Well the end of July is here and we should be up to our ears in produce. We are not. A combination of the late frost, overestimation of the soil quality, and lack/ untimely application of weed barrier, coupled with alot of off the farm work has led to a garden where the weeds are the only thing flourishing. Most gardeners have commented on the rough year we ( all gardeners/farmers) have had but it is still disappointing.
We might have had unrealistic goals for our situation. Diversifying the animal side of the enterprise, expanding the garden by a factor of 10 and moving into a new, smaller home was alot to bite off.
The meat chicken experiment ended up being an unexpected sucess, so we are planning to do more of those next year. Also, we have found the property would lend itself well to meat goats on the back 2 acres, so that is in the works. As far as the garden goes, we have staked and spot fertilized the plants that were doing the best and we are planning to let them go until about the middle of September. At that point we are going to till in everything and as much organic matter and compost we can get our hands on. From Then until mid October the chickens will have free reign, eating bugs and weed seeds. Then, in goes the garlic, carrots , and onions for spring crops. This way we can hit the ground running in the spring.
All hope for local produce to see us through the winter is not lost. The folks down at Urbavore ( a local urban farm that puts ours to shame) have a glut of produce that we are working out a labor exchange for. We "can" it, then split the finished product. Hopefully this arrangement will fill up the pantry a little more. Mrs Phantom Chicken and I have sat down, and learning from our mistakes have a plan of attack for next year that should allow us to really maximize our production and minimize our labor. Please stay tuned.