Friday, August 24, 2012

Farming Doesn't Start in the Garden

I wish that someone had told me that when we bought a farm we should allot a generous budget to a books fund. I know lots of people who are fans of libraries, I am too, but for something as ongoing and involved as farming I really need to have reference books on hand. The internet also has a wealth of information, but there's just something special about having a "Go To" book in my own personal library.

The book I'm reading right now is the Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. I figured that buying the house at the end of June, settling during July, and having family visits from August-October, winter was the first season I would get to think about gardening. As I learned from the book, I'm probably wrong, but I'm still going to try.

We have a shed in the middle of the property (north of the house, southwest of the shop) that we have no real intention of using as it is now. It's a metal sided, wood floored shop that has definitely seen better days. It smells of animal urine, has had wasps take nest in it, and I'm pretty sure that the smell and my dogs interest in getting under it means that skunks have taken up residence under the floor. It was also assembled to close to the cherry trees so that branches rest on the roof, and to close to the raspberry bushes so they get no sun. It has to go.

My idea, and the main reason I bought the Winter Harvest Handbook, was to move the shed frame to the front (south side) of the property where it would get the most light and replace the metal siding with plastic, or greenhouse siding. I want to repurpose the shed.

That is still the plan, but the capability of using it this winter is in question. According to the book (that I'm only about 50 pages into) we should succession plant, or plant the same crop several times, so that we can get that crop over a longer period of time. Their recommendation for their zone in Maine (the same zone as ours in Polson, MT according to's Zone Finder) would be to plant cold hardy vegetables in August, September, and October so that you can harvest throughout the winter. Well, August is almost behind us and the first half of September is booked. The soonest we'd get to this plan is the end of September- that leaves October for planting. Perhaps we could get one round of winter veggies in this year? I guess we'll find out...


Hatdiva said...

That's an awesome idea. I've seen pictures of sheds turned into greenhouses, they look neat!

One of the best people to check out that lives in Montana is knittingiris, she gardens alot! She's very self sustaining too.

Her blog is wonderful, I'm sure you'd love it :)

Bohoknitterchic said...

Thanks Sayra! I looked her up (and am now following her on flickr), she looks like my kind of gal'.