Gardener Story: Joy Lyle

“Hello BIU friends! 

I am excited to share a little bit of our story with you! My husband and I have a large family and decided last year to make a big change for our family. We moved from a little house on a city street, to a big old farm house in the county. We have a beautiful piece of property with lots of room for our family to enjoy. I am sure you can imagine, a family of 8 consumes a lot of food! Our goal is to grow and raise a portion of that food ourselves.

We purchased the property with several mature apple trees, a mulberry tree and a gooseberry bush. From the start, we knew that we wanted to plant a large garden and learn how to preserve vegetables and fruit. This lead to doing some research and we learned about how important pollinators are and how the honey bee population is dwindling. Then, some friends of ours who garden told us about Build It Up. She sent me a link and I applied the same day. We also contacted some friends who are bee keepers and asked them to mentor us in bee keeping. My husband planted 10 fruit trees on our property in honor of our tenth anniversary. In a few years we should have peaches, pears, and cherries. We will need to learn more about keeping fruit trees.

Our Garden:

My husband and I both grew up with small family gardens, but had never had a garden of our own. BIU has been an invaluable resource for us. We tilled up a large plot of land and started sprouting seeds. Friends  and family have been excited for us and have given us a lot of seeds. We also planted a lot of plants that were provided by BIU. We have a large variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers in our garden. Our garden is still a work in progress, but we are so very excited to see how much produce we can preserve and use throughout the next year. We plan on canning, freezing and drying the produce. 

Quails and Chickens:

As we thought of other food we could learn to produce on our property we immediately thought of chickens. This household consumes so many eggs! We started researching and decided to keep chickens for their eggs but not for meat. We  learned about quail being a great resource for eggs and meat. Cortnix Quail mature quickly and produce a lot of nutrient dense eggs! Quail are quick and easy to process and provide a great source of protein. We purchased an incubator and some quail eggs. We built an aviary and started hatching chicks. There was a big learning curve, but we now have about ninety quail and we have a steady supply of their adorable eggs! We continue to incubate and hatch quail. We later purchased some chicken chicks and built a chicken coup! Just last week a neighbor asked us if we were interested in taking in some chickens who needed a new home. We now have twenty chickens and twelve chicks. Our children greatly enjoy the chickens and collecting eggs!

Excited for more!

The moving process and lifestyle changes have been challenging, but it has also provided so many opportunities for our family to learn and grow together. It is amazing how much we have learned from this experience and it has only been one year! As with any learning process, we have had failures and successes. Some of our best lessons have been learned from making mistakes, adjusting our plans and trying new ways of doing things. We are excited for the future and thankful for our many blessings!” 

More images from Joy’s garden!