Us with our Tiny House hitched up to our drivers truck! Goodbye Chicago!
We had a heck of time trying to figure out how to get our house level!
Our house at it’s new parking spot!
New year, new state! We left Chicago on 2.26.16 with all our belongings, the kitties, and our house in tow. Our hearts were full & ready for our new home state: NORTH CAROLINA. We arrived at our new parking spot bright-eyed & ready for this new adventure. We had found a good place to park our house with nice hosts that we met through craigslist. We had really lucked out with finding the perfect people! They own 10 acres of land, have a micro-animal sanctuary & offer lots of vegan-friendly events through their event center! It’s such a blessing to live with & create community with like-minded folks! They agreed to let us put in a garden next to our house! We took a few days to get our house situated, and all of our systems working properly.. Then it was time to get to the gardening!
Keeping a garden journal is essential.
Tony kitty enjoying a nice stroll near the garden.
Lasagna Garden Beds: On 3.3.16 we prepped our four garden beds using the “lasagna gardening” technique. This technique was low-labor & easy to do: We covered the grass with cardboard, then layered straw, leaves, compost, food scraps & manure. We topped the beds with top-soil, I got one pickup truck bed of soil & also added 2 cu ft of higher quality bagged soil to each bed. We added a bamboo trellis to bed #1.
3.3.16 Creating the “lasagna layers”.
3.3.16 Adding the materials.
3.3.16 Richard showing off some of the topsoil we used for the beds.
3.3.16 Richard wrapping twine around our bamboo pole trellis.
3.3.16 Trellis complete!
3.3.16 Voila, just like that we had a garden!
Our Seedlings: We started our seedlings on 3.6.16!
3.6.16 Started our seeds!
3.15.16 Germination is happening!
3.17.16 Little babies growing up!
3.11.16 Babies popping up to say hello!
3.12.16 6 days after planting!
3.17.16 11 days after planting!
3.17.16 Baby tomatoes 11 days after planting.
3.21.16 Greens are a-growin’!
3.24.16 Baby kales!
3.31.16 20 days old tomatoes!
3.31.16 Happy happy lettuces!
3.31.16 Zucchini? Looking happy!
Early Mistakes (a.k.a. valuable learning lessons!) : When we first arrived in March is was SO WARM.. Compared to Chicago… Which lead to be a little presumptuous & think that it was OKAY to start transplanting plants out.. I was very, very wrong.. Many plants died. I killed ALL of my tomatoes =( I also ran into another learning experience: the manure we had added to the beds was pretty fresh, and therefore all of the plants we put into the beds got nitrogen-burned & died =( Our beds took a few months until they were ready to be planted in.
3.21.16 Frost-killed beans!
4.6.16 Nitrogen burned radishes!
Cover Crop: This was my first time planting a cover-crop. I scattered some clover & radish seeds over the bed & raked them in. The radishes perished due the the manure within a month (see above image), but the clover grew happily. I learned that baby grasshoppers love young clover, and many of them lived out their youth in my clover patch. It was fun to watch them grow up, and see them chomping on the clover!
3.14.16 Clover beginning to germinate!
6.4.16 Pretty good clover growth!
6.6.16 Baby grasshopper feasting on the young clover!
6.23.16 Cut the clover, here’s a shot of the roots of one plant.
Figs: We bought our first fruit tree at a plant sale, an Ischia Fig tree, we named the tree Chia & potted it up in a bigger pot. We got two figs off of Chia! I also experimented with rooting fig cuttings & had success, though all the cuttings did die…
4.14.16 Brought my first fig tree home! Named the tree Chia – it’s an Ischia Fig Tree.
4.17.16 Repotted Chia in a much larger pot!
5.31.16 Chia is making their first fig!!!
6.1.16 Chia’s new growth looking super healthy!
5.30.16 Took some cuttings off a local fig tree.
6.19.16 A few weeks later they had produced roots.
6.25.16 Planted the rooted fig cuttings in containers – they did okay for awhile before I killed them!
10.27.16 Our first homegrown fig!
10.27.16 We got two figs off of Chia this year!
Shiitake Logs: I had a great opportunity to go check out a local farm, and help the farmer inoculate Shiitake logs! For each hour I volunteered I got to take a log home with me! The spawn we were working with was Night Velvet Shiitake!
