A tour of my September Garden

A tour of my September Garden

Spring may be around the corner, but there is still several inches of snow covering my garden. I have been busy indoors getting my 2014 garden started, but more on that in a later post. In this post I will update you on the new method of gardening I am trying this year.

It is called the Back to Eden method and it is based on a film that is worth watching here.

The film tells the story of a modest gardener, Paul, who moved to some property in Washington state which did not have enough well pressure to water his garden. He still wanted to grow  all the food his family needed and so he turned to nature and God for inspiration. He walked through the woods and noticed that nowhere in nature do you see bare earth. It is always covered by a layer of decomposing material, such as leaves, branches, dead grass. and the soil is always rich and moist. Yet, when we humans  must insist on always pulling the cover off of our land to expose the soil below, which causes it to dry, crack, and lose nutrients. When Paul returned from the woods, piled 10 inches of ground up trees into his newly planted  orchard. Over the next few years his orchard thrived and developed rich, moist soil, yet his bare earth garden was barely producing. Then Paul covered his entire garden in a few inches of ground up trees and his garden has been rich and lush ever since.

After watching the film 4 or 5 times, I decided to fully commit to Paul’s methods. I found a local tree service and got a few free loads of ground up trees and over the next couple of months, Handy Hubby and I covered the garden with 4 to 6 inches of chipped up wood. I took videos of the process and the first on is shown below, but first I want to leave you with a few pictures of our winter so far. Pumkin's first snow

 

winter wonderland

 

peaking through the fence

 

cold day to be a chicken

 

on top of seed heads

 

cold winter garden

 

sycamore in the snow

 

this is what -15 looks like

 

waist high drift

 

our road is somewhere under all that snow

 

we are not getting the cars out today!

 

 

Goodbye Hardcore Gardener, Hello Growing up Garden

Goodbye Hardcore Gardener, Hello Growing up Garden

So, I have been giving my blog a  lot of thought lately and have been searching inside myself to discover why i have lost some of my passion for it. I have come to the conclusion that since becoming a Mom, I have changed, perhaps for the better. Since seeing my tiny little bundle of joy, I have devoted a lot of my time to researching how I can nurture him and give him the best start to life. This research has led me to cloth diaper, wear my Baby instead of carry him around in his car seat, partial co-sleep, and breastfeeding. Some might call it attachment parenting, but I call it  Organic Parenting.

My Pumpkin & I


I look around at all the chunky formula-fed babies who grow up addicted to snack foods and technology, and it makes me want something different for Pumpkin. I want him to be the kind of kid who comes home from school, drops his bag, and runs outside to play. I want hi to have empathy for nature and an understanding of where our food comes from. I want him to camp, hike, and learn from nature.This means that my gardening is even more important to me now. I see it as a teaching ground for many of life’s lessons and a place for me to grow nutritious food free of hormones and pesticides. Pumpkin is only 5 months old, but the garden will soon become a big part of his life when he starts ting from it in one month.

So what is the purpose of this new blog? Whom do I intend to follow? My vision for this blog is a place where people of all ages come to learn how to grow and learn from your garden; how to preserve everything you grow and how to raise a child who knows and loves the outdoors. Growing up Garden is about wanting more for your family then well-traveled, ultra processed foods and getting kids off the couch and into nature.

My little Pumpkin

This is what motivates me to learn where our food comes from and what effect it has on the body. Because he is so worth that.

First Few Harvests of the Year!

First Few Harvests of the Year!

In the past couple of weeks I have had my first official harvests from my 2013 garden.

Here is my harvest from June 6th. I harvested 8 oz of spinach  along with some basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, and 4 oz of strawberries. The spinach became a salad for supper and the strawberries went into a strawberry mousse for dessert.

 

Harvest from 6-6-13

 

Here is my harvest from yesterday. I processed the spinach for the freezer and got another 8 oz of strawberries. It is amazing how much better tasting home grown strawberries are. The strawberries will be used to make some jam. I am also getting 4 to 6 eggs per day.

Harvest from 6-12-13

 

I am hoping to add a running tally on the side board as soon as I figure out how.

My May Garden

My May Garden

 

I think my garden is finally ready for its close up. I’ve spent all of my free time trying to pull bindweed and this is the first chance I’ve gotten to show off my garden.

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I have flats of beans, edamame, corn, herbs, and lentils sitting in flats near the house. The beds these go into are full of spinach, peas, and bindweed.

