Ok, so in the spring 2013, I decided that I wanted to have a more significant garden. I had heard an ad on the radio about an heirloom seed bank, and so I thought it would be a good idea to have it. But I also realized that if I didn’t know how to grow the seeds, they were useless!
I don’t remember the details, but I had a friend from Cub Scouts who had a nice house garden and had some property that he sold produce commercially. When I built this garden, I followed his advice and did the following. I am not sure if it was the best, or the most “organic”…but it worked.
- Cut the area very short. Spray with grass
killer. Cover with black plastic for about 2 weeks.
- Take of the plastic and cover with a couple of inches of compost and till to my heart’s content. It was actually quite difficult cutting through the dead grass and the tiller kept skipping. I was introduced to an aching body after this activity.
- I also had to put a fence around the garden to keep my dogs out. We were about to go on vacation in a few days and I had already bought my transplants (~$40). I needed to get the plants in the ground before we left, but couldn’t do it without the fence. So, I finished the evening before we left, with light failing, in the rain.
To the left is a picture of my plants when we got back from Florida. We had gotten a lot of rain and I remember feeling so happy that they had 1. survived and 2. grown!
Below are some pictures of the zucchini squash and tomatoes growing and bearing fruit. I remember being so happy and amazed that I was actually growing my own food!
I also grew some bush beans that produced well and were tasty. The corn came up but didn’t really produce. I don’t think I fertilized it enough, and that particular spot got some shade. The squash had produced lots of large and small zucchini. Loved it.
I also tried growing cucumbers on this weird trellis I envisioned and built. It sort of worked, but I had the cucumbers in a shady spot and they didn’t really produce much. Well, not any. Well, the scrawny ones rotted. So, no. No cucs.
So, that was all from 2013. There were times I just did not want to go outside. It was hot, work was tiring. Gardening wasn’t a passion, but I still felt I needed to develop this skill. My faith in our country and political structure (long separate story) had begun to wain and I felt (and still feel) there would come a time I would need to produce my own food.
So, there was no fall garden, but I decided I did want to continue gardening. The right is a picture from 2014. There was more squash and tomatoes. The Cherokee purple were a little disappointing, and I think it may be because I grew tomatoes in that spot last year. In 2014, I took a few gardening classes and learned about rotating crops, succession planting, and other concepts. Mid-summer I realized I really liked to garden and wanted to continue
I grew these yard long beans and some pole beans. These were tasty! It is funny. I really wasn’t sure when to harvest them. One batch I picked too late and the skins were wrinkling and tough. Then I harvested a lot earlier and they were pe
rfect. Sometimes I would get some late with the early, so I would just cut the beans and shell the late ones and saute together. Lovely!
I also introduced some raspberries and blackberry plants to the more shady spots of the garden. We love berries and I think they will do good there.
I had a great year for peppers. The summer was milder and I was diligent with watering. I got peppers right up to the first frost. You can see all the peppers I harvested the following morning. Kind of makes you want to have a green house to extend that season. (More on that later…)