Update: What is going on over here?

It has been just over two and a half years since we made the leap from city to country, moving from our urban life with homesteading hopes, to the rural spread where we can fulfill our dreams. The first thing we did, was have a baby, and since then we have been trying to "homestead" and grow our own food. Here is a quick summary of a few of the homesteading-esque types things we are doing...

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Ode to the Broad Bean

The magic of the broad bean is something new to me. I had first learned about broad beans a couple of years ago, while living in Grande Prairie and obsessively watching gardening shows, when I stumbled upon a BBC show called The Edible Garden, with Alys Fowler (that you can/should watch here.) In the episode, she grows some broad beans and makes some yummy falafels with them. Neat. So when I was browsing my seed catalog for my first garden here at Ferngully, I obviously had to order some.

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Growing Our Food - Part 3 - Hope for the Hopeless

We continue to toil away in the garden hoping to grow our as much food as we can to fill our plates and our cupboards. It was only a few weeks ago when I seriously thought all was lost in my poor city garden, as it genuinely looked like nothing would grow, then July came around and the garden started filling out as quickly as my pregnant belly. I mean it was only in June when the garden looked like it would be an absolute fail due to my poor soil quality and late starts on my seedlings, but somehow the gardening gods were smiling down on me and now the garden appears to be thriving. Sure, it isn't perfect, but we might just get a few dinners out of it and that is better than what I thought only a short while ago.

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How Plans Can Change

Try as I might to plan everything that will grow in my garden this summer, plans can change.

My winter plans were filled with sheer optimism. I had read books about gardening all winter, I ordered my seeds in February so I could start my seedlings in March, and I had my list ready for all the soil amendments I needed to add to the front garden beds so that I could have the biggest bounty of garden goodies this year. I was so excited to put these plans in to action and watch my garden grow. Now, I was prepared for some things to go wrong, and I knew I might have to reseed a few things, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for a small bump (literally) in plans at the beginning of the gardening season. And that sounds a bit misleading, so I better hurry up and get the point.

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Growing Our Food - Part 2: Spring is Nigh

On our afternoon walk today, I noticed something strange, something you usually don't see this time if year in our Northern part of the country... grass. Yes, it was grass! I know my friends on the Eastern part of the country will be cursing me with their arctic temperatures and never-ending snowfall, but over here things are heating up. There was actually a warm-ish wind. I wasn't even wearing mittens. And suddenly it dawned on me, that Spring is right around the corner.

Now, any local would tell me I am nuts and the minus thirties will be back before I know it, but I think Spring is only a few weeks away. And that means it is time to get a few things started for the ol' summer garden. Last year, I was frantically trying to locate a few items for free (of course) off of Kijiji at the last minute, and this year I will not be caught off guard. Seeds have been ordered, so I can cross that off the list, but there is still a lot more to do.

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Growing Our Food - Part 1

The most essential part of our sustainable living strategy in our homesteading dream is to grow our own food, which, to me, means learning to garden. Now I am not saying that Cam and I can't garden, but I will say that we are still learning, with the emphasis falling on me. And if you saw our garden last year, you would agree with me; there were cramped tomatoes, peas falling over, and squash vines climbing up the beans. Oy, and you should have seen the year before with weeds taking over the garden come August. So this series of posts will not be intended to be instructional by any means (that would be unwise frankly), they are more to show how we are learning and getting ready for our big dream of self sufficiency in Vavenby. Our goal is to grow as much food as we can in our garden in Northern Alberta, and do our best to preserve the bounty from it so we can enjoy it all year.

It is just about March, and the true sign of Spring appeared on my doorstep a few days ago. It was The West Coast Seeds catalogue (yes, I know I do not live on the west coast, but they offer organic seed varieties, and it is "local" or as local as I can find.) So with the first signs of Spring, it is time to start planning this year's garden and that is what I will share with you today. The Garden Plan...

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