Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Garden Update

First of all, I need to explain how we came to be the workers of a huge garden… that is, huge to us. At our new-to-us-last-October rental home there is not a pre-made garden space. The landlord’s son plowed up a small area of land last fall, but it came back as grass this Spring. Meanwhile, the landlord’s son had also plowed their yearly garden plot and covered it with manure.

But, in December my landlady was diagnosed with cancer. She asked if we would like to plant on her garden since she was too tired/sick. She said something about wanting to have tomatoes. She presented it in such a way that made it sound like we would be helping her if we did plant on her plot. So, we agreed… thinking that it would be a shared garden. We do the work. She provides the land. She lets us use her water to irrigate. And, we thought she would help eat the proceeds. So – in late May/early June we (mainly me and the children) planted a 25’ by 80’ garden. If you are laughing thinking that is such a small spot… then keep your comments to yourself. Because, for us, this is a HUGE garden. (Especially since this is only our second year gardening!)

I drew up a lovely design. I wish I could figure out a way to scan in my plan… but alas, my Android phone does not like to put documents into a post. Anyway, I designed the grid with a lot of excitement. We did indeed plant everything according to the plan. And, some of the items did indeed grow correctly.

- About 2/3 of the garden is squash products or melons that take up a LOT of room.
- We planted our melons from seed right into the ground… so they will not harvest for a long time yet (if at all). Right now they are cute little baby lumps on a vine. (Six mounds of watermelon, six mounds of cantaloupe)
- And, we planted the pumpkin seeds straight into the garden. These will be harvested in the fall…if the Squash bugs don’t get them first. We have six mounds of pie pumpkins (for me to can/freeze) and six mounds of large pumpkins (to sell, I hope).
- The zucchinis and cucumbers were bought at a local garden center. I bought 4-packs of each, because it was cheaper than buying one plant. And, I planned to share with the whole neighborhood or sell the extra. But, as it turns out the Squash Bugs have taken a huge toll on my poor plants. We will do some pickling (of the cukes), and we have some zukes for grating and turning into lovely breads and goodies. But, we will not likely have any extra zukes to store. Next year we will be prepared for a squash bug attack!
- I planted a few large packages of green bean seeds, some of these have already been harvested. The rest on the plants need more water and time. A few of my lovely bean plants have been devastated by an unknown invader (who eats all the leaves, buds, fruit, etc… leaving only the stem)
- We also sowed Broccoli right into the garden… oops, you learn as you go. It is growing, but there will not likely be any produce.

- The other 1/3 of the garden is tomatoes and pepper plants.
- I planted about 15 tomato plants all together. We tried two different varieties of large heirloom tomatoes and also “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes. (We had the Sweet 100s last year and LOVED them!) Our plants are producing well and I hope/plan to can a lot. (The plan is to have pasta sauces and salsa) Last year was too wet and all my ‘maters died. I did not can anything last year.
- Our peppers are all doing well: jalapeno, green bell, and sweet banana. (About 15 plants in all) Some critter keeps eating the bell peppers that are closest to the ground, but we are still getting a great harvest. I plan to freeze the peppers to preserve them.

In between most of our plants we have “companion plants” to repel (or distract?) bugs. The garden is really lovely… if I do say so myself. I am happy with it!

I will try to post pictures later.

How does your garden grow?

1 comment:

Mama Hen said...

What a blessing about your garden. To think that God provided the land, the soil, and the tilling of the soil!

Our garden is so-so right now. We are still getting tomatoes and cucumbers. Our peppers did not produce at all. We got some kale and some lettuce, but not enough to really do anything with. Green beans were not good, but the corn did great! So I guess about half and half.