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Homesteading Family Garden Tour

by | Jul 31, 2021 | Cottage Garden, Grow, Vegetable Gardening

Come take a tour of Riverbend and see our various gardens, check out the new crops we’re growing this year, and how we’re utilizing more space to maximize our production for a record harvest year.

An aereal view of a homestead property with multiple outbuildings and gardens.

Whether you’re an avid gardener who’s been growing crops for years, or you’re just getting started with your very first garden, it’s our desire to help inspire, encourage and guide you on your homestead journey to becoming more self-reliant.

From learning how to build your own compost pile to planting carrots from seed, then harvesting your crops and maybe making some homemade pickles! We want to teach you to grow, harvest, and preserve your own food with your own two hands, in the comfort of your own home.

Over the past three years, we’ve made a lot of infrastructure changes here on Riverbend, and we thought it was time to share all our garden spaces and how we utilize each one for maximum growth and production here.

Greens growing in a bed in a greenhouse.

Greenhouse

This is where we get our earliest fresh food both for fresh raw eating and fresh cooking. One of our favorites to grow is the mustard mix from Baker Creek.

Two kids picking spinach in a large garden.

Main Crop Garden

We have a combination of annual and perennial beds in our main crop garden. We grow asparagus, raspberries, grapes, currants and gooseberries on the edges.

We also increased our brassicas in the garden this year. We usually have an issue with flea beetles, but I think with our healthy soil and no-till garden beds we’ve helped reduce this issue.

So far it is going well with minimal flea beetle damage and not specific treatments other than improved soil quality, which means improved plant health and better resistance.

Because our soil continues to improve year over year, we’re not only able to plant more in the garden, but we can plant more densely because our soil is able to handle the added pressure of more crops. With soil improvements, rotations and plant diversity, the garden thrives in this environment.

I also love my micro-sprinkler system. It’s done very well for seed germination as well as watering heavily enough to get nice deep watering in the garden.

A finished hoop house or bean tunnel with crops growing up the sides and on the ground inside the tunnel.

Bean Tunnel

We love growing in both our bean tunnel as well as our hoop house. If you want to see tutorials on how to build these, check out our easy DIY bean tunnel tutorial here.

We grow our tomatoes and cucumbers inside our hoop house. The tomatoes have struggled a bit this year with the heat as we’ve experienced an unusually hot summer, but as long as we remember to roll up the sides of our hoop house, they’re doing OK.

We’re so excited about our new pickle recipe! Check out our always cripsy home-canned pickles and learn how to make your own.

Garden area where squash and corn are growing.

Additional Main Crop Garden Area

We have a new garden area where we’ve planted corn and squash. Since these two crops take up so much space to grow a large quantity, we realized we needed to extend our main crop garden area.

Because we have been preparing this area for two years by adding manure and fresh compost, then this last spring allowing the pigs to go out and turn it all up to get it ready for planting, it has done absolutely fantastic in its first year.

Goes to show what some planning and good use of farm waste along with putting our animals to work can accomplish!

A cottage garden filled with blooming flowers and herbs.

Cottage Garden

The cottage garden is where Carolyn grows most of her medicinal herbs, culinary herbs as well as annual vegetables that she likes having closer to the kitchen.

It’s so fun to grow a mixture of edible plants and flowers and jumble them up together. It makes for a very fun lush space where we love to spend time.

A GreenStalk Vertical Garden Planter with plants growing out of it.

Greenstalk Vertical Garden

This year I used our Greenstalk planter for some annual herbs. I did this so I could move the planter inside once the temperatures get too cold for them to grow. That way they can sit by a sunny window and continue to provide fresh herbs all winter long.

A terraced long row garden with spinach growing.

Terrace Gardens

We’re growing all of our fresh eating vegetables in our terrace gardens so we don’t have to run all the way out to the main crop garden just to harvest veggies for dinner.

Because we terraced this area this year, we planted some cover crops (clover) on the hillsides to retain the soil, keep moisture from running off, and build fertility as clover is a nitrogen fixer.

Since this is a first-year garden, there’s always some learning to be done when planting. Certain crops are doing very well on the terraces in full sunlight, where other crops have been struggling. We’re confident that as we continue to amend these beds over the years this space will grow in health and production. We’re so thankful we turned this southwest-facing hillside that was too steep to do anything with into a product-growing area!

We’re also using succession planting in these beds to be able to harvest throughout the summer. Once these plants have been spent, we allow some of them to bolt to seed save, or to harvest things like coriander seeds for our herb cupboard.

We are halfway through our third year here at Riverbend and we are really happy with the progress so far. While our space may be pretty large, needing to feed so many people, the big takeaway here is that diligent attention to soil health, creativity, and planning in the use of space and time along with developing a system full of variety leads to abundant production of healthy food, not to mention a beautiful landscape, no matter the scale or size of your land!

And hey, talking about planning and making good use of time and space, it’s not too late to get a garden started right now! Check out the 20 things you can plant in late summer and STILL get a harvest by fall!

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Great to meet you!

It is our goal to encourage you in the path to a more healthy, more secure and free lifestyle by sharing and teaching the skills that lead to greater sustainability and self-sufficiency for you, your loved ones and your community.

– Carolyn and Josh 

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