Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gardening

Gardening, farming, and raising animals are not my first love! But we feel inspired to do it, especially because Vet2Be loves them. I can understand how a 14 year old boy would want to be a veterinarian, but I would never have thought that he would like to garden, too.

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.

In this photo you can see two rows of raspberry plants surrounded by a string fence. That is to remind people not to walk on the new plants. You can see three of the five blackberry plants to the right of the raspberries and the "quick and easy grape arbor" towards the back.

Below is a better photo of our "quick and easy grape arbor". There is a grape plant by each T-post. The grapes should grow up and over the top with the grapes hanging down below the fencing. Next year when the grapes have filled in, we will plant some pumpkins underneath since pumpkin plants tend to wilt miserably in the full sun in August. Vet2Be's favorite Banty rooster is posing for his picture! He is the same one that is 'friends' with Flat Stanley!


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!

The inoculated peas are planted along the left and the un-inoculated pease are planted along right side of the garden near the railroad ties. The peas will be 'trained' to grow up the fence. The wall-o-waters in the front hold the peppers (2 red, 1 green, 1 yellow) and the ones toward the back hold the tomatoes. The spinach is planted on the right side of the garden past the peppers. The brocolli is planted on the left side of the garden. The Little Finger carrots are planted between the tomatoes and the peas on the right side of the garden (way in the back!) We used paint stirrers as plant markers this year.

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.

The onions are planted in the vertical rows. Three rows of red onions and 3 rows of yellow. The garlic is planted in a horizontal row in front of the onions. Since carrots are supposed to do well with both tomatoes, peas, and onions, we planted the Purple Haze carrots to the left of the onions.

You can also find information about companion planting at this site:
http://www.tinkersgardens.com/vegetables/companionplanting.asp

This spot looks good! The front flower beds are all planted in perenials which means I don't do a thing in the spring except weed a bit (haven't this year, though). The perenials are all gone by mid-July and my beds are just full of green, leafy plants--but no flowers.

1 comment:

Busy Grandma Elsie said...

Hey I enjoyed reading about your garden.Brings back memories of when My hubby & I did our garden . I wouldn't take anything for those memories. I can't have garden now because of the deer but I do have a few things on my patio, Lettuce & chives in planters and some spices.Along with my flowers. i have a bad arthritis back but can set on a stool and tend to my stuff.
i love it.
thank you for blogging about yours.
Elsie <><