Saturday, March 29, 2014

Love What You Grow and What You Love Will Grow

I have had my own garden since I purchased my very first house when I was 21 years old. It was tiny, I didn't allow enough space in my rows, it all grew together and by July it was covered in weeds and I ended up mowing it down. It was a failure. But the next Spring, I planted another garden and it got better every year. It still does. To me, that's the beauty of Spring - Winter kills everything off and Spring is your fresh start.

Now, almost ten years later I actually know what I am doing. I keep a very neat garden, weeds are not allowed for more than a day, I grow only what I buy in the stores and I pick one different thing to try every year.  I spend a lot of the winter researching different gardening tips and shopping at one of my favorite gardening stores, Gardeners Supply.

The first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is that you want to plant. It's always fun to try new stuff, but as I mentioned above, try and mainly grow the things that you purchase regularly at the grocery store. Gardens are a lot of work and a lot of maintenance so you don't want to get burnt out growing things that you don't eat.

This year I plan to grow the following:

  • Sweet Corn (2 rows)
  • Baby Red Potatoes (2 rows) 
  • Tomatoes (4 -5 plants)
  • Cucumbers (2 rows)
  • Broccoli (1 row) 
  • Cabbage (1 row) 
  • Zinnias (flowers just to border one side of the garden, i love fresh cut flowers in my home)
I usually buy my seeds at the local Farm and Home store, but I really don't think that you can go wrong in any seed purchase as long as they are not old seeds. 

When picking just the right spot in your yard for a garden please consider the following:
  • An area with full sun
  • Close to a water source for easy watering of your garden during the hot summer months
  • If you live in the country (like my farmer and I) don't plant it close to a field, you can get over spray and chemicals used on your crops will kill your produce. 
  • If you live in town, be careful planting close to a neighbor, any chemicals that they use could also kill your produce. 
After you have decided what you are going to grow, and picked your spot, you need to make sure that its the right size. Always remember this - YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH SPACE IN BETWEEN YOUR ROWS. In the beginning everything may seem so spread out, but once July comes, and you have ample rainfall and sunshine, your little garden soon takes over. Not all crops mature at the same rate so leave 18 to 24 inch pathways between rows to allow easy weeding and harvesting. 

The ole saying around here is to have you potatoes in the ground by St. Patty's day (that was 2 weeks ago)... it's entirely too wet still - which this future farmers wife is not complaining about. As soon as it dries up I will till up my garden and start my planting and when I do that I will write a post by post of everything that I plant and my tricks that I have learned over the years, i.e. (cucumbers growing up cattle panels, always throw your ashes from your charcoal grill in your garden, coffee grounds are great for tomato plants, and always keep a rain gauge in your garden. 

My farmer and I are still in the early stages of our new farmhouse construction. I know, a month ago i said we were in the beginning stages, we are currently waiting on a survey of our land and for approval from our local County Planning and Zoning to build. It's a lot of hoops to jump though, but the general idea of that is to preserve farm ground in this county, and of course, we are all for that. 

I have really been wanting to start a strawberry patch, but I am going to wait until next Spring when the house is done and I know exactly what I want in my yard. Next Spring will also bring my very own little orchard. Small fruit trees lines up perfectly to replicate the beautiful orchards that are in this area of our state. I think someday that picking strawberries and fruit from the trees is the perfect chore for my little farm kids. What better way to learn to appreciate the land and respect the hard work it takes to grow something.

 So for this year, I will continue with my vegetable garden and plan for the upcoming year - because after all, to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. 

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