December Winter Garden & An Orchard

Finally Some Greens

The past two years has been all about building infrastructure at Healing Homestead. In October, it seemed as if we turned a corner and could focus more on growing food. We had a beautiful garden and little orchard at our previous homestead. And now I can say we have a beautiful hoop house filled with greens in Lawrenceburg, TN!

The protection of the hoop house increases our growing zone from 7a to 8a! This is my first winter garden growing cold hardy vegetables. We’re growing multiple varieties of lettuce, lots of Asian Greens, Collard, Mustard, and Turnip Greens, Radishes, and many different types of herbs. I had planted a cover crop about three weeks before I got my winter garden planted with cold weather seedlings from Mrs. Sara Miller at Small Wonders Garden Farm. Which means as I weeded my cover crop of Mustard and Turnip greens, we had a lot of salad and sauteed greens! I’m excited to see how warm the soil stays. With Mrs. Sara’s help, I’m already looking into other edibles that can survive the winter in zone 8a.

Planting An Orchard

My joke about anything that is expensive, “Do you know how many blueberries I could buy for that”? Well, boy oh boy, did we splurge! We bought 35 blueberries, five apples, five plums, five peaches, five pears, and three figs. I always seem to forget how much WORK it is to plant everything. Our work was fractioned because of the new auger that we got that attaches to the hydraulics and the down pressure of the tractor. It only took a few hours to auger the holes and three days to plant everything.

I couldn’t be happier with my plants from Mark Manning of Sugar Hill Nursery. In fact I’m trying to line him up to speak to our Homesteader’s Alliance Group. Mr. Mark is a wealth of knowledge for varieties of fruit that grows well in Lawrence County. Plus, he knows how to prune and care for them. Join the Sugar Hill Nursery Group on Facebook. While you’re there, make sure join the Homesteader’s Alliance of Lawrence County Group! Keep reading my previous blog to learn more about the Homesteader’s Alliance of Lawrence County!


We enclosed space for a 100 foot by 150 foot for our garden. The land was on quite a slope so we added five swales to manage water and make more level areas like terraces. After we saw how wonderful it is to grow a winter garden inside of the hoop house, we decided to turn the exterior garden into the orchard.

  • On swale one and two, we planted blueberries.
  • Swale three: Plums
  • Swale four: Peaches
  • Swale five: Pears
  • Swale six was left empty for more flowers.

We ran out of space in the orchard and started a separate location for an apple orchard. Last month this area was graded, seeded with grasses, cover crop, and hay. That was where the pair of Aransas Black Apple trees were planted back in July of 2023.

We ended up with eight remaining blueberries. Jason has a spot that he wanted to be level, soft grasses underfoot, and pretty flowers to enjoy. This will be the perfect place to stretch outdoors in the sunshine while grounding! Five of the blueberries will create a barrier to delineate this healing space while the other three make the remaining side. How fun it will be to get out of our cars and eat blueberries in July.

Any Excuse For A Road Trip

It’s amazing how the internet connects us. Jason had mentioned he wanted a broadfork for the winter garden. Larry Cooper reached out to me on the internet because he too had ridden a steer like a horse. Mr. Larry is also a blacksmith and has been making broadforks for 15 years. Mr. Larry made Jason’s The Bertha Broadfork. You can support local blacksmith and get your broadfork from Mr. Larry at Gulland Forge!

Like I said, any excuse for a road trip. I like to do Christmas presents that are experiences. We drove to just into western North Carolina to meet Larry Cooper at John C. Campbell Folk School. He hand delivered Jason’s broadfork and took us on an amazing tour of the Folk School. One of his favorite places is the blacksmithing shop. Then we had to race back to Chattanooga for our reservation at Rock City. The Enchanted Garden Of Lights was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back to Rock City during the daylight. Our last stop in Chattanoooga was at The Hotel Chalet at The Choo Choo. They converted the old train station and put up a massive Christmas tree!

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