Week one of the Self-Reliance Challenge is over. I am so pleased to have met the gardening goals that we set for the first week of the challenge. We planned a whole week of extending the vegetable gardens, adding new herbs, adding and maintaining the compost bins, planting millet and amaranth, and planning out our fall gardens. Now I can share with you our garden achievements for the week and fill you in on what we have planned for next week.
Self-Reliance Challenge: Garden Achievements
Week 1 Garden Achievements
Week one was pretty successful. We are proud of our many garden achievements this week. We may not have hit all of our goals that we set but overall I feel we did well. This week was a lot of fun and very successful.
In the vegetable and herb gardens
This week we started increasing the size of our gardens. We added 2 more rows of glass corn and another section of squash to the main vegetable garden. This should give us a harvest of enough squash and corn to can for our pantry. It should last us throughout the fall and winter.
I also added Lemon Basil and Cilantro to the herb garden. I harvested the first bunch of parsley and Basil this week. Both are currently drying in my kitchen. When dried, I will crumble them and add them to my new spice jars. The next harvest will be frozen in olive oil in ice cube trays for the freezer.
The compost bins
We started our compost bins from scratch this week also. We have a 3-bin compost system started. All 3 bins were filled with table scraps, grass cuttings, hay, leaves, coffee grounds and egg shells. We watered them down really good and turned them about every three days. It smells earthy as it should so I guess we are doing it right.
We have more pallets and this coming weekend we intend on starting another 3-bin system since we have so many gardening areas. We also started a leaf pile in the woods. There is no rush for them to decompose, but when they do it will provide more compost for next years gardens.
The fruit trees and berry bushes
We didn’t get to plant any new fruit trees this week. I shopped for them but found nothing locally that wasn’t treated already with a pesticide or a growing agent so we figured we will wait. I think I am going to order fruit trees from a trusted place that I know adds to artificial garbage to their stock.
In the meantime, we fertilized (organically) our existing Guava, our grapes, the rasberries and the Mango tree. We also fertilized the Tangerine and the Pink Grapefruit trees. Our wild blackberry bushes in the back are about ripe enough to start picking too. That means blackberry jam, syrup and homemade wine coming soon.
The Millet and Amaranth field
Due to the heavier than usual rain during the days my man was off from his normal job, I was not able to get the plot for the millet and amaranth rototilled. I did, however, choose a sunny spot. This weekend he will till the plot and planting will finally happen. The millet will be used for my chickens as well as being sold to a friend of mine who raises large birds. It is a win-win situation.
The amaranth is going to be used to make flour I am hoping. I never milled my own flour and I have always loved amaranth for making bread so here is my chance. Even if I don’t mill it, I can feed it to the chickens and pig which will cut down my feed expense.
My fall garden
We also planned out my entire fall schedule for planting. We graphed out what plots will house which crops. Our fall garden is going to be huge! It is also where I will make the most income and provide ourselves with a full pantry.
Our fall crops will include:
Other plans in the fall will include a barley and wheat field, as well as adding an aquaponic system. We intend on raising either tilapia or another freshwater fish, and maybe even shrimp.
Week 2: Plans and Goals
Week 2 is all about home skills for us. Our overall goal is to increase the number of products we make ourselves. This will eliminate trips to the store which saves gas and money. And saving money is a big deal for homesteaders.
Products to Make for Week 2:
The following products will be made by us for our household this week. These products will have no chemicals only organic ingredients and will replace any of the store-bought products we have currently.
By clicking the links in this post you can find the “how-tos” and ingredients used in the products above.
Products to Restock for Week 2:
As above, clicking on the links will take you to the post that guides you to make your own version of the products above.
Overall, this week was productive with our garden achievements and put us that much closer to becoming self-reliant. This week we hope to be just as successful with our plans and goals for week 2. We will continue to garden, harvest and grow our land in the hopes of being closer to our goals of being self-reliant.
Make sure you check out the other bloggers that are doing the Self-Reliance Challenge during May below as they all are striving for the same overall goals as we are here at 15 Acre Homestead. Until next week, Happy homesteading and good luck on your journey towards Self-Reliance.
Click to visit other bloggers taking the Self-Reliance Challenge
Nancy – Nancy On The Homefront
Kathi – Oak Hill Homestead
Robin – A Life in the Wild
Candy – Candy’s Farm House Pantry
Farmgal – Just Another Day on the Farm
Ashley – Practical Self Reliance
ShawnaLee – Homegrown Self Reliance
Frank – My Green Terra
Maria – Maria Zannini
Lisa Lynn – The Self Sufficient HomeAcre