I was going to do a post on my garden, and I still am sans pictures. However after looking at several other farmer/homesteaders garden blog posts I’m embarassed to show you pictures of mine. See, I’m proud of my garden since its actually GROWING this year. Not only is it growing, but its growing things I started from seed. I didn’t buy a single start this year, and I’ve already got a few tomatoes set, my eggplants are flowering (hopefully setting fruit), as are my Japelenos.Turnips and parsnips galore! Most the corn came up, and so have the pumpkins I planted. Even a few icky beets (I planted those more my mother.)
Here’s the thing though: everything looks messy. I grew up on the north side of a heavily wooded hill at 800 feet above…I didn’t really get down growing stuff as a kid. I won’t say I lack a green thumb, but i just don’t have the know how. When I look at others gardens I just go “ohhh……man. I suck at gardening.”
In the spring I tried to plant in the front bed. Neither peas nor radishes would dain to come up and if a brave soul did it would just sit perpetually pubecent and small. I seeded in nice neat rows thinking that the seeds had rotted. Still nothing. Finally I just got frustrated and broadcast my seeds across the bed. Whatever takes, TAKES! Dagnabit.
Then, all the sudden everything came up. I put the tomatoes and lettuce in a row….but nothing else is orderly. Peas are sort of trellising. sort of. in some places I let the trellis on the tomatoes to trick the deer into not eating my tomatoes. Worked so far (knock on wood)
Then the bed I put the pigs in? Well, i didn’t leave the pigs in LONG enough to kill the sod and the grass has sprouted with vigor. Its much more luscious than it had bee before, but now its competing with my veggies! That was to be a nice orderly bed and now…now….oh well.Not only that, but some of the seeds from the veggie culls I gave my pigs have sprouted on their own. Now I have sweet bell peppers (I think) growing in the walk way. Then again, its awesome I didn’t have to plant them!
I find with the clay soil its actually nice to have an under story to shade the bare earth.Bare soil looses its water and turns to rock, but with an understory (or mulch) it doesn’t loose water as quick. I tried to exploit this idea by growing parsips and turnips below my tomatoes. Then in other bare spots the grass decided to pop up and in a few spots there is nothing and its bone dry dispite my watering. The plants that have the turnips around them don’t seem as water stressed. Those that have bare ground or grass competition do show more signs of water stress. Next year I will make sure the grass its fully dead before I plant on it.
Point is: I like my garden, but it looks like a wreck. I’m still learning how to grow stuff, and the one bed that was already here last year had been under mulch for decades so it was dead, lifeless soil. We cover cropped it last year and the buckwheat came to 6 inches high…this year the buckwheat is growing from 1 foot to 3 feet tall. Not bad! the other bed was the old lawn that the grass was half dead anyway. The pigs helped revitalize the soil, as i said before the grass they left is growing thicker than grass anywhere else on the property! I’ll mulch over my beds and hopefully next year they will be even better.
One thing I did do this week is fertilize with my own hippy brew: half a bucket of sheep poop and alfalfa filled with water then let it sit in the sun for a few days. What I ended up with was a dark liquid of stench that the plants loved, though i feed them a diluted version. I’m making another batch of “shit-tea” since the 5 gallon bucket was only able to feed one bed.
its late, this is getting to be rambly so I’m ending this post here and going to bed. goodnight!