Do you feel it? Spring. Longer days. Warmer weather. Birds singing and bees buzzing.
But before spring gets in full swing, there is a great deal to do around the homestead.
Spring means new chickens and feeder hogs and young cows and more. As we look forward to next year’s meat, there is a great deal to do this year to ensure raising goes well for all involved. First and foremost, fencing and living quarters for our animals. We inspect and check our loading and unloading areas, change out old bedding and any other old material, repair any problems or damage, and also make sure all our watering and feeding equipment is in good working order – ideally before new animals arrive.
Also, this is when we are stockpiling as much mulch and bedding as possible. Tri-axle loads of sawdust and woodchips or reserving round bales of straw for both animals, paths, and garden mulch. You can never have too much mulch.
Second, general tidy up. Before things get really busy with increased daily chores between animals and vegetables, we want to have the homestead in tip top shape. Any areas with built up debris and detritus? Is the barn and other storage areas orderly and things in their proper place? Do any tools need attention – oiled, sharpened, parts repaired or replaced?
Winter freeze thaw cycles mean old trash, nails, and other such things resurface from owners of land past. A handy tool is a large magnet to make sure you get any dangerous objects more easily.
Also, before spring fully sets in, it is a great time for bigger repairs and projects. Do we need fresh gravel anywhere? Are the roofs and various gutters on the house and outbuildings all okay after the ardors of winter? Heavy spring rains will be here before we know it!
Third, garden! We already have started seeds… lots of seeds. Hundreds and hundreds of seeds. But seed starting almost never stops. Back up trays or various plant starts are prepared in case of bad weather or untimely freezes (which we had two years in a row!). Spring crops will quickly give way to summer.
If we didn’t apply particular amendments that our soil tests showed were needed in the fall, we will get ready to do so now. Any good windows of weather for such soil care? Any particular beds need compost or other assistance to produce well this year?
And finally… we will enjoy. While spring is busy, it also means more time together outdoors as a family. More walks around the homestead and around our neighborhood. More hours of daylight to bounce on the trampoline in between homestead tasks both indoors and out.
Which soil tests do you use? I wish I knew what to add to my soil and how to figure that out.