My First Big Garden

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.

  1. Cut the area very short. Spray with grass
    East garden start1killer. Cover with black plastic for about 2 weeks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.East garden start2

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!

East garden start3East garden start4

Green tomatoes

East garden start5

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.

East garden start6

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.

Garden 2014_julSo, 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!
Fall 2014_8

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…)

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