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My tomatoes too are waiting to be planted along with peppers, eggplants, basil, and my mystery plants. Most of these were planted back in February.

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My mystery plants. They are coming up in my alphabet series (letter G).

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The baptisia I started from seeds don’t look the greatest, but there are lots of new sprouts at each plant.

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My herb garden. From left to right I have chives, chocolate mint, lavendar, oregano, and sage. I also have basil, rosemary, and two types of parsley.

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The raspberries are full of blooms. I think we are going to get a good crop this year. This bed is 3 years old.

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The rhubarb exploded this year. We harvested over a dozen 2 foot stalks that where used for rhubarb shortcake, rhubarb crisp, jelly and given away to family.

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This is my bed 7. It is suppose to have peas in it, however, the bindweed is the worst in this bed so I decided not to plant in it until I got the bindweed under control. I’ve been pulling bindweed from this bed now for over a month.  The beans and other legumes will be planted in here shortly.

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Bed 6 is full of peas now. Eggplants and peppers will occupy this bed next.

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Bed 5 just has spinach inside for now. I will plant corn in this bed.

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Bed 4 has my second sowing of broccoli. The squash will follow.

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Bed 3 is home to the onions, leeks, and carrots.

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I had to buy onion sets this year due to poor germination rate with my onion seed from last year.

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I planted some of my storage onions that were beginning to sprout. These will produce oinon seeds for me to use next year.

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My leeks are tucked in behind the seed onions.

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So far I have 2 carrots planted from 2 packages of seeds. I still seem to have rotten luck with carrots.

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My garlic is growing well. i planted the cloves last September.

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I didn’t realize how crooked my lettuce rows were until I snapped a picture of bed 2. I could harvest these at any time, but I think I am going to  let them grow into heads of lettuce.

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The lettuce is already starting to form heads.

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Bed 1 has my first planting of broccoli and some cabbage.

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The cabbage is also starting to form heads.

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I planted three types of june-bearing strawberries this year and they are growing well.

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I wish I could say they same about my blueberries. These were some the rabbits got. They still have fruit forming, but they aren’t pretty.

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Sage and Ginger are helping show off something new. Jerusalem artichokes will take the place of potatoes this winter. They will be stored in the ground all year and can be harvested as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Any left in the ground will grow to form more tubers for next year.

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My second planting of blueberries are doing much better then the ones chewed on by rabbits. I protected them over the winter months from hungry critter and they are rewarding me with berries.

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It was very hard to get a good picture of the asparagus because it has been very windy this summer, but you get the picture. All the crowns I planted have sprouted baby ferns and are flowering.

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Last, but not least are these two beauties, but don’t get too close because they have thorns. These are my two gooseberry bushes and they too are full of blooms. I am mostly growing these for my Grandmother, who loves the tart fruits. Every year she makes the journey to Winchester, IN where a small bakery/eatery makes and sells all kinds of pies. There she buys a gooseberry pie and savors it while recalling memories from her childhood. Last year the drought did not produce enough for Winchester to make gooseberry pie so she didn’t get to taste her beloved gooseberry. Hopefully these two small bushed will ensure it never happens again.

 

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D is for Deer

D is for Deer

My poor peach tree was shredded when a deer decided to use it as a scratching post and rub his scent on it. Deer have also eaten my tulips. Fortunately, they haven’t ever damaged plants growing in my garden. I see hoof prints going through my beds occasionally, but they don’t  touch anything. Deer have a very strong sense of smell, which we can take advantage of when trying to deter them. Planting strong smelling herbs throughout the garden, human hair, and marigolds have all been used to repel deer, however, deer have been known to eat marigolds and herbs if nothing else is available. Motion activated sprinklers are recommended to scare off rabbits, deer, cats, and any other critter that wonders to close. They turn on at night and send out a spray of water anytime something moves into range. If I ever have trouble, I think I will try another smell deterent which uses a rotten egg smell. You crack an egg into a 5 gallon bucket of water, let it sit for a couple of days, then spray it around your yard. Supposidly, humans can’t smell it, but deer can and avoid the area.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than an entire crop chewed to the ground by an unknown entity. I can’t imagine how devistating damage from deer and other animals were back when families depended on a garden for food. They couldn’t just travel to a store to pick up some green beans if their whole crops failed. Prehaps the best way to combat damage and disease is to grow 10% more plants then you need and try multiple varieties.