Plant A Little Garden …

My Sunday was spent in the vegetable garden, planting this year’s crop of veggies and herbs. We’ve been blessed with an unrelenting string of beautiful weather: low 80’s, cool breezes and sunny skies. The sort of days that make you start thinking life is really a dream. That something ominous must happen soon, if only to act as a balance. Or maybe it is our payment for all the cold, grey, desolate days we suffered through during Winter.

Living in Ohio I suspect we appreciate extraordinarily nice weather more than most.

The valley is thick with a carpet of green. The Summers of our childhood have arrived early this year. It is only June and the bright fields and shadowed forests beckon us to explore. Something engrained deep within each of us is awakened after slumbering through decades of reality.

Planting the garden by myself was a relaxing delight, although it was hard, sweaty work no less. Spiritually fulfilling or not, working the earth is no easy task, even with the benefit of modern tools.

Unlike last year, when we grew a lot of plants from seeds, this year we simply purchased plants at the local garden center. Someday I’d love to have a greenhouse (attached to the bee house), and I could grow all sorts of things from scratch. But it’s just easier sometimes to buy larger plants. I don’t know if the plants we bought are sustainable or GMO free but they are what they are.

Our 20×40 garden plot had become overgrown since I tilled the soil in April. I tried weeding by hand but it got to be too much. I did turn the soil with spade and diced it up a bit. Ultimately though I decided to place down landscape fabric to snuff out all the weeds. I laid out each square in the garden, covered it and pinned the fabric in place. Where a veggie was to be planted I scissored out a 12″ diameter circle, roughed up the soil, spread some general 10-10-10 fertilizer and planted the plant. On top of that I placed some mulch, left over from last year’s projects.

Turns out we have a lot of space left over in the garden. I methodically did my planting yesterday so I ran out of time, so the lavender and New Jersey Teas didn’t get their reprieve from encroaching “weeds”. The veggies only used half the space in the garden. The rest is all weeds. I’m not sure if we’ll get more veggies or not. Frankly unless we sold our crop at a roadside stand, I’m not sure what we’d do with it all. We’ll probably freeze some tomatoes regardless.

Maybe I’ll grow some corn.

Or we can start nursing more lavender.

Here’s what we planted:

  • Basil (2)
  • Tomato (6)
  • Green Pepper (2)
  • Green / Red Pepper Mix (1)
  • Rosemary (1)
  • Cilantro (2)
  • Dill (1)
  • Strawberry (4) (planted in front yard)
  • Parsley (2)
  • Cucumber (3)
  • Zucchini (2)
  • Summer Squash (1)
  • Radishes (3 rows)
  • Sunflowers (I spotted at least 4 that sprouted, planted about 4 dozen)

Growing elsewhere from last year:

  • Bee Balm (1)
  • Oregano (1)
  • Mint (1)
  • Catnip (1)
  • Peaches (3) (planted this year)
  • Blueberries (2 plants near death)
  • Blackberries (wild and domestic)
  • Raspberries (various)
  • Chokeberries (8)
  • Serviceberries (2)
  • Strawberries (6)

No apples this year – they never blossomed for whatever reason.

But we do have peaches!!!  Lots of fuzzy little peaches growing.

Judging by the amount of space we have in our garden, I’m curious how many families we could feed. I’m going to keep track of our harvest as best I can this year. I ate a strawberry yesterday so that’s “one”.

We joined a CSA as well, so quite frankly we’re going to have more fresh food than we know what to do with (hopefully). Which is good. This “experiment” of mine requires a lot of test, trial and error.

Ultimately it would be nice to be 100% self sustaining through growing, managing, bartering and trading. Beyond mortgage, taxes, and education, it would be nice to eliminate most of our expenses.

Food is a big part of that and relatively simple to work towards.