We fed ourselves out of our own garden within 8 months of moving here; however the last year has not been a very successful gardening endeavour. The hot summer and brutal winter full of black frost killed most of our garden. The first year we had so much produce we had to give it away. This last year, we’ve had basically nothing because of the weather (and the workload).
So what went wrong?
First of all, if you take a helicopter view of our journey, we have only been here a little over 2 years. We bought vacant land and developed it from scratch. We got a roof over our heads, are 100% offgrid and have a garden. It’s a lot. But instead of admiring our own journey, we compare ourselves to other homesteaders who seem to just do so much more in this space. That is a fatal mistake and we need to stop doing that!
Secondly, we compare ourselves to the inorganic, technology driven, instant gratification world we came from. Nature does not work like that. Nature is slow, seasonal and plays the long game. Nature is not interested in our quick fixes and schedules. It doesn’t need us, we need it. We need to learn her nuances and wishes. We haven’t figured out her full cycles yet, because we haven’t been here long enough. We have had to adapt at every season so far and share space with porcupines, bunnies and blister beetles.
We are moving into our third growing season this month and have new plans for raised beds, a greenhouse / tunnel, and a chicken coop. We are determined to work with nature and not against her, but this takes time. It takes daily observation over many years. I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit.
In the meantime, we have started removing all the dead plants and prepping the beds for new planting. The kitchen garden is a hot mess! Cleanup is in full swing. We shall replant!
If you are considering moving to a farm, or just arrived on one :
- Take the pressure off yourself. Building a new way to thrive takes time.
- Be inspired by others, but don’t feel pressured to keep up with them. You don’t know what they had to sacrifice to be where they are, nor what resources they have available to them.
- Focus on your own journey and celebrate every achievement you have.
- Grow the stuff you like to eat.
- Learn to plant with seeds as well as seedlings. Watching seeds grow into something you can eat is just the most amazing journey.
- Aim to get just one thing on your plate every day that you grew – even if it’s a herb. It still counts.