Garden Dreams


This red sunflower with its entourage is to remind us of summer. Summer is not all that far away in either direction but on days like this it bears thinking of. The cold makes it seem distant but the days pass quickly. Time to be planning gardens and dreaming of sun warmed soil.

We’ve been building large 666 WWM wire tunnels which we’ll soon cover with plastic. I spread ash in them yesterday raise the solar absorption rate to melt the snow faster once we cover the greenhouse tunnels. With this fresh layer of snow I’ll need to spread more ash. That is not a bad thing as it will sweeten the soil, raising the pH and making it more hospitable to most veggies. In a couple of months the ground inside will be warmed and sprouting any weeds. Then I’ll let the young chickens in to weed it for a few weeks before I start very early season planting.

We’ve been trying to grow watermelons each year – a big desire of Ben’s. So far our biggest has been just 4″ across. But it was thin skinned and deliciously sweet. Perhaps with the extended season of the greenhouse tunnels and their added warmth the watermelons will do better.

To dream, perchance to garden…

21째F/-5째F, 6″ Snow, Extreme Winds

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to Garden Dreams

  1. Urban Agrarian says:

    Watermelons, yum. What variety will you try this year?

  2. pablo says:

    It was 60 degrees (F) in the Ozark forest yesterday. Felt like summer was almost here.

  3. Nice idea for the “Chicken Weeders” as a labor-sharing device. I think we’ll be using that thought here at home this spring as well.

  4. frankie says:

    I came across your blog thru a comment you made on ‘Quinta das Abelhas’… you have adds about France… what’s the connection?

  5. frankie says:

    Hi, I came across your blog from a comment you made on ‘Quinta das Abelhas’… Your page has google french ads on the side and I was wondering… I guess google adsense spots that my computer is in France and therefore sends french ads… Scary, I reckon. Anyway, nice sunflower you’ve got!

  6. HomemakerAng says:

    hello, it seems I lurk but always have questions :) I am looking for a book I remember seeing around 8-10 years ago called something like “farming on 5 acres” or making a profitable farm on 4-5 acres or something like that, basically it is how to get the most out of your acreage you have (under 10 acres)…. do you happen to know what I mean or have you heard of that?? thanks for any information!
    homemakerang

  7. Urban, Sugar Baby is one we’ve been trying for years. I may also try a big kind. Any suggestions?

    Pablo, you jest… right?!?

    Frankie, Google uses your IP address to map where you are coming from and then delivers the content for your location. I take it the ads aren’t just French but are written in French as well…?

    Homemakerang, I think you might be remembering Five Acres and Independence by Kains. Is that it? I have a copy. Good read. Personally I would suggest more than five acres in part because I like growing my own heating and cooking fuel (wood).

  8. Sarah says:

    Hi Walter, another question for you…do you grow food for your family and livestock only or do you also raise vegetables to sell? Just wondering if it was self-sufficient gardening or something more.

    P.S. There is another good book by a farmer from Maine (Eliot Coleman) called The New Organic Grower. He focuses on organic farming/gardening techniques that can be used by a couple or family to raise their own food as well as raise vegetables and herbs for local markets. He discusses topics such as marketing, using tools to fit small scale production, and efficient use of small (5 acres or less) plots for efficient renewable yield.

  9. HomemakerAng says:

    I believe that is it, thank you! Yes, more than 5 acres is always better. we heat with wood also 100% of the time and we have been so blessed to have wood all the time to cut here and there. we also own 50 acres in a different spot! Thanks for the title!

  10. Sarah, we raise crops for ourselves and for our animals but we don’t sell any veggies at this time. Currently our soil is not good for raising much in the way of crops for sale. Our soil is very poor mountain soil. Each year with the help of the animals we create a new large garden as well as improving the fields. The pigs do the tilling, all the animals do fertilizing and the chickens and ducks do weeding duty. This turns our poor, thin (1/8″), acidic (4.5 pH) mountain soil in to a weed free thick rich dark organic loam over the course of a few years.

    On the other hand we do have spectacular wild blueberries, blackberries, black raspberries and red raspberries. We also get some wild strawberries.

  11. patina says:

    sunflowers and watermelons, the long warm days of summer. in the middle of winter with chowders, stews and hot tea by the fire i think about the planting season ahead. in the middle of the planting season i visualize cozy comfort by the hearth. both a great pleasure, experiencing and dreaming!

  12. Angela says:

    How do you make those greenhouse tunnels you mentioned.

  13. The greenhouse tunnels are very simple. Just take a flat sheet of 666, 661010, or 44 welded wire mesh (WWM) like cattle panel or such and then bend it in an arc with two of the short edges anchored to the ground. This creates a wicket, an arc. Cover that with plastic and it is a greenhouse tunnel. Cheap construction plastic lasts about a year. Better plastics last longer.

    This post shows a much more complicated version for animal housing but is very similar to the greenhouse and could be used for that.

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