Even though we are still feeling the fall vibes here on the farm, it was a brisk 43 degrees when we woke up this morning reminding our family that winter is not only coming, but faster than we want. Winter prep on the farm.
The image above was our first winter here (last year) and it was as stunning as it looks.
PURCHASE OF HAY/STRAW
The grasses are starting to turn and that means a few things for our livestock…time to stock up on good quality hay for winter eating. We sources all our hay locally and store in a 3 sided part of our barn protected from the elements but still gets plenty of ventilation. One side is hay while the other houses straw for bedding.
I need to get an updated image of this setup due to a lot changing since last year. The left side is the side I’m referring to. The entire back side of that barn is now fenced in (~2 acres) and they have access to it 24/7. The front area is protected by electric fencing as well.
FRESH AND CLEAN
Another task on our to do list is cleaning out all the old bedding in their housing area. We’ve already done it once this year, but we want a nice clean dry area to put down fresh straw before it gets too cold. Having an area for the goats and livestock guardian dogs that is dry is crucial for the health of them. Also having a 3 sided structure is super important. It keeps the winds off of them while still providing fresh air.
Look how tiny he was <3 Clyde is a wether (castrated male) and he is by far the snuggliest of them all.
All the spring/summer plants have been pulled up and put into our compost pile. After that we have shoveled well- aged compost on future planting lots and topped dressed with wood chips that we also get locally. We removed every single boxed wood from the front of the house. They were so old and unruly and it wasn’t my vision for that area. So far we have prepped that area by placing cardboard down (I’m talking overlapping a crazy amount of free cardboard) and wood chips.
Because we can’t just go and buy a crazy amount of compost (it’s expensive and adds up quick), we are doing things in stages. We have a little area outside of our garage where I planted peppers, herbs, etc. and that area was all cleaned out and we just planted a crazy amount of bulbs as well as onions and garlic. These will over-winter and be ready in spring.
WHAT WAS PLANTED
I’m more of a pastel flower lover with a few exceptions. That being said, I planted around 65 bulbs of pink, salmon, and white tulips as well as lavender colored crocus. I did place a few daffodils in that area as well. Tip: anytime I have to go to Lowes Hardware, I slip back into their garden section and look at their clearance section. I have scored so many amazing things for 50% off.
This week I found a knock out light lemon colored rose bush, two perineal snapdragon plants, and a blueberry bush all at the discounted rate. They are glorious and we added them to the side of our yard chicken coop since the chickens are now in our freezer.
THROUGH THE WINTER
Even though it will be cold, we still have to do things in stages like stated before so the winter task is to get the main garden area fenced in and as ready as it can be come Spring. It’s going to be large so this HAS to be taken in steps financially. One thing I have done this year (which was new to me) was to save seeds from all the plants who thrived this year.
Our peppers did absolutely amazing this year. We were shocked. I saved seeds from the best of the best. Our luffa plants stole the show and produced more than I know what do it with so seeds were saved from those as well. Next year that will drape over a large arbor entrance into the garden space.
I’m keeping an eye out for discounted grape vines and those will be added to the fence line of the garden.
Other plants I saved seeds from are sunflowers, chili pepper seeds (which plants I got to free), coneflower, cayenne pepper, and jalapeño seeds. The saving of seeds is a new thing for us, but it will cut the cost down in Spring time.
A few weeks back I picked up quite a few storage garlic from a farmer’s market. Know what I did? I took 3 of those bulbs, broke them up into cloves, and that’s what we planted to over-winter. They were amazing quality and I think they will do amazing. Each tiny clove will produce an entire bulb and that’s exciting.
SCOTT HAS PLANS
I can almost guarantee that my husband has many plans as well including getting the tractor serviced, cleaning out more land, and planning out which acreage will be fenced in next. He wants cows 🙂 but the focus this winter is things inside the home that have been on the back burner. Updating the kitchen is on the top of the list. I want to paint all the cabinets, we have our neighbor making us shelving for the kitchen (open shelving here we come), and winterizing the house. It’s an old house and it’s freezing in here lol.
PREPPING THE DUCKS
Ducks are pretty hardy livestock but we will make sure they have adequate dry bedding, fresh (unfrozen) water, plenty of feed (increase in feed is how they will stay warm), and the duck house will be added with insulation if needed.
Winter is coming…Winter Prep On The Farm.