Homestead Garden, Goals, and Plans

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A lot has changed on the homestead over the past several years and I’m going to share a brief homestead garden update on our garden plans, various homestead updates, and seed list for the new year.

blue balloon flowers in the floral garden.
Blue Balloon Flowers

While, I’ve shared some of the things we are growing, I haven’t gone into too many specifics for which variety of plants we are growing.

Although, I’ve had some requests for specific varieties that have done well for us. So, in this post I will dive a bit into some of the varieties that we are growing to help you with getting your garden established in the upcoming garden season.

And for reference, we are in zone 5a in north central Nebraska.

The winter months are my favorite times to sit down and plan out our homestead & garden goals for the new year. I’m sure many of you can relate!

Currently we are buried deep in snow (we recently got 18” from one storm!) but you can sort of see the raised garden beds peeking up from under the snow. (see the pictures below)

And, we are expecting another 9-17” (depending on how this storm moves) this week! This is definitely uncharacteristic for us!

So, to say I’m dreaming of spring is a little understatement!

Our favorite seed catalogs have arrived and we sat down with our garden planners & journals (this is what I use) to dream up plans.

This year, things are changing for our garden. And so, I have many new to us varieties that I will share as well as some repeat favorites.

Garden recaps

We have been at this new homestead for going on 4 years now. Before then we were gardening at a rental home. I’m going to share a brief recap of how the gardens have gone thus far.

One of the biggest challenges that we face in this area is that this space was an old cattle pasture. It also has some areas of soil that needs amending. Some areas are clay and others are sandy.

Year 1 (2020) – storms and a small tornado wiped out my garden, our orchard, and took my beloved greenhouse and several of my favorite David Austen roses. I replanted again with garden starts from the nursery and Azure Standard. And then another storm and hail damaged the garden. So, that was it for that year. 😅

Year 2 (2021) – the garden was thriving, best year yet! And we started converting the in ground beds to raised beds.

Year 3 (2022)– last year our focus was on structures. We worked on restructuring the garden areas by removing old brush and moving archways and fencing in the entire yard. We also worked on extending the chicken run.

Year 4 (2023) – this year, we are adding several (about 8-10) more raised beds using our favorite OLLE Gardens beds. We are still planning the layout, but this will double our raised beds to around 18-20! We are adding new trees to the orchard area. It will also be moved to a new location to hopefully get better established & slightly protected from the high winds that we have.

We are also adding a new dwarf orchard to the potager garden.

lemon thyme plant in the potager garden
Thyme in the herb garden

Homestead goals

As I mentioned, there are many changes coming. First and foremost is in relation to this blog. It is niching down more to a homestead & garden blog again!

The food portion of the site is slowly moving back over to my old food blog, Olive & Artichoke. Some recipes will remain, but those will be for garden preservation, fermenting, homestead related recipes only.

Over the years, we’ve had a lot to manage in our personal lives. I was on bedrest with my last pregnancy and since it was high risk, I needed an operation 4 1/2 hours from home.

At the same time, my father-in-law was suffering with a form of leukemia and passed away. My husband had to take on a lot of extra duties on the ranch and for our family.

So the homestead goals and blog work were put to the side while we focused on our family and various other circumstances.

I’m sharing this now that it’s been a few years since we went through these trials and crosses because I hope to help & encourage you. We have moved a lot over the years, we have put our homestead growth plans on hold.

Very slowly, we’ve been able build our homestead dreams… a little bit over time.

And so, I firmly believe that anyone can achieve their homestead goals. It does take determination, flexibility, and reevaluating goals.

✨ Are you new to homesteading or still dreaming of building yours? I have tons of information for you in this homesteading for beginners post!

grey and white donkey being pet on the head on other side of fence.

New for 2023

In addition to the blog and other homestead changes, here’s what we are working on this year.

  • Our new dairy cow is set to calve in the spring. I’m excited for this new adventure! 🙌
  • We are extending the garden with around 8-10 new OLLE Gardens beds. Btw… Ready to purchase your Olle® Gardens raised beds? Use code BHH10 for 10% OFF of your first order here.
  • We are also going to expand our compost to a new 3 bay system.
  • And we will also be expanding our seed starting shelving and process. I’ll share more on this process in a separate blog post in the future.
  • We’ll be adding more baby chicks to the flock. Each year, we add a few more to keep up with egg production. And despite our best efforts, we still lose many to predators.
  • Create a dwarf orchard in the potager garden. This will include: 2 dwarf cherry trees, weeping mulberry tree, 2 dwarf peach trees. And possibly an apricot tree too.
  • Move the orchard to a new location after storm damaged the previous location. We will be adding mulberries, apples, pears, paw paws to this location.
  • We are extending the cottage and cut flower gardens with some new varieties of florals and David Austen roses. 🫶
  • Increase asparagus plants by adding in 50 new crowns to several dedicated beds. We will also be using strawberries as a ground cover for the asparagus beds.
  • This year Boots & Hooves Homestead is also making it a new part of our mission to contribute towards supporting rescue animals. You can learn more about this mission here.

Where to buy seeds

Over the years, we have settled on a few favorite companies for garden seeds. These places have been great with germination rates and overall have great plant varieties that we love to grow. And eat!

So, I’ll try my best to share the information from where I purchased our seeds.

Plant list by garden area

How I set up our garden initially gives us room to extend it a little over time. And each of our garden spaces has it’s own name which I’ll refer to in this post to help explain the layout better.

In the future, I’ll have my husband take his drone out to get an aerial view of the garden layout.

