Three years ago he wanted a garden badly enough that he and I moved many wheelbarrows of dirt, manure, and animal bedding into a new area surrounded by railroad ties. He helped pound in T-posts and wrapped the garden in chicken wire. Dad tilled it all in a few times and we were ready to plant. Any vegetables that chickens like to eat (whether seedling or mature plants) are planted inside the fence: tomatoes, peppers, peas, and any tender vegetables. We keep the chickens locked in their pen when we plant corn and squash in the 'outside' garden. Once those plants are grown large enough, the chickens don't bother them at all.
We are not gardening experts, we learn more every year. We planted potatoes last year the way hubby did it when he was growing up. Not one potato grew! We found out this year that you can't go to the store, buy a bag of potatoes, plant them, and expect them to grow. They are now treated with a chemical that prevents them from sprouting. Great for those who want to store potatoes in their kitchen, but not so great if you want to plant them in the garden. We haven't gotten our potatoes planted yet, but we have seed potatoes bought from the local farm supply store. We'll be growing them in barrels this year, just to see if that works.
The first thing we planted this year were the raspberries. We transplanted them from another part of the yard that really was not a good spot for them. Now they are in full sun and should give us a good harvest of berries this fall. They are an everbear variety, but we cut them down in the fall and get a single, large crop each fall.
We also planted blackberry plants. I bought 2 at the local grocery store. My sister wanted some, as well. But since she has a big problem with deer in her yard, we bought 3 more plants and planted them over here. She and her children can harvest from two plants when they are ready.
We planted peas a few weeks ago. We are experimenting with an 'inoculant' to see if the peas grow better with it or without it. The inoculant is called MycoApply Soluble Maxx (20 mycorrhizal Fungi, 16 species of beneficial bacteria, and 2 Trichoderma species.) We soaked all the peas for 12 hours. One-half were soaked in water only, the other half was soaked in inoculant and water. The inoculated peas did sprout first, but we will have to wait to find out if they produce better. The inoculant was recommended by my sister who attended a gardening class with Gordon Wells, a well-known gardening expert in our area. Hubby is not sure it will make a big difference in our garden because we have so much manure and mulch in our garden from 13 years of animal poo and bedding!
We planted the onions (red and yellow) on Monday night. We were going to plant two rows of each onion and give the rest to my sister, but we remembered the deer problem and thought we might as well just plant them over here. They can harvest them when the onions are ready. We also transplanted the spinach and the broccoli on Monday.
Last night we planted two different types of carrots, Purple Haze and Little Finger carrots. We also planted garlic. We are trying to use some of the companion planting ideas found in Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte. If you haven't read the book, borrow it from the library! I enjoy her writing style and the information in the book is very good. She also has a few sample gardens laid out in the book so that first attempts are more successful.
You can also find information about companion planting at this site: