Sunday, July 13, 2014

Playing Catchup

I'm afraid I have been a horrible blogger.  started a new job, and it was more important that I actually DO the stuff, than blog about it.  I hope you will all forgive me!

Last summer, I moved my vegetable garden (all 20'x16' of it) to my parent's property, where I could spread out, grow some things I didn't have room for, and really get to growing. My mom wanted a garden again, but wanted so share.

My side of the garden? 100'x24'. There were some tricks to this garden however.  First, it used to be the 'family' garden--like my great grandparents.  It went fallow gosh, about 20 years ago. No water. No electric. Lots of varmints.

Some lessons learned?
  • We live in New England--it doesn't matter how many rocks you pick, you will always grow more.
  • Wild Turkeys like to take dustbaths in your dirt.
  • Organic gardening on THIS size takes a lot more work--8 tomato plants compared to 30 to squish bugs on a regular basis is hard, and it doesn't matter how much neem oil or dishsoap water you spray, you need to always keep on top of it.
  • Mexican bean beetles like squash and cucumber plants, but didn't eat the beans.  Who named these anyway?
  • feast or famine--like when all dozen of my canteloupe ripened with 2 days.
  • guarantee, it will be absolute hottest heat wave when it comes time to can your tomatoes.
  • mulch is your friend.
  • again MULCH IS YOUR FRIEND. No one actually ENJOYS weeding.
  • when the garden isn't home, make sure you bring plenty of baskets, bags, buckets for your harvest (and in one instance, I used a printer box for a whole load of swiss chard!)
  • little white butterflies are not your friend. They are not pretty on a hot lazy afternoon, they are out to get your perfectly lovely cabbage, broccoli and collard greens. Devils in disguise!
You get my point. I was very proud of the absolutely lovely spinach that seemed to last forever last year.  30 tomato plants kept me in canned tomatoes until March.  I had lovely pickles, and amazing broccoli.

So I tried to take my lessons into this year. Broccoli and spinach? Must have more of.  the 3 rows of broccoli seem to be behind where they were last year; the jury isn't in yet.  Spinach seeds were planted too deeply and too late to replant; will be aiming for a fall crop.  Been keeping a better lid on the insect infestations.

 Things that changed this year--
  • have a better idea of what I planted too much of (still in freezer)
  • better idea what my family will eat (wax beans did not go over well:( )
  • My mother moved her garden, so I know have the full 100'x50'--so we're doing lots of experimenting this year. (more on this in later posts)
  • The deer gave me a free pass last year--not so this year.  Had to break down and get an electric fence. Remember, I'm in the middle of a field; no electric--so the fence is solar powered.
  • No water. Not so bad last year, but it's been stop and go this season. My dad helped me out with a home made gravity fed rainwater bucket (yes, another post)
Which leads me to further plans.  I will be building a high dome to extend my season, and a cold frame at the house.

Other notes of interest that I hope to blog on soon--I recieved my national food handler's license, so will be starting to offer canning and cheesemaking classes on a more formal basis soon.

Currently working on:
  • Braided rug out of old T-shirts.
  • Liquid soap
  • Oatmeal Honey soap
  • healing salve
  • natural bug spray
Will be blogging more soon!