Weekly(ish) Update – End of July/Start of August 2017

Last I wrote about our DIY homesteading projects, we were cleaning up quite the mess that was left behind by the previous lands tenants.

Since then, we’ve dragged (most of) that junk to the dump, burned a bunch of crap wood, cleared up to our line (almost) and spent most of our free time working in the garden.

We have lots of baby peas, zucchinis and green tomatoes. Our beans, onions, and garlic seem to be coming in well-the cucumbers and squash seem a little stunted, but they’ll get there. Our dill, carrots, beets, corn and melons pretty much couldn’t handle the low quality of dirt and are really struggling.

We’ve adopted a new strategy in working our very no good, dead sand, bleh growing area.

We are no longer going to hire in tractors for big tills (our craftsman will be used sparingly), or weed(Wahoo!), or burn(as often- hey, we like fire too much to stop completely) or any of that. We’re going to let the earth do its thing, and basically treat around the plants like a lawn. Also we’re going to plant cover crops like peas, clover and barley next year to help strengthen the existing soil. And we’re going to start thinking about boxes for certain crops, like beets, that need  a lot of attention right way for a good harvest.

Exciting news! This weekend we did a water test on our ponds and it came back negative on all metals, nitrates, pesticides,  and at a 6.5 PH level.

Really awful news! We tested positive for E-Coli. Now we’re buying a bacterial count test, with arsenic test kit as a bonus, so we can assess the situation and figure out how to fix it. We are also looking into the cost of drilling a well, because being on town water is super expensive and our water quality at the end of the line on our street, is not the greatest.

We’re going to test the pond up above our two, to see if that is contaminated as well. The towns old landfill (which is still the dump, but is managed differently)  is up the road and we’re afraid it could be run off from there.

So now, we are working on getting our rain barrel setup going. Even tho we’ve had basically no rain for weeks- well until the first week of August when we had two decent storms within days of eachother. That was excellent, but of course, we weren’t finished with our barrel setup and we only got what we got. img_1389-1

Finally, we started building an addition to our shed, and got as far as the floor frame before we realized we should probably get a building permit before going any further.

Honestly, there is a lot of other stuff going on. We are super busy this time of year, but I’ve been trying to keep this thing going regardless. Sorry if everything seems a bit choppier then usual, it’s just how it has to be for the next few months until the slow season starts…. Which is a misnomer, because in the winter we’re busy with the fuel business. But it works out.

So until next time, have a wicked good day!


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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