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Garden Gardening

Creating a homestead garden

Spring has been late this year. The weather seems to be finally changing and we are now consistently reaching the 50’s and 60’s during the day…in early May.

I guess that’s ok though because being late seems it will be a reoccurring theme for us this spring.

Our garden is going to be late going in this year too because it is contingent upon a few things.

1. We need to get the fence in so we know exactly where the south boarder of the garden will be. The fence company’s plans were a bit rough. And by that I mean he drew a red line on a photo of the property from above.

2. In order to put the fence in, we need to have the ground re-grated so we can try to shift some of the water in the yard. Right now, after a big snow melt or, I would imagine, a large rain, portions of the middle of the yard and garden space flood. However, that space does sit up higher than our adjacent wetlands. We figure if we can give the water a new path, maybe we can get a garden and yard space that properly drains.

To me it’s honestly pointless putting in the garden in the spot we want (or even the spot it’s currently in) unless we do this. Raised wooden beds would constantly be soaked and if we planted directly on the ground those plants might spend a lot of time underwater during rainy periods.

3. However, in order to regrade, we need to have the foundation in for the new barn poured. They torn down the old garage last week (bye garage!) but work on the barn is stalling due to the rain. With the exception of this past weekend, it has rained every day in the last week.

At this point, I don’t think we will actually get the garden in until the end of May or even the beginning of June.

Creating a homestead garden

Idle hands make plans

But just because I can’t be digging in the dirt, doesn’t mean I can’t plan for digging in the dirt. In fact, maybe it’s better that I have more time to think through the design of each garden box and the fruit tree guilds. I’m hoping to create a homestead garden that we can use as our primary source of fruits and vegetables for our family in the spring, summer and fall.

Right now, I have marco view of the garden and space laid out. Before I can put plants in, I really need to dig into the micro view too. We’ve been so busy with the other renovations that I haven’t had time to think about the details.

That said, I still wanted to share my overview of the space with you. I’m really excited for how we will be reworking the space on the acreage, and more specifically, the garden space. The area was wonderful when we bought the house last year, but I really believe we will make it even better.

Here is what it looked like when we purchased the home:

Creating a homestead garden Creating a homestead garden Creating a homestead garden Creating a homestead garden

For me, the garden was too unstructured and I knew I needed something a little bit more tidy to work in. I also knew I wanted to expand the space in back of the house for the kids to play in.

As far as the garden goes, I believe with a little work and persistence; it will be a haven within a haven. A homestead garden based off permaculture principle that works hand-in-hand with the ecosystem and will contribute as much as it takes from the environment.

The landscapers’ plans

We had a landscape architect come out and help us think through the acreage. It was such a large space that it just became a little cumbersom for me to wrap my brain around it all. I also knew that there were things we would do this year, and I wanted them to compliment the 5-year and 10-year plans too. I needed help looking at all seven acres as a whole.

While we aren’t sticking with his plan entirely (due to some measurements being off), we are using it as a foundation for how to lay out the property.

Here is the architect’s plan for the land. I’ve turned it horizontally because that’s the way he wrote it. My layout will be vertical because that the way it looks from the road. I know this is kind of a visual pain. Sorry!

Creating a homestead garden

Based on his plans, we took the design and altered it a bit. I wanted something we could look at that would accurately show our plans and the fence lines are wrong here as well as the space for the garden and the fruit trees. We are also renovating the barn and horses are a long way off.

Here are our plans:

FENCE: We are fencing an area that will be “yard” for our family and dog. It will be horse fencing with wire that other animals won’t be able to enter. I want a safe place for my dog in the evenings and the kids to play. Our house is rather close to the street so having a fence makes me feel more secure about keeping the babies safe.

The fence will also line the front of the property but will not include wire. It is more of a small barrier incase anyone goes barreling toward the street.

GARDEN: The garden will be moved to allow us more space for the yard and will help to line one side of the property. In back of the garden will be a few fruit trees. I’m hoping for 8 this year. Additionally, Kevin is planning to grow some hops to go along with his barn brew area. He has four plans in the refrigerator just waiting for the next steps.

GREENHOUSE: At some point, we will put a green house in between them. This year, we might put the foundation in since we will have cement here for the barndominium project. I love the idea of having the greenhouse in between them and being to access it from both sides of our growing zones.

To find out more about the details on the barn remodel, click here.

Creating a homestead garden

Creating a homestead garden


For the garden, my plan is to use create beds that take advantage of some of the principals in Permaculture. I want to make sure we are working with the ecosystem as much as possible. I’m planning to plan flowers and companion plants together to help my vegetables thrive.

In the middle of the garden, I’m hoping to create a flower and herb zone that will be all about drawing pollinators to the plants there. I’m not sure if it will happen this year, but I love the idea of creating a space that is for them and brings them to pollinate my flowers and vegetables season after season.

This year, I won’t have this may beds. This is probably several years out. We will probably have 4-6 beds this year, especially since we will be planting so late in the season.

Creating a homestead garden

Fruit trees

In back of the garden area will be a space for fruit tree and Kevin’s hops. I’m hoping to plant eight fruit trees this year in honor of the son we lost. His birthday is in June and he would have been eight this year. You can read more about him, here.

I’m also planning to create fruit guides inline with permaculture under the trees so we can make the most of the space and have everything co-existing in a way that is advantageous to us and to the planet.

The hops

I’m planning to put the hops in the back of the yard for two reasons.

1. They grow really, really tall. Think 30 feet. They need space to move and I need them to be able to grow without blocking anything else.

2. If Kevin wants to expand them, he has plenty of room to do so. None of the drawing show it well but we still have several acres available in back of this area that a farmer uses right now. If Kevin really decides to be serious about growing a hops then he has the space.

