The Yardstead - Farm Your Yard!

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We spent this weekend weeding and planting in our fall garden.  The squash I planted four weeks ago looks great and will produce some last minute zuchinnis and patty pan squashes for this year.  We were able to get a large portion of the garden weeded.   We weeded just enough to get a few sore muscles and find space for 2 rows of cabbage and 2 rows of broccoli.  In 2 weeks we will plant both cabbage and broccoli again to stagger our harvest.  I was also able to get 1 lb of garlic planted.  I think I need to purchase another 1 lb and get it in the garden in a couple weeks.  I will let you in on a secret.  We purchased the garlic at the grocery store this year.  It can be very expensive to buy garlic out of the seed catalogs.  It is not near as expensive in the grocery store.  So next year when we harvest, I will let you know how that turns out.  We are taking a weekend break at the yardstead.  The plan is to camp at the beach for a few days.  Maybe by the time we get back in the garden their will be late summer squashes to stir-fry...yummy!

Onion planted in the FallHere at the yardstead we are planting our fall garden.  Many people believe that after the summer vegetables have gone that they must wait until next year to plan their next garden.  Yet there are many cold hardy vegetables we can plant now to carry us through to the next spring season.  In some cases this requires heavy mulching or using a row cover but in most cases it requires no special protection at all.

In the panhandle of Florida and in much of the south east it is time to plant broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, kale and kohlrabi.  These vegetables need to be planted 3 months before the first frost to ensure good production.  Carrots, turnips and beets can be planted from now until approximately 8 weeks before the first frost.  In September, begin planting spinach which will germinate well for a fall harvest and up to the first frost for an excellent early spring harvest. Shallots, garlic, and onions can also be planted now for the spring and early summer harvest next year.

It has been a very sad half of the week here at the yardstead.  Last weekend we harvested the apple and speckled swan gourds.  Jason was able to prepare the garden for a late summer crop of squash and some fall vegetables we need to plant.  All of this was accomplished before Tuesday.  On Tuesday evening or Wednesday early morning a stray dog killed our four ducks and the goose.  They had been enjoying an opportunity to free-range for a day and were not in their pen.  This tragedy has led to a very sad and quiet rest of the week.

Dervaes Urban HomesteadA while back someone was nice enough to post a you-tube video to our forum on a movie (documentary) about the Dervaes family.  It is titled Home Grown Revolution.  If you have not heard of the Dervaes family, I suggest you check out their website at They live on a 1/4 acre in Pasadena, CA.  This land is very near the freeway and in an urban environment.  They have turned a dream into a way of life and a business that supports a family of four.  It's inspiring and amazing the amount of food they can grow on such a little plot in the city.

I have always thought that Jason and I were doing quite a bit on our 1/2 acre little yardstead...but we are no where near the production capacity of the Dervaes family.  At the yardstead we plan to take on the challenge that the Dervaes family has started.  We will quit waiting for more land and start producing as much as possible on our current land.  And who this time next year, maybe we won't be mowing grass anymore.

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