I had grand plans of sharing updates on our garden each months. Successes, failures, challenges, and all.
It is obvious by now that I'm not going to make a monthly update but I do have some photos from each month. So here is an overview of our garden so far this year.
But just a note...photos can be deceiving. These photos make my garden look bigger and more beautiful then it really is. You can't really see how much of that green stuff is weeds. Also, at the beginning of the spring, I had energy. Lots of it. In June my energy level plummeted. And the weeds took advantage of the opportunity. If we had not mulched part of the garden in the spring, it would be a complete disaster by now. As it is, it is only partly a disaster. So don't get any idea looking at these pictures that this is a perfect garden.
I began the year rather discouraged. We planned to revamp our vegetable gardens. If you have toured our garden in the past you know that we have several garden areas. In our main garden area, we had three garden sections, one of which was a small children's garden area. We also had several garden patches in the back of our pasture.
The pasture gardens were a disaster. They were too far from the house and the animals and weeds had free reign. We weren't getting anything much out of those gardens anyway because of their neglect so we decided to let that area revert to pasture.
But since that would severely limit our garden space, we decided to combine two of our other garden areas, plowing up the lawn that was between the two gardens, and making it into a larger garden. That would mean losing the children's garden, but that area was another unproductive weed patch. This still wouldn't give us enough garden space to plant everything we wished so we decided to not plant any peas and instead pick peas at a neighbor's pick-you-own patch.
So that was the plan. I had hoped that the plowing of the new garden area would happen in the fall so that the sod could decompose over winter. But it didn't happen. Then we had a cold March. And we went to Guatemala. By the time we returned in April I was discouraged because our garden looked far from ready to plant anything. I resigned myself to not getting into the garden until May. Or later.
We were now making some progress but a look at those deep furrows and clumps of sod and I knew that Ed would spend hours with the tiller making that soil ready to plant.
But a few days later, the same neighbor showed up with a large tiller hitched to the back of his tractor. He pulverized those sod clumps and broke down those furrows into a beautiful planting bed! We were ready to plant! (But I didn't get any photos of this step!
It was a lovely sunny April day, so I rushed over to the garden center and bought some vegetable plants. The children helped me to rake in some rotted chicken manure and lime, we built some slightly raised beds with a shovel, and planted!
What fun to be back in the dirt! We planted potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce.
Over the next several weeks, we mulched with grass clippings. I covered the plants with milk jugs until I got some more row cover. The plants to the right are garlic that I planted last year.
Under the grape vines, we layered card board and grass clippings to hopefully get a handle of this very weedy area.
We were hit with a cold snap in May. Our official frost free date is May 15 in our area, but often we don't get frost after May 1.
But this year we were hit with a bad frost, I'd call it more of a freeze, on May 14. Thankfully I had just planted my beans and they were not yet out of the ground. But my poor potatoes. And grapes. They didn't just get nipped by the frost. Every green leaf turned black and mushy. The potato patch that had looked so lovely the day before was now a dismal sight.
one week later, when the photo above was taken, the potatoes had resprouted. It was amazing. The freeze set them back and we didn't have new potatoes nearly as early as usual, but I expect a good crop.
Once the potatoes grew about six inches high, we tilled between the rows and hilled them up. We then spread grass clippings in the rows as a mulch. From now until we dig the potatoes, we shouldn't have any more work. (If the potato bugs stay away - and so far - I haven't seen a single potato bug! Do you think it is because we have not grown potatoes in this garden for several years?)
After the weather settled enough that it seemed safe, we planted our tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. I kept them covered with milk jugs until they outgrew the jugs just for an extra precaution.
We planted a later patch of sweet corn at the end of May.
My children still enjoy using the planting sticks that Ed made when they were small. Such an easy way for children to help in the garden.
We also covered the strawberries with bird netting. It doesn't take long for our large robin population to discover that strawberries are good eating.
May is also when we start enjoying our garden. Asparagus, lettuce, and worm-free broccoli (thanks to row cover!) Nothing is better than freshly picked vegetables!
And the herb garden is just for fun!
June was warm. And every time we thought we were getting a little dry, God sent us another shower of rain. That means everything grew like crazy!
I just love the rich shades of green that signal adequate rainfall! (On the photo above you can see the green beans on the left and potatoes on the right.)
In June we harvested strawberries, red beets, sugar peas, and rhubarb. The broccoli plans sent out secondary shoots and gave us many more meals.
I'll try to take a few more photos this month and give you an update at the end of July. And maybe I can find the gumption to do some weeding! You all can be my accountability! In the photo above, see the little weeds on the left. Just imagine what a month of sunshine and rain did for them! It is bad!
How is your garden growing?