Welcome to our small homestead in Sweden

Spring Activities

Poles

A busy time

Right now is a VERY busy time at the farm. It has been a cold spring, with a huge flush of snow one week into April. It broke off a massive branch on a large birch tree behind our house and pressed most shrubs almost flat to the ground. However, we have been working steadily to build new garden infrastructure, sow, grow, and plant. Not being full-time farmers yet, our time is limited and we tend to work on different activities until we’re exhausted.

Luckily, we both were able to stay on the farm for almost three weeks continuously during April. That helped massively. We have been constructing a lot of raised beds for annual and perennial plants. We’re refiguring some of the space in the kitchen garden, as well as preparing the ground in the outer edges of our garden. We have also started on the infrastructure for the building project that we’ll start shortly. On top of it all, I have bought more plants that needs to get in the ground. Additionally, several flower beds need maintenance or a complete makeover. In other words, we have a lot on our plate this season.

Defining the garden boundaries

Since we’re gardening on a farm, and our plot is not fenced in, I have found it difficult to determine how far out the garden around the house should go. The existing hedges have grown way to wide, since they most likely haven’t been pruned for decades. Moreover, I’d like to have a woodland garden that sort of extends into the edge of the forest. It was easier with the vegetable garden, which had to be fenced in due to the deer.

When we started out, I thought the flower garden and the vegetable garden should be two separate entities. But, after we built the orangery, I have decided to also have a flower garden within the vegetable garden. Moreover, I also want beds for cut-flowers because I often feel reluctant to cut flowers off perennials that still are establishing.

Building new raised beds

This month, we’ve removed the half-rotted pallet frames, and built L-shaped raised beds in front of the orangery. I plan to plant them with both vegetables and flowers. In the greenhouse Frank has created a long raised bed. The strawberry field needed an update and replanting, and since my back aches after a few minutes picking berries, we’ve built two strawberry pyramids. They will be the new growing space for strawberries.

On the slope leading down to the greenhouse, we’ve built four long raised beds, each on a separate level. The reason for this is that the lower area of the kitchen garden tends to be extremely wet in spring and after rainfalls. The plants risk drowning in water if we have vegetable beds directly on the ground. On top of all these building projects, Frank has also built a long, raised bed inside the greenhouse. Since I already had planted in the pallet boxes, the other side will be handled next year

Taking a risk

I admit it, I’m a plant junkie. Although I bought a substantial amount of plants last year, and the year before that, I could not resist to place another order for perennials from my favorite plant nursery in Poland. You can read more about our trip to Poland in another text. In addition to the plants we bought there, I am trying our dahlias and ranunculus for the first time, this year.

Since I want to have access to cut flowers, I’ve also sown a lot of annuals. Some of the plants are species that I have had before, like cosmos, mini daisies, calendula, tagetes, nicotiana, and malva. But, I’ve also sown plants like stock flowers, sweetpeas, and several types of sunflowers. So, all in all, there are a lot of flowers to look forward to this summer. Besides the flowers, I have sown a lot of plants for the vegetable garden, but I think I’d rather write a separate text about all my seedlings.

Excavator starts future projects

We rented an excavator for a weekend and used it to tidy up an area in the kitchen garden. Moreover, we used it to prepare the ground for a rhododendron bed and an area where we plan to build a rose pergola. On top of all that, we started digging down waterpipes and pipes for electric cables to the newbuild that we are about to start. More about that will follow, as we get started.

See more of what we’ve been doing in this film clip.

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