The prevalence of blooms (and allergies) lets us know that spring has finally sprung! And I don’t know about you, but I am excited to get going on various projects around the homestead. So here’s a quick overview on a few things to get up and going.
If you’ve delayed planting your spring/summer garden don’t fear. There’s still plenty of time. If you don’t want to mess with seeds find a nursery and get a few plants. Luis Nursery has a nice selection of heirloom tomatoes and organic herbs, as well as everything else you might need to get your garden growing. If you’ve never planted a garden before start with tomatoes, squash and maybe a couple pepper plants. If you’re an experienced gardener plant what you and your family like to eat. If you end up with too much of something, can or freeze it. Or give it away. Growing your own fruits and veggies is also a great project for kids.
Bunnies, chicks and ducklings, oh my!
Speaking of kids. Now I know you parents can’t resist those adorable chicks, ducklings, or bunnies at the feed store, but don’t get your kids one, or five as an Easter present on a whim unless you’re committed to raising them for at least a few more Easters. These animals require special care, especially in the hot summer months. If you’d like to get into backyard farming, educate yourself and your kids on proper care, get the equipment and then pick up a few critters.
A nice pre-summer project would be creating a compost pile. I spotted some discounted composters at Home Depot this past weekend (reduced 50%), or you can make your own using wooden pallets. Composting is the simple art of balancing green waste and brown waste like shredded paper, leaves, paper grocery bags, this newspaper, etc. Nature then gradually breaks these materials down with the help of heat and moisture, into rich soil, also known as “black gold” to gardeners. Leave out meat, bones, dairy products, cooking oils and pooh (cat, dog, Aunt Martha’s, etc).
It won’t be long now till we start to warm up here in the Valley. But don’t despair, now is the time to get things ready for summer. From solar dehydrators to stoves, laundry lines to drip irrigation, now is the time to get ready for summer. We recently purchased a large umbrella clothes dryer to install outback and I am excited to dry loads of laundry outdoors all summer long. We’re also planning on building a cheap solar cooker using a Dollar Store reflective car shade so we don’t have to heat up the house using the oven. More details to come on that later.
Now this one is a given, but if you're having trouble getting started it might be time to start with Freecycle.org or Craigslist. If you don't want to have a garage sale then it's time to give stuff away. The simple life stems from decluttering your life and home from unnecessary items. Store what you need and less of what you simply want. It's less to clean and throw out later.
Grass Be Gone
We are still removing our large patch of green out front, but if you're planning on doing the same, now is time to do it. Recent rainfalls make it easier to dig up grasses like Bermuda and Crabgrass before the ground hardens from the heat. Replacing lawn with drought tolerant native plants can help lower your water usage and draw helpful beneficial insects to your garden as well.
Valley farmers' markets are now in full-swing. Visalia's is Thursday evenings in downtown. Exeter's is on Tuesday evening, also downtown. Lindsay's Friday night market takes place near Sweet Briar Plaza. If you're looking for fresh, seasonal produce for cheap this is the place. Even if you don't grow something yourself, you can still dry, can or freeze it. To find a farmer's market near you visit www.cafarmersmarkets.com or www.localharvest.org.