My goals with the garden areas are to be my version of a secret garden with the pathways and structures to lead to the cottage and cut flower gardens. And also to have bit of Mr. McGregor’s garden from the Beatrix Potter books.

The cottage & cut flower gardens

This area of the garden will be expanded with a couple of new raised beds that are reserved for cut flowers. Last year I added a few varieties of flowering trees, bushes, and rose bushes. We also planted a hedge row of dappled willows and some varieties of dogwood.

Current favorite plant list:

  • vanilla strawberry hydrangea tree
  • gardenia peony
  • endless summer hydrangea
  • common white lilac
  • Jane magnolia tree
  • summer morning Larkspur
  • blue moon wisteria growing over one of the garden archways
  • azalea (I forgot the variety)
  • several other roses from the local nursery that I forgot which varieties they are.

David Austen roses:

  • The Generous Gardener (climbing rose) I have two of these climbing over an archway. I love them so much, that I may order some more and find a way to add some more archways.
  • Lichfield Angel
  • The Alnwick Rose
  • Queen of Sweden

More cut flower favorites in the garden:

  • teddy bear sunflowers
  • polar bear zinnia
  • purple prince zinnia
  • blue balloon flower
  • snap dragons – tequila sunrise
  • champagne hollyhocks

Herb garden plants

In this part of our homestead garden, we grow a variety of both medicinal and culinary herbs. Most of our current varieties, we’ve had for so long that I don’t remember the specific names.

Current favorites:

  • Greek oregano
  • chives
  • double diamond yarrow
  • calendula
  • a few varieties of basil
  • chamomile
  • cilantro
  • common sage
  • rosemary
  • thyme

New for this year:

summer potager garden tour of the raised beds

Vegetable (potager) garden plants

This year in the main part of the potager, we are adding a few more varieties to both the spring and summer plants.

Generally we grow a few of each of our favorite veggies.

Tomatoes

We are pretty serious about our tomatoes! Last year we grew 8 different varieties of tomato plants to experiment with some different flavors. And this year we are growing 5 new varieties.

These are one of my favorite things to preserve and a favorite method is to dehydrate tomatoes.

mason jars of dehydrated tomatoes on tabletop.

Current favorites

New for this year:

Leafy greens

We generally grow the same varieties of greens each year. But I have added a couple of new varieties to the garden in our new beds.

Current favorites:

  • Gustav’s salad lettuce
  • Tuscan kale – basically my top favorite kale variety, ever. I use it in so many recipes!
  • spinach

Peas & beans

We grow a few varieties of peas and beans and the kids love to snack on them right out of the garden. Which I mean…I totally love that. My husband loves canned green beans and wants us to have more for storage next year.

So we’re adding a couple of more varieties and growing more quantities of each these in bulk garden beds this year.

Current favorites:

  • King Tut peas
  • Sugar bon peas
growing peas vertically on a cattle panel in the garden

Peppers

Just about as serious about peppers as we are about tomatoes. Generally, we grow typical bell peppers and some hot peppers. Each year we are trying new hot and sweet peppers to find our favorites.

Current favorites:

  • pepperoncini
  • banana peppers
  • Jimmy Nardello
  • California wonder bell
  • king of the north red bell
  • ancho chili

New this year:

Leeks & onions

Leeks and onions are another favorite that grows really well for us and is an absolute staple in the garden. And we’ll be adding these to our spring garden starts.

Current favorites:

  • Egyptian walking onion
  • Varna leeks
  • Walla Walla onions
  • Red Baron onions
raised beds in the garden with onions and leafy greens
Year 2 in the garden – very beginnings of converting the pasture land.

Brassicas

A variety of brassicas are always a staple for both our spring and fall gardens. We also do have to battle cabbage worms. So this year, I’m planning on adding row covers to help minimize this.

Current favorites:

  • Copenhagen cabbage
  • red cabbage
  • broccoli

Root veggies

Another staple! Our favorite root veggies are carrots, radishes, beets, and of course potatoes!

We have been most successful with using grow bags for growing potatoes vs growing in the ground. And it is so much easier! After learning from the master, Monty Don, this is the only way that I will grow potatoes now.

We started with using grow bags that weren’t fabric, but they still worked really well. We added these grow bags in a 10 gallon size and they also worked well. But we are going to increase to 15 gallon bags this year.

This year, we are converting over to these cloth grow bags and adding in additional bags to a total of 15 grow bags of potatoes and sweet potatoes.

potato grow bags in the garden.

Current favorites:

  • organic potato & sweet potato starts from the local nurseries. Yukon gold potatoes are our favorites!
  • golden beets
  • Parisienne carrots
  • cosmic purple carrots
  • little finger carrots
  • French breakfast radish
  • pink beauty radish

New this year:

Squashes / cucumbers / eggplants

We only grow a small amount of summer and winter squash. And not too many cucumbers, but we are growing a few for canning pickles and relish.

Current favorites:

  • black beauty eggplant
  • butternut squash
  • zucchini / yellow squash

New this year:

Others

  • sweet corn
  • glass gem popcorn – this is mostly grown for the children. They enjoy growing it and also love to feed it to the chickens.
  • Sarah’s choice f1 cantaloupe
  • crimson watermelon
  • d’elne celery
  • various berries (some already established) and new plant varieties are to be added this year.

I would love to know what some of your favorites are for your home garden! Did you see anything on our list that you want to try to grow this year? Share below in the comments!

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2 Comments

  1. I just found your page and subscribed. The information you share is very helpful since I am fairly new to gardening and learning as I go. I can’t wait to go through more of your pages.