Just get out and do it.

Welcome to my blog, Garden for Your Life! This site will be mostly about my garden, but you can build one just like it in your back yard too. It can be bigger or smaller, just get out and do it. You can do it for fun. Your can do it for your health. You can do it for fresh food in these troubled times. The point is to get out and do it for whatever reason that you need.

Over time I will cover topics like canning and preserving your harvest, soil and beds, bugs, what to plant and when, and much more.

I've been working on this garden on mine and improving on it for over five years now. I will continue doing that for many more. You can too, just get out and do it.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

After the Storms!

Howdy y'all!

Its been a rough time here in the mini ranch/farm homestead.  At the end of May we got hit with a serious storm with over a week of rain. 11 inches hit here over the week.  The last two days were the worst.  My trees in the back couldn't take it anymore.  The Chinese Elm leaned over and lnaded on the chicken run and my house.  The mesquite tree, with two large trunks snapped and was blown to the side.  Both trunks ended up in the garden with one on top of one of my rabbit hutches.  Here's the after the storm pics.

DW,  my Son and his girl friend cut the elm down as I was stuck at the Urgent Care where I work.  The trunks on the mesquite was over 12" thick and over 20 high.  Time to call the tree people.  It took them three hours to cut them down and cart them away.  Next came the stump grinder with a beast of a grinder.  Less than an hour later I had two big piles of mulch and holes in the yard to work with.

In the mean time my bunnies no longer had shade.  Oh did I mention the fence?  A big part blew down a couple of days later.  First a few boards to prop it up. Then a few steel post to support it till the insurance comes through and I can get it replaced.

Oh yea, the rabbits.  The one that caught the tree lost its legs.  The rabbits survived just fine.  Once the tree came off all it really needed was four new legs.  Good for now and secure.  My new hutches are singles and all my doubles will be replaced as they wear out with singles.  Next came some shade from the Texas heat.  I kept them under that mesquite tree for three years now.  Just shade from the tree, electric fans, and ice bottles.

First I set some steel poles and ran wire rope to support the shade tarps.  They're now in 60% shade.
A recent tropical storm dropped an additional 6" of rain and they held up great.   Now for a tree or two.  I found some Dorsett Apple trees to replace the trees that I lost.  They are a tree that thrives in southeast Texas and may produce as many as two crops a year.  I finally got them in and staked for some support till the roots grow out.

I have a little room left so I picked up some Mexican Lime trees and planted them in pots so I can move them under the porch during the winter.  DW wanted a couple of ginger plants so I added a pot for them.

The garden took a big hit when the trees fell into it.  I couldn't get into most of it for a week.  Once the tree came off I could see the damage.  I lost about a third of my plants.  The beds survived with minimal damage.  I just need to replace the fence that kept the dawgs and chicken out of the garden.  I'll just replant a little earlier than usual and it'll be good.  Just have to decide what to plant for the Texas summer.  Lets see what the next few weeks brings out.

Poor Roxy is all worn out.  I agree with her!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The first harvesting has begun!

Howdy y'all,

The rains have let up for a while, 5", so out to the garden I went to check on things.  I quickly pulled in a quart of blackberries and bagged them up for a couple of friends.  We got the garlic out before this weeks rains and it's hanging up to dry.  Beans are going into that bed. The Dill weed has been harvested and dried in our new dehydrator from Cabela's.  Now we are picking the seed heads and drying the seeds.  More than enough for our pickling needs for sure.  All the rest is growing great.  Here's the pictures.

My potatoes are dying back and peeking through the top of the soil.  I harvested some and the new potatoes are the best! The Kale is still surviving although some are in bloom.  Gonna harvest some of those seeds for next year.  

We planted lavender in several places and it's doing great.

We are going to have a bumper crop of blackberries.  I see lots of jam and fruit leathers in my future. 

My tomatoes have exploded out of their cages.  After those fruits on the end get harvested i'll have to trim them back a bit.

There's going to be a lot of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes ready real soon.

My Squash beds and peppers are all green and in flower.  The dill bed is almost done, except for a few seed heads left to cut and dry.  Pickles and cucumbers will replace the dill

There is nothing prettier than tomatillo lanterns hanging.  I can't wait for some fresh Salsa Verde!

Stevia in the front and Lemon balm in the back

Sweet and hot peppers looking great.  The lady next door will be happy when I give her some of those hot peppers for pico!

The rabbits with the fronts open, enjoying the cool air

My newest addition to the farm, eight new American Chinchilla rabbits, born on mothers day.

Three of the girls plus one off to lay a fresh egg.

The last batch before I bag it up for a friend

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring has sprung!

Howdy Y'all

Spring, with spring showers, has indeed sprung in SE Texas.  It made some difficulty in getting the garden in, but the plants have loved it!  I use the Mel's mix from Square Foot Gardening as my base.  My rabbits provide the manure for fertilizer in the mix.  Between that and natural water from the sky, well just look at my potatoes.

I planted them the first week of march and on 12 march they were all up.  Its now the 24th of March.

Yellow Kennebec in the back half and Red Pontiac in the other half.

I grew Kale over the winter that I kept under a cold frame.  Mostly for my Rabbits for fresh greens. They just loved it.  I've had four litters so far.

Our Herbs are kept in pots and most were put in the blackberry bed and then wrapped in plastic for the winter.  The blackberries are blooming real well and I'm looking forward to a large crop.  Bird netting to keep the Mocking birds out is in the near future.

My garlic was planted last fall and over wintered without a cold frame.  It survived quite well and looks great.  White in the front and red in the back

I have six Roma tomatoes planted, yellow cages, and two slicing, and two cherry tomatoes in the back bed.  One red and one yellow pear.

I planted them last week and they've doubled in size already.  My peppers are large Bell peppers in the back bed and hot peppers in the from with two tomatillos too.

The chickweed grew wild in the bed so I left it.  My chickens and rabbits nibbled on it all winter as supplemental feed.  Just cut a bunch and throw it into their run and watch them come running!

These two back beds have corn planted in them.  Silver Queen in the front bed and Golden Bantum in the back.  A few are starting to peak out.

This bed is overwintered Dill that exploded after the cold frame came off and the weather warmed up.  In front is just planted seeds of summer squash.

This bed has red and yellow onions planted.  They got a little beaten down from the heavy rains, but they are recovering.  

My bees survived very well and I need to build a larger hive for them.  That's next for this week to get done.  With all the rain my water barrels are full and ready to help make my garden bloom!

Thats all for now.  Looking forward to a great year.  Its going to be 80 today, so out with the sun tea!
Take it easy,   Ken