4.9.16 Inoculating mushrooms!
4.9.16 The shiitake logs I got to take home
4.9.16 Tools of the trade!
4.9.16 The mushroom spawn we were working with!
4.9.16 The shiitake logs at the farm!
Sprouting/Microgreens: I love growing sprouts & microgreens forever, especially when there isn’t much growing in the garden beds!
4.4.16 Radish sprouts roots are my fav!
3.22.16 My sprouting tray full of seeds!
6.4.16 Just a couple of jars of beautiful sprouts!
4.2.16 I had fun making this picture! All of these sprouts ARE super easy to grow!
4.8.16 Lots of sprouts ready for eating!
4.8.16 Decided I wanted to try a different growing container for microgreens!
5.31.16 Invested in a salad spinner to make the cleaning process a *little* less time consuming!
4.17.16 Beautiful Pea Shoots didn’t mind growing in a woven basket at all!
Flowers: While I didn’t plant any flowers, I tend to always let some of my plants go to seed to provide pollen to the sweet critters that visit my garden!
6.9.16 This is the year I became obsessed with eating radish flowers!
6.1.16 The only green onion who flowered!
6.14.17 Seriously can’t get over these tasty beauties!
10.18.17 I transplanted lots of wild purslane into my garden, this one popped up on its own!
7.22.16 I see a bee butt! This lady is enjoying a zucchini flower!
5.10.17 Some of the first pea flowers of the year!
8.17.16 This basil became a bush QUICK.
7.25.16 Saving my own radish seeds!
6.21.16 A gorgeous lettuce going to seed!
Purslane: While working my job as a landscaper, I found some wild purslane growing.. I brought the plants home & transplanted them in my garden. My love for purslane grew throughout the season.. Thus “Purslane Gardens” was officially born!
Our garden growing throughout the year:
Another big purslane plant!
Instead of the typical yellow flowers, this purslane plant had orange flowers!
Big purslane plant!
Baby purslane plants just transplanted into my garden.
Our summer garden wasn’t very impressive.. Not enough time & the beds weren’t very developed yet. By the time fall came, a lot of plants had self seeded themselves. I had also quit my landscaping gig, and had more energy to be out in my garden. As of 11.2.16 we were still frost free & our peppers, tomatoes, & basil were still growing. Our fall garden was quite productive & we had various greens grow uncovered all winter long. Our best winter crops were lettuce (3 different varieties, but we loved sweet valentine romaine the most), bok choy, & turnips.
Speckled Peas growing away!
Our first banana pepper!
Deer Tongue Lettuce.
Lettuce & a tomato plant.
First zucchini of the year.
Carrots doing their thing.
Chocolate mint that a friend gave me.
Bok Choy transplants.
Beautiful Bok Choy!
Fall garden full of greens.
My favorite lettuce variety, sweet valentine romaine.
Fall greens, mostly self seeded.
First lambs quarter plant to make an appearance.
Purple top turnips.
*SOME* of our Bounty! We of course harvested more than this, but here are some of the highlights of the year!
Yet even more speckled peas!
Our first beet of the year!
Speckled peas getting steamed up for dinner!
Our first *quite pitiful* carrot of the year.
Proud lettuce mama!
Lettuce, green onions, and a radish!
Beet, purslane, banana pepper, basil & tomatoes.
Tomatoes & lots of purslane seeds!
Carrots, radish, & green onions!
Bok Choy, green onions & brassica greens.
Our sweet kitties smelling the green onions through the screen.
Collards & kale!
Banana pepper bounty!
Beautiful homegrown lettuce!
Various fall greens!
Green onions, bok choy, carrot & turnips for a jar of homemade sauerkraut.
Turnips & lettuce.
2016 was my most productive gardening year to date! I finally got some experience creating garden beds on the earth, and had some decent success. I learned a lot about weeds, North Carolina weather, and the other new challenges I will continue to face as a gardener. The longer I garden, the easier (sort of) it gets.. Experiences turn into knowledge & familiarity with the rhythms of gardening. It’s my favorite thing I do in my life, and I hope this glimpse at my year of gardening has inspired you to get out there & grow something!