Growth is a double edged sword. Unchecked, growth can be cancerous and destructive. It is this type of ceaseless expansion that has put our society into the precarious environmental and financial positions in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, growth can be regenerative and life-giving. Following a forest fire or a bitter winter, the first green shoots to emerge from the earth bear witness to the earth's ability to restore life in the wake of disaster.

My goal for this blog is pretty simple and open-ended: I want to document and share with family and friends my efforts to incorporate an ever increasing degree of self sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, and environmentally-conscious design into my life as a would be urban homesteader.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Beginnings

The best part about Spring is that you get to see all of the new things sprouting, budding, and taking shape after the frozen lull of Winter. Here are a few things coming up around the 'burbstead.

1. The peppers are up. Pepper plants can be incredibly pokey when it comes to sprouting, but they're finally here. Once they get big enough, I'm going to put them in a raised bed along the south-facing wall of our house with a tunnel over them. I'm hoping that the southern exposure and coverage (along with some solar gain from the brick wall) will let me get them in the ground by the beginning of May. The varieties of sweet pepper that I'm growing this year include: King of the North and Wisconsin Lakes (red bell peppers), Orange bell pepper, Veri's Sweet Italian, and Tolle's Sweet Italian. The hot peppers (my favorites) are: Orange Habanero, Tobago Seasoning pepper, Ancho, Black Hungarian, Jalapeno, and Paprika.

2. The first official harvest out of the garden. Tater was excited this past Sunday to discover some Cherry Belle radishes that were big enough to pick. They were some of the ones that we had planted under a low tunnel this past February. That's over 3 weeks sooner than last year! I didn't realize how much earlier that was then last year until I checked my 2010 garden journal. The lettuce and peas that were under cover are also way ahead of last year's crops. A handful of radishes is not something to get too excited about, but it's pretty cool to see what just a little bit of season extension can do. That brings us to...

3. I've finally gotten started on my trampoline frame hoop house. The final dimensions are going to be 14'x15', which is about 5' shorter than originally planned, but it will fit into the garden better this way. It will be about 7' tall in the center, and will have a 3' bed on each side and a 4' bed running down the center. I need to get the conduit or lumber (whichever I can scrounge up) for the runners and ridge pole. I won't put plastic over it until fall, but I'm going to get some stuff in the ground here soon, and I might try putting the low tunnel inside it to get a jump start on some of the Silver Fir Tree tomatoes. Long range, I'd like to be able to overwinter the chickens in there, along with growing food. In any case, it's nice to be making headway on on of my goals from New Years.

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