Creating a homestead garden

So what do you think of the plans? Any advice before we take this giant leap in the next month?

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  1. robin rue

    That is a really nice garden plan. My husband is doing a garden this year for the 2nd year, but it;s so small.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      We had a small garden at the old house and it was so fruitful. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean you can’t grow so much!

  2. Cait

    I cannot wait to send this to my husband as we are planning our own garden to do this spring! Have such great Friday and I hope one of these will work with our backyard! Can’t wait to buy your journey

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Thank you, Cait!

  3. Alli Smith

    My family always had a large garden when I was growing up. Every year I say I’m going to plant a small one. Maybe I’ll actually do it one of these days.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      You should! They are work in the beginning but after that it’s just watering really.

  4. GiGi Eats

    Oh man, if my husband and I owned a home with LOTS of land, we would probably have a full on garden!! Yours looks amazing. Since we don’t have so much land though, we just have a really big pot that has a lot of random veggies and fruits planted in it. HA! Whatever works, right?

    • Rachel Quenzer

      For sure whatever works!

  5. Amber Myers

    How nice. I really wish I could grow stuff but alas, I cannot. My Mom can though so I admire her gardening skills.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Maybe she can teach you. <3

  6. This looks amazing! Loving the plan you made for your garden

  7. This is one thing I wish we could do: have a garden. Being in the middle of NYC, it’s not feasible. You have some awesome plans, and it will be wonderful to see these become a reality.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Do you have any community gardens near you? I’m always so fascinated by those. Also, check out Brooklyn farm girl. She is in the city and has a lot of tips!

  8. Sarah Bailey

    Good luck with your plan! I hope it goes well for you, it seems like you have come up with some wonderful ideas of the areas for your garden! I can’t wait to see it come to life!

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Thank you!

  9. Stacie

    That’s a really impressive garden! I live in Georgia, land of the gardens, so I know a good garden when I see one.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Hopefully it turns out that way. 🙂

  10. Marta Rivera

    Definitely pinning this so I can design my homestead garden!

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Thank you. <3

  11. Heather

    It’s always been my dream to have a garden. We’ve tried a couple of times and have been unsuccessful.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      That’s too bad. Third time is the charm?

  12. Brandy

    I love this so much! I am currently a renter, but some day plan to buy a home and have our own farm and garden to live off the land as much as we can.

    • Rachel Quenzer

      That sounds like a good plan.

  13. Amy Desrosiers

    You have the cutest property ever!! I love how your melons are so huge and spread out. Our melons grow to like a baseball size these days..haha!!

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Thank you!

  14. Theresa

    I’d love to have all of your land for gardening, but alas my yard it tiny and so is my garden. It does sound like you have a smart plan for where everything will go in due time. I can’t wait to see the finished result!

  15. Tasheena

    I love the plans for your garden.I can’t wait to see everything come together. btw: I wish I could grow watermelons that big!

  16. Jeanette

    I need you to come to my house and do this LOL. I do not have a green thumb, but I would love to have some fresh fruits and vegetables growing in my yard LOL.

  17. Kathy

    That is a great garden. We started ours a couple years ago. They’re a lot of work, but fun at the same time. Those watermelon look great!

  18. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Having lived most of my life in the city, I crave for the peaceful, quiet living out in the countryside. I want to have a large space to grow vegetables and stuff too. Not so much for farm animals but more of growing fruit bearing trees and shrubs.

  19. Terri Steffes

    Our garden is in! We only have a 2 by 10 foot space, but we make the most of it. Right now I have radishes growing and my lettuces are ready to pick. Yum.

  20. Stefani Tolson

    I have always wanted to have a big house with a farm. The reality is I have lived in the city my entire life and probably always will. One can dream!

  21. Catalina

    This is the right season for a new garden! Thanks for these awesome hacks!

  22. This is really amazing! What an exciting plan for your homestead garden!

  23. Jennifer

    This is a great idea. We are planning on doing this when we move this year.

  24. You have a great plan! I had to put my raised garden in the part of the driveway we don’t use because when we first got our dogs, the kept digging the garden up. It works well, for now, but I can’t wait to get a bigger yard that I can fence off!

  25. Meagen Brosius

    Sounds like you have the perfect plan! We don’t have quite this much space but we are just getting ready to do our garden for the year and it seems like we are always moving it from year to year. Hopefully this will be the year we find the perfect place and stick with it!

  26. This is a pretty impressive layout! I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pull that off.

  27. Honesteading is not easy. But is so rewarding.
    I love your future plans for the yard and then amazing gardens!

  28. rika

    Sounds like a fun plan! I love gardening, my kids always want to get involved too !

  29. Amy H

    This is a great plan! I’m just trying to figure out my garden for the year – but the weather still seems quite all over the place still.

  30. Fatima Torres

    What an interesting layout for you to create your garden. We need to revamp ours before the summer.

  31. Angelaa

    This is great! I love planning out my garden. I am so behind this year, so this will be very helpful as I get it started!!

  32. Heather

    Planting a garden is awesome! I can’t wait to see what you grow!

  33. Chelle Dizon

    You have a really huge space and good thing that you are planning your homestead garden carefully. I hope it will be a lovely place soon.

  34. Ruth I

    You have such a big and beautiful place! The plan is amazing, I am excited to see the photos when it’s done!

  35. Beth

    I am loving all the things you are doing! It is so great that you have a master plan along with short and term projects to make it happen. I agree with you that a fenced in yard is a priority. What type of fruit trees will you plant this year?

  36. Shayla

    I used to be an avid gardener, but now we don’t have much of a garden space and the deer are such a problem. I tried planting tomatoes last year and the deer at the green tomatoes before they had a chance to ripen. I would like to get some fencing up so I can garden again. It’s so therapeutic!

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