’m beginning to be concerned we’ve managed to off a whole section of asparagus.

asparagus not to be seen in the section with chips 😦




So it seems as if a big area is not doing so well.  We’ll keep an eye out and hopefully it’s just a matter of the soil being cooler because of the mulch.



One very nice happening is the broccoli row.  These look like they are coming along very nicely.

As you can see, more weeding would be a nice thing…after being so bloody sick the past 10 days though I feel like we’re in pretty good shape.

The ‘reverse french’



Hazard:  Working in the garden is a tactile experience for me.  Gloves take away from that experience therefore, I pretty much never bother to wear them, although plenty of well meaning people insist on giving me gardening gloves as gifts.  This is what has affectionately come to be called “the reverse french manicure.”  Soil under the fingers, dirty hands and all.  It’s a great feeling and I simply wouldn’t have it any other way.




garlic is looking good

scallions ready to pluck






baby strawberries!

purple and savoy cabbages






Hazard:  Our chickens are truly free ranging.  When the barn door is opened in the morning, they go off wherever they please.  Unfortunately, they often please themselves to come up by the back porch and leave us a bit of a chickeny poop…blech.  Makes walking about barefoot an exercise in awareness!

really? right on the mat too

born free…







There’s a boatload of mowing that needs to be done, but we just had some rain and that nixed the days mowing.  Still need to plant some more things and working on organizing the fall crops as well.  It’s great to be feeling like myself again and not face down in the pillows with that dreaded cold.

What’s happening in your life these days, I’d love to hear the news.  I hope your week is off to a wonderful beginning.




  1. Love the reverse French Manicure, so true. 🙂

    • Hehehe… pretty funny right?

  2. Anna, you have SOO much space to grow things! What a blessing that must be. Though, I seem to have my hands full with pest management of a very small yard. As for asparagus, I’ve got five total plants started from seedlings in March. They told me just to let them grow this year and not to cut them. The spears are long and skinny. Could use some advice, as I’m a total beginner! Thanks!

    • Kaye, You say five from seedling? Not quite clear. Usually asparagus is planted from a root/rhizome. If yours were already green then I’m not sure about that method. However, once they are in the ground you need to NOT harvest any asparagus for the first year(.) period. This ensures the plant gets a good strong start. The spears that we eat if left alone will bloom out into gorgeous ferny greenness that will go all summer feeding the roots way down deep. Tempting as it may be, don’t harvest any this year. Next year only harvest the fattest spears. If/when the plant put on skinny (pencil or smaller) spears, that’s your cue to stop harvesting. Good Luck. Asparagus is a plant that demands a lot from us in the beginning ie: very deep fortified beds & willpower to not harvest…but the ROI is SO worth it! They can produce for 15 years! Compared with a tomato plant that’s pretty awesome I think

  3. Your garden is gorgeous. I’ll be waiting to hear if the stipuff under the mulch comes up! Yum, Yum on the asparagus! And, will you eat the scales from the garlic? As you know garlic stems are a favorite of mine 🙂

    • Sandi, I’ll keep you posted. YES totally on the scapes! The garlic usually starts to scape up around the end of June, but the weather this year has been very warm then back to cold so it’s a guessing game.

  4. lovely! it must be so nice to eat the food you have grown yourself! we are cracking on with ours the first week of june when we have a week off!!

    • Yeah Shannon…that’s only a few days away. It’s so much work in the beginning, I know. But think how tasty your food will be 🙂

  5. You know I never use gloves either I find them way to constrained. I like to feel the dirt in my fingers. The only time I have to use them though is if we get some mushroom compost and I’m mixing it in. I’m allergic to mushrooms so I need to not get that on my hands.

    • Oh yes… I still like to play in the dirt too! What a nice thing mushroom mulch is right…except that you need gloves, but small fee to pay 😉

      • Hi Anna, I’m a little late here (prob’ly ’cause I don’t think I’d even found you yet at this point last year; ) but, did you ever puzzle out the wood chip mulch problem? ‘Cause I might have an answer for you… Asparagus is a very heavy feeder and loves to be mulched (but with compost please: ). Although they’re great for moisture retention, wood chips tend to take up nitrogen when first applied to the garden and that might be what’s going on with your lack of spears. This stored nitrogen will eventually return to your soil (but not until the wood is in its final stages of decomp, sorry):
        And btw, LOL, please don’t ask me how many plants we killed before finally figuring this one out; )
        Your favourite café could probably help out here with loads of used coffee grounds – a wonderful win-win-win for all – less waste for them, free mulch for you and high nitrogen for your greens: )
        Congratulations on your first year! 😀

      • Yes, we did. the whole row is heavily mulched over w/ rotted manure but in a never ending endeavor to keep the weeds down we chipped the area w/ one y/o chips and it while we used it uniformly across the bed, only that one area was killed off…thinking that the chips might have been contaminated (in part) with roadside debris that were treated with [persistent] herbicides blech. It will be interesting to see if they bounce back this year in the absence of the chips. You’ve probably read this already, but here a Mother article

      • No, haven’t seen this one yet, thanks for the link!
        It would be nice if people would open their eyes to see what’s really there, right in front of them, if they’d only look. Trimming roadside trees, cutting back hedgerows, draining low spots in “cultivated” fields… Why do people feel the need to “control” (in quotes because no one will ever be able to control Nature, she will always find a way) instead of “working with” and encouraging in the natural way of things. By taking the path of least resistance, success is much more likely.

      • It is truly frightful, I agree. I don’t mind the trimming– folks need jobs, and visibility is good. WHY OH WHY do we even need such harmful herbicides?! it’s madness I tell you!

        By the way Deb, if you have not read Foodopoly by Wenonah Hauter yet it’s a MUST. While I consider myself pretty savvy regarding the corporate food culture/monopoly here in the US I am learning [devastating] things while reading this great muckraking book. I have to take a bit at a time lest I get too down spirited. I highly recommend the book.

      • Thanks Anna, and, if that’s the case, may I suggest a counter-balance?
        “The Geography of Hope: a tour of the world we need” by Chris Turner. ISBN 978-0-697-31465-3

      • you are the yin to my yang Deb, that’s great I can use the uplifting words…’specially at the end of winter.

      • Well y’know, there are just SO many gloom and doom stories that it’s just totally overwhelming and, to me at least, we need to grab onto these good ones and just run for it, right? “From a tiny acorn, the mighty oak doth grow”

      • true enough, although I do like to keep abreast of it, the news can be very hard to ‘live’ with.
        Wenonah Hauter is a skilled muckraker and I deeply appreciate her work.

      • Yes, right back to that yin and yang thing again… We NEED to know, but (how much is too much?) it’s a delicate balance, right?
        OMG, everytime I open this page and see that gorgeous bunch of asparagus, oh, it’s just KILLIN’ me, I tell ya!!; )
        “When I’m with you baby, I go out of my mind, oh I just can’t enough, I just can’t enough… ” (Depeche Mode, 1981)

      • Very much looking forward to reading “Wenonah’s” work: )

      • I’d love to hear your thoughts on it

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