Garden

Eating local food has never been as important for me as trying to grow as much of my food as possible. My first spring in our house I dug up the front yard, put garden boxes on a rock covered area that I guess was meant to be more driveway, and dug up a square of the backyard. I probably would have dug up the whole backyard if it got more sun, but sadly the backyard is shaded most of the day.

These beds in the front yard are edged by old house bricks laying around the neighborhood, and old wood laying around my yard.

Growing a lot of my food is and has been my goal, but it’s a goal that is far off. I only have about a tenth of an acre lot, so space is an issue. The other problem I have is that I tend to lose interest midsummer. It doesn’t help that I go away for two 2 week vacations to visit my family and the beach.

This is the other side of the front yard with my unstaked tomatoes and pepper plants. This area also housed cucumbers in the summer.

Another problem I’ve been dealing with are cats. My neighbors feed these “wild” cats who breed with reckless abandon. They poop in my freshly dug soil and walk all over everything, so any seed I put in the ground never comes up. They don’t mess with my plants, fortunately. They leave that for the groundhogs and deer.

This is the side yard, in front of where I park my car. At some time in the past, someone dumped tons of rock there, so I just put in raised beds. That area gets the most sun all day, and the boxes dry out fast, so I haven’t found the perfect crop there yet.

The deer like to eat the fresh shoots on my blueberry bushes and cherry tree. I put in four blueberry bushes the first summer I was here between the road and the sidewalk in front of my house, and they’ve been getting smaller rather than larger. I keep them covered with netting all the time now, which seems to be working. I also netted the cherry tree I planted this year, but that didn’t deter the japanese beetles who decimated it.

All in all, though I think the garden is coming all nicely. I got more out of it than last year, so we’re making progress. I harvested about 10 pounds of potatoes, a bunch of cherry tomatoes, a steady stream of cherokee purples (my favorite big tomato), and some lettuce in the spring, a few sugar snap peas….The peppers did very well this year. I got a few red ones, and a lot of green ones, enough to freeze a big bag full.

This is our backyard garden. We’ve grown potatoes back here 2 years in a row, so next year we’ll have to put something else back there.

My swiss chard was the darling of the garden this year. Last year it was the collard greens. I’ve been cutting it since spring for salads mostly, but now I’ve been cooking it too. I found that if I just barely steam it, it’s quite good. If it cooks more than enough to wilt it, I don’t like it. I’m going to try to substitute it for spinach in my lasagna recipe this week and see how it does there.

One of my goals with this local food year is to make my garden more like a job, and less of a hobby. Right now my garden is a hobby, a serious hobby, mind you, but a hobby nonetheless. I want to take it to the next level this year and really take care of my plants after I plop them into the ground.

 

What are your gardening secrets? How do you combat the animals and slugs that want to eat everything? How much do you get out of it? What does the best for you?

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6 thoughts on “Garden

  1. I am really interested in growing our own food, but I am really scared of the idea too because it seems like so much work and I am already pretty busy. I hope by next spring we can be fairly into a regular routine and have gardening be part of the homeschool experience.

  2. I have 3 raised beds approx 4 ft by 12 ft. I have been very successful with zucchini, tomatoes and yellow and green beans. My freezer if FULL and I am set with those 3 veg. until next summer. I have chicken wire a foot high around each bed to keep out the critters. My house backs onto a little wooded ravine and we tend to have raccoons on the prowl.

  3. To stop cats using your beautifully prepared soil as a litter tray, i find if you have thorny bramble branches (or rose cuttings) decorate your soil with a criss cross of long and short thorny branches, cats don’t like a thorn up the bottom! it doesn’t look very nice and you’ll need gloves, but its free. and when plants become established you just take the thorns away and stack them to use another time.

  4. I love my garden. I am able to successfully grow tomatoes. And a TON of them. I have an entire bed 6×10 devoted to tomato plants. We have made at least 10 HUGE batches of homemade salsa with my tomatoes.

    My son had a fun time planting seeds in his flower pots and he ended up with a bunch of sugar snap peas and carrots. I love love love our local burger joint, instead of toys they give out seed packs to the kids.

    I’ve also been able to grow zuchinni … but don’t care for them. And bell peppers. But my favorite veggie, cucumbers, dislike me and do not want to be a part of my garden. 😦

    we fortunately have not had issues with bugs or slugs. But you can put egg shells ontop of the soil around the plants to help with that. And as far as cats, our garden is started with plants so I don’t have to worry about them digging up seeds. (except in my sons, pots, those are seeds…but cats have a hard time getting in them).

  5. i am so interested in this. we just moved to PA this year from TX… where nothing grows! we are renting right now and the concept of starting a garden where we wont be for much longer is a tough pill to swallow. i will be taking as many tips as i can for when we move, as well as any portable gardens!!

  6. Pingback: Giveaway Winner and New Giveaway | Mama Made Them

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