I think I’m finally getting around to starting to have my garden where I want it to be. A bit of background…
– the first year I lived here, I planted a very small, highly unsuccessful garden – the chickens ate nearly everything
– last year, I attempted a straw bale garden, with little to no results (maybe I didn’t age them long enough I think, I also didn’t harden off the seedlings that I started)
– this year, I went “no-till,” mostly because I was forced to, it just got too late and we had so much rain that with my travel schedule I was unable to get the garden tilled in time to plant. I am actually quite happy with the results.
My first step was to put up the fence, because my chickens are notorious for eating freshly planted seeds and sprouting seedlings. Once I got my fence up, I determined what plants I was going to plant. This year I went with the following:
– pole beans
– bush beans
Results thus far have been good, I’ve only lost one melon plant (out of the two that I planted), and everything else seems to be thriving. My started seedlings hardened off really well and now they’re going bonkers with all the rain we have had. The only issue that I have each year is my minimal amount of sun – we have some very big trees and unfortunately my garden (in the sunniest spot) only gets about 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Regardless, the plants all seem to be doing well and there are already some little bitty tomatoes and peppers on the plants. Beans have started appearing also. I long for the days when I can plant a huge, 50×50-ish garden that will get full sun all day long. I can’t wait for that harvest.
I think I’m going to plant some onions when I get back from my July 4 vacation to PA, and then when the days start getting shorter, I’ll add in some greens like lettuces, kale, mustards, and chard. I am also considering putting in a pumpkin, but it might be too late for that, we shall see.
My planting & growing method:
– since I went no till, I mowed down all the grass in the garden area before planting, then I laid out my garden and determined where everything would go. Then I dug the holes, about 6-9″ deep regardless of the plant. I put a BUNCH of bunny poo and old hay (to fertilize and hold in moisture) in the bottom of the holes, filled them at least half way. Then I would plant my seeds or transplant my seedlings into the holes. I broke up the surface soil and packed everything down gently and gave it a good soaking, nature pretty much did the rest. I have tried to be careful about letting the weeds & grasses get too high. I pulled a lot of them from around my tomatoes this week, and I was sort of upset that I did. Living within those weeds & grasses were a TON of insects, arachnids, and other predatory species. I’m sure having these guys living around my plants (because the grasses & weeds provided moisture, shade, and protection) helped keep the bad bugs like worms and aphids away from my garden. I will
keep an eye on things and see how it all progresses.
Overall, I am very happy with my garden this year, I’m looking forward to letting the chickens in once all the plants are very mature, and letting them fertilize and tear up the soil for me. The rabbits have been enjoying eating the weeds. I’ll be excited to start my fall garden as well, and will hopefully have some success with a winter garden in my tiny greenhouse.
If you’d like to see more pictures of the garden, check out the Facebook page. 🙂
Oh yes, just a side note, Elsa AND Francis are sitting on eggs. Happy day!