I started the potatoes in the 18 gallon party buckets. I went with a red potato and I’m going to try growing a blue potato rather than the Yukon potato, I originally planned. I used a 1/1 mix of soil and compost to start the taters and made up a tall garbage can of the soil mix to add to the buckets as the taters grow this summer. I figure I planted about pound of each of “dried” seed potatoes in four of the 18 gallon buckets. I’m not looking too store the potatoes long term but it would be nice to have small potatoes in the fall, for making stews and soups to freeze/can for hearty winter meals.
Yesterday April the 8th I got all of the warm plant seeds started in the Jiffy starter kit. So I’m only about a week late on my “starts” original date. There are a lot of seeds I want to get in the raised bed with the protective frost cloth but it has been raining so much this week that the planting is a little late being early. Other than all the rain, the temps are staying temperate both day and night. We have a bit of gusting wind coming through on the 10th of April but so far my frost cloth is staying place and shows no sign of stress or tearing. If it is dry on the 10th I’ll start some of those “Cole” and cool weather crops. I got a few strawberry plants to replace the bed that got over run with weeds. My fault, as I did not give that bed the attention it needed. I know strawberries can and will grow in that bed so I’ll clean out all the bad stuff and add good soil along with new strawberry plants.
Tucker did his part and got about 1/3 of the last raised bed digging up of the base soil from last year. This bed will be for the hot loving plants so I have not added new soil since I want to add another 2×4 for height along with a trellis for climbing plants. I’m not sure if it will last but Tucker does not dig in the taller beds as much and with the frost cloth over the bed he just is not interested in digging in that beds this spring. Right now all of the ground in the backyard is good for digging so he is happy digging in the easy/muddy spots in the backyard. I may not have to build a garden fence this year if the frost cloth keeps Tucker out of the raised beds.
I called in the order of two cords of Douglas fir to be delivered around mid May. I’m have about 1/4 of a cord of Doug fir left over from last season so I’ll be turning that wood into kindling. I have a bit of work to do getting all the wood racks ready for the wood delivery. About July I will get a delivery of two cords of poplar. I’m not sure why many people don’t like poplar to burn. I understand it is not a long burning hardwood but when it is dry it makes a fast, hot fire that does not leave a lot of ash like elm or locust. Now I havn’t tried to split the poplar for kindling. Doug fir is easy to split into kindling so that is not an issue for me. Another plus for me is poplar is a lot cheaper per cord than Doug fir.
I’d like to buy another 2 cords of doug fir in early fall to start building a stockpile of wood but we will have to see how much money I can come up with in the fall and if the wood will be available to buy. Around August I’ll get the stove cleaned and hopefully by September both Mom and I will be set for an “average” winter firewood season.
The Climate is always changing and there is talk we maybe facing a “Solar Minimum” or a cooling of the earth because the sun is putting out a little less heat to the earth. I keep expecting -20 degree F. winter temps but weather is such a complex system these cool/snowy winters could be the new normal. I can’t control the weather but I can take steps to mitigate/adapt to even small climate changes and minimize the impact on myself.
I don’t mind warmer winters and I have the tools to deal with additional snowfall. If the growing season gets shorter I have several items in place to help mitigate late/early frosts and I’m building a greenhouse this fall to help supply veggies mostly year round. If winters get colder I have added insulation, new windows along with the wood stove and fire wood so I can stay warm.
This whole prepping/self reliance is always a work in progress. Quite often “my reach exceeds my grasp” but I’m always building on my basics and then a bit more. I have learned from others to build my soil, rotate crops, how and when to prune or when to start plants both indoors and out.
Last but not least both Home depot and Lowes has wood mulch on sale till the 16th/17th of April. I prefer the Scott’s earth grow mulch but if you like the Lowes brand buy up now while it is on sale for $2.00 a bag. I don’t care for the Vigaro mulch as it full of large chunks and does not spread well or cover as much area as the earth gro mulch.