A Year in the Life of a Suburban Homestead – Spring

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring flowers


April is the official herald of spring. It’s also the month that our baby chicks and turkeys arrive. The postmaster calls and you can hear the cacophony in the background. No matter how cute and warm and fuzzy chicks (of any kind) are, the post office is eager to have them picked up. But, we are ready, have been ready. The litter-lined box is situated in the sunny corner of the kitchen; the heat lamp is warm; the water font is full and chick starter feed is strewn on the bottom of the box. After a few minute round trip our new charges are home and settling in. It will be weeks before they are old enough or big enough to tackle the outside chicken coop, but for now they are our prime entertainment.

• Indoor seed starting continues
• Seeds started in March hardened off and planted outside
• All veggie beds planted with direct sow seeds like beans, cucumbers, beets, carrots, radishes, lettuces, etc.
• Other hardy vegetable transplants planted
• Potatoes planted
• Chicken coop cleaned of winter bedding; tilled into garden beds; nesting boxes refilled with bedding
• Chicks bought in March put into coop towards end of the month
• Turkeys moved to turkey pen
• County and State fair lambs picked up
• Clapboard on barn washed; windows washed; cobwebs removed
• Livestock trailer cleaned
• Earth Day celebration and Garden Club free cutting day


May is my favorite month of the year, besides October. It’s a time when the flower garden looks its best and the vegetable garden is beginning to take off and show the abundance we will enjoy throughout the summer. It’s also a great time for garden tours and lectures at local nurseries and botanical gardens.

• Direct sow seeds continue to be planted every few weeks
• Flower beds fertilized
• Vegetable beds mulched to keep weeds down
• Fruit tree branches staked as fruit gets heavy
• New berry canes tied to fence for support
• Deadwood cut out of climbing roses
• Shelling, snap and sugar peas picked daily
• Freezer cleaned, reorganized and inventoried
• All winter gear cleaned and stored
• Entries sent off for State Fair
• Dog’s winter coat sheared off


Early planted seeds are ready to pick – red, yellow and orange beets, lettuces of all kinds, globe and French radishes are added to evening meals. It’s a time of diligence, a time to watch tender seedlings, plant new seeds and enjoy the rewards of our labors. I’m often accused of spending too much time between the garden and the barn; spending too much time with my hands in gloves and my knees in the dirt. But, I enjoy the work. It’s relaxing and calming with the sun warm on my face and the smell of fresh dirt on my senses. We don’t travel much during June. There’s too much to watch, too much to do.

• County and State Fair lambs tagged, wormed and sheared
• County Fair entries submitted
• Garden planting continues weekly
• Tomatoes staked
• Sunflowers, winter squash and pumpkins planted
• First of the berries come off – blue, black, gold, red
• Steadily harvesting salad greens, beans, peas, broccoli and onions
• Spent or mature greens fed to chickens
• Early peaches start to ripen (we’ll have peach cobbler by months end)
• Weeding, mulching and deadheading continues

Creative Commons License photo credit: Alexandre LEONARD

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