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!
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)
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