Friday, June 15, 2012

OUR NOT SO SECRET GARDEN- A HISTORY

This is our veggie garden story...

2004-2009- the early years

For years we have wanted to have a garden on our other acre, but the soil was in bad need of amendment. It was hard and clay like and only grew field grass (and poorly at that). Husband bought a tractor and all the implements and started working the soil around 2004.  



Compost was added, as well as bone meals, blood meals, cotton seed meal. And with lots and lots of tilling all that good stuff into the soil. Then each fall we planted a winter cover crop which we turned into the soil each spring. On our 'house'  acre we created raised beds (which we named our kitchen garden), and during the amendment process we grew, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, carrots, beets and the like in these raised beds.

2009- let the fun begin

In 2009 we decided it was time to make the move to start the big garden. The north and west sides of the space were already fenced so we needed to fence the east and south, but we had to put extension all around to about 7' to keep out the deer. That in itself was a pretty large undertaking. We fenced off 60' x 160'.

Several runs through with the tractor and we had some beautiful (sift through your hands) soil- real soil- and we were thrilled. We enlisted our youngest son and his friend to help us 'toss' up the raised beds. That was a huge task, very strenuous work (and that is how I tore a muscle that took a really long time to heal). But when the rows were complete the garden was a thing of beauty, bare, but a thing of beauty. 

The next step was to bring in multiple trailer loads of straw for the walk ways. That too was fun- seriously- I enjoyed it. Walking down the paths with several flakes in my arms distributing was I went.

Then we were ready to begin planting. Husband spent a fair amount of time getting the irrigation up and running. We hired my brother to install several valves and mechanical system, then there was pipe to lay and sprinkler heads to install and adjust.

I remember kneeling in front of a bed on a hot day after a few days of solid rain. The earth (I swear) was talking to me. You could hear it crackling as the water heated up and began evaporating. You could smell the wetness, and the rich, rich soil. It was almost a spiritual experience. I turned and sat in the wet straw and just took it all in for a while. Then got back to work, lovingly dropping seeds into their allotted rows and patting soil over them. 

And then we were ready to watch it (and the weeds) all grow. There's nothing quite like stepping back and looking at all your hard work and watching as sprouts sprout, and blooms bloom. Then there's the thinning and more thinning. Tedious but necessary work- that pays off big time.









Our first year on the other acre we grew peas, pole beans, bush beans (Renegade and French Filet), several potato varieties (fingerlings and purple), 19 tomato plants (various), 5 different kinds of carrots, 5 kinds of beets, sweet onions, chippolini onions, purple onions, shallots, leeks, radish, 3 varieties of squash, and 3 of pumpkin. We tested our might with growing broccoli and were surprised it went well.


















There is nothing quite like the taste of a fresh harvested carrot, knowing you nurtured it from seed to harvest, caring for it, watching it grow daily.

How does your garden grow?

I'll be posting more soon- watch this space...

3 comments:

  1. Stunning and beautiful, Paula. Lots of love, heart and soul planted in that ground. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks ladies, unfortunately the next posting will be shorter and not so sweet- watch this space...

    ReplyDelete