Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What's Growin' in my Garden

When Scott and I first bought our farm there was a huge garden in front of the barn. Like I'm talking the size of some houses (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration)! I wish that I had a picture to show how massive it was but it was probably around 50 feet long by 10 feet wide. Maybe that's not big to some people, but at the time I was a gardening virgin so it was overwhelming.

Our first spring/summer at the farm I was so excited and motivated to plant this huge garden and have fresh veggies all summer. I planted everything; corn, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, swiss chard, and the list goes on. I remember going into the Co-op and going crazy in the seed section. I got the garden tilled up and everything planted early in the spring and boy, was I excited to watch it grow. Unfortunately, the only thing I watched grow was weeds. In hindsight it probably would have been smart to spray some Round Up (herbicide) on the whole thing before I tilled and planted it. You see, the garden hadn't actually been used as a garden for a couple of years so it had grown up in weeds. I tried to keep up with weeding it but the thing was so big I just couldn't get ahead of it. It was embarrassing, really, how bad it was. On the plus side of things, we did manage to get a fair amount of veggies out of it - it was just like a scavenger hunt every time you went to pick something!

After this experience, I quickly learned that I could not manage a garden that size. Rather than just reducing the size of the garden Scott and I decided to make raised beds! We had a bunch of old railway ties laying around that we had kept from an old structure on the farm so we made six raised beds!

They are each 3 feet by 6 feet and are so much easier to manage. I am able to keep the weeds in check while still growing a lot of veggies.

Our first year with the raised beds we planted a couple of things in each. This worked out ok but for the last two years we have been designating one crop to each bed and we like it much better. Here's what we have growing this year:



Swiss Chard


Beans (Green and Yellow) & Sugar Snap Peas
The fence was there from before, these are not climbing beans or peas


I haven't had much luck with the cukes this year

And there you have it! We have already harvested quite a bit of the swiss chard. It's one of those crops that the more you cut off it, the more that grows back (which is awesome because we love swiss chard). My tomatoes and cucumbers were both started from seed in the house and they had a bit of a later start than the rest of the garden. The tomatoes are doing great now but the cukes are not. I originally planted 10 plants but only 3 have survived. In previous years we have planted them under plastic with the squash and they did great. This is my first year doing them this way so it's a bit of a learning process.

I can't wait until the rest of the garden is ready to pick. I get so much satisfaction from eating something that I've grown! It is definitely one of the best parts of life on the farm.

Roscoe, standing guard while I work in the garden

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