We wanted to be self-sufficient and had a 1/4 acre. People said it could not be done, I disagreed! I have never been one to tolerate “you can’t do that”. So here is our journey. We moved in the middle of winter – to SOUTHLAND! Never ideal for gardening, but we were determined and it wasn’t our choice, that is just when hubby lost his job; we had no choice but to move back “home”. This is what we started with:
Thankfully I had the foresight to plant Broad Beans a few weeks before the move, and I had some Brassica’s (cold hardy) coming along as well. I had also dug some holes in the half frozen ground when we bought the house (before moving) and put Kale in the holes, this turned out to be a lifesaver! We lived on Kale and old potatoes we found buried in the ground from a previous tenant for quite a few weeks, lol:
Even though Broad Beans are meant to be frost tolerant, they are not in Southland! We had to put frost cloth around them AND keep watering the ice off during winter:
When you are growing in cold climates, the MOST important thing is keeping the soil warm and trying to prevent it freezing around your plants. Many plants can handle snow and frost, but if it freezes, it literally explodes your plants from the inside out. It freezes the water in the cells of your plants, and they go “boom” but without noise!
Mulch, cover, do anything you can to conserve heat. Also if your plants do suffer an attack from frost, get the hose out before the sun hits and melt the ice off them, this will literally save their lives. It is the sun hitting them frozen that frost burns plants.
Planting out the Brassica’s was next. I am not usually a fan of weed mat as I hate anything inorganic in my garden or anything that might be toxic, but needs must and we had to warm up the freezing ground as much as possible; so here goes!
Our first ever crops from our new house!
We also used the wee covered cloche we had to start off some other plants as soon as it began warming up, and we put it in the sunniest winter spot, but the lids blew off and broke so that was not too helpful, as then we had late snow :/. Some plants did survive though, thankfully!:
Come summer, we moved the Silverbeet and Spinach that overwintered to the larger garden and put Potatoes in the Cloche and they did really well there, which was a great help while we got the rest of the gardens and grounds sorted for more crops:
The next start up blog post will follow on from here. I hope you enjoy our journey into self-sufficiency as I post more of what we did, the trials and testament to hard work. Peace to all, Suz
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