Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Monday, April 30, 2012

And the Planting Begins!

One of our dreams is to live off the land while here, meaning eating naturally and organically from what the earth has to offer.  We have been harvesting everything available to us that we are aware of, dandelions, common plantain and morel mushrooms.  But we have yet to begin our garden.  Up at this elevation of the mountains, the locals have told us not to plant in the ground until May 10th.

Today was the day to begin, and it has particular significance to me.  My mom, Jeannine, passed away unexpectedly 25 years ago today.  She was only 51.  It continues to bring me great sadness, at times more than others.  Early this morning was particularly difficult for some reason, as I woke with a start remembering this day; odd to me the way that happens. Anyway, I went outside, everything was silent except for the creek of course, and the sky was filled with stars, glittering and bright.  I found great comfort in that.   This is a picture of a picture, so not the greatest quality, but I think you can see the joy of her spirit here.  I remember the moment this picture was taken like it was yesterday, it was taken while we spent a wonderful weekend together, one weekend before she passed.
So what better way to celebrate life than to begin something new.
Today, I celebrate the beginning of our garden in her honor.
Jeannine Carreau Landry
November 12, 1935 - April 30, 1987

A preliminary step to planting the garden is preparing what I call the "incubator".  This is the place you begin plants by seeds, first in the dark and then with a grow light, until they reach a certain height, then they can transplanted into the garden box or field.  Mountain Man created our incubator, simple but functional.  The light will raise and lower.  And it can be surrounded by plastic to keep things warm if it gets too cold in the cellar.  Clever creation by my Mountain Man, made with scraps of wood except for the grow light!

Today we sowed the seeds for our garden.  There are some vegetables, tomatoes for example, that are best begun indoors.  So using seed starting soil, we sowed our seeds.  Here are the steps we followed, like a recipe, only you have to wait a long time until you get to eat it!

First you fill your mini pots with seed starting soil; this includes peat moss to keep the soil loose to allow the roots to grow.

Saturate the soil with water, allowing the water to drip through holes in the bottom of the mini pots.  We use rain captured water in a very sophisticated rain barrel...a bucket.

Then mist the top of the mini pots with water.  You will notice that because the soil is so loose and airy, misting the tops will help saturate everything.

Now you are ready to plant your seeds.  Tamp down the soil with something flat, you see our tool to the right of this picture.  Then put a hole in the soil for each seed you will sow. 

These are my first seeds, organic spinach given to us by our family as we began our adventure.

Put the seeds in the holes...one per hole, or per the seed package directions.   We will plant things in rotations, meaning after these seeds grow and are transferred into the garden plot, we will begin new seeds.  This way, we space out the timing for things being ready to cultivate, and while I have every intention of canning, freezing, drying and everything else-ing I can do to extend the use of our crops, spacing your planting maximized your growing season. 

Aw, my first completed tray:)

This is the incubator, full of everything we planted today.  Now, we wait.  Nurture with water and light.  Speak sweetly to with love and appreciation.  Nurture with water and light.  Speak sweetly...you get the idea... 

It is very exciting to me that this piece of our adventure has begun.  Don't you like my labels?  We still have a lot of work to do, because we have not plowed our field and we still have a square foot garden box we need to build (we have one done).  But we are on our way, and I can't wait to see things begin to sprout!

Have you ever planted a garden in memory of someone you love?  Live is short, isn't it? 


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Yes life is short. I too lost my brother at the age of 51. For 6 years I could hardly wait to get past my 51st birthday. It was a very unexpected death. But we learn to go on, one foot at a time.
Good luck to you and hubby on that first garden in the woods! It is so rewarding to reap what you grow.

Tipper said...

Oh Lise I just can't imagine how you must miss her.

Lise said...

Thank you ladies. It is indeed one foot at a time!