Sep 27, 2013

Our Summer Garden... Attempt

I so badly want to grow my own food.  Our dream is to buy a farm house out in the country and surround it with fruit trees and vegetable plots.  We'd like animals, too, but we're far from deciding what we'd want to have around.  Maybe some sheep- homespun yarn for knitting, anyone?  Have you read about the process of turning wool into yarn, though?  Holy cow it looks intimidating.  We'll see about that one later. 

For now we live in a rental in town with a large, empty backyard.  This past spring, we planted a garden.  We had little to no idea what we were doing.  It seemed like every book I picked up was written in Britain, where the climate is a lot cooler and wetter than where I live.  Regardless, I pieced together information from books and internet searches and I made a plan.  So we churned up the ground and we pulled weeds and hauled away rocks and mixed in compost and it was exhausting.  We bought some seeds, some vines, strawberry plants, seed potatoes, and onion sets.  I even built a GREENHOUSE.  It's actually quite cute, and for the whole thing I only had to buy a few panes of glass and some hardware- all of the wood is scraps from my dad's house.

I used it to start many of my seeds in the very early spring, hoping that if I got a head start I would get a better harvest.  The beans, broccoli, and corn did pretty well, but it was still too cold for the tomatoes and peppers.  The tomatoes ended up doing great when I started them inside the house, but I never did get a damn pepper plant to grow.  Anyway, our seeds sprouting in that little greenhouse was a lovely sight on our porch all spring long.  In the end, we got a few handfuls of things here and there.

We got a few ears of corn, but they'd fallen prey to earwigs, so they were missing at least half of their kernels.  Our potato harvest looked pretty good I think, considering how few potato plants we really had.

Earwig damage on our corn...

My big, beautiful broccoli plants, that I had such high hopes for, were decimated by this little stink bug called a harlequin bug.

What I would really call a success are my tomato plants.  I questioned their viability over and over again, but they held on.  They really went nuts when we put in the wire cages for them to climb.  Our first tomato harvest was a little light, but currently the plants are covered in green tomatoes, and we're harvesting a few red ones every day.

These split when it rained.

We've got two different varieties planted.  The heirloom variety seems to be producing more, but the Arkansas Travelers are huge!  The plants got so big, they ripped their wire cages up out of the ground and actually tipped over.

The overall output of the garden was relatively small compared to how much time and effort it took, but I try to look at it as a learning experience.  I'm frankly ecstatic that we got anything at all.  It's kind of an amazing experience to watch a seed turn into a seedling and grow into a plant and then produce food.  And I'm excited to provide my kids with that experience.  I want them to be aware of where their food comes from.  Now, we're looking into planting a winter garden!

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