Monday, April 18, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This year Jeremy and I decided to (attempt to) grow a garden. I do not have a green thumb, or a green anything, but in the last year or so I've found that I rather enjoy gardening (but not so much the weeding) and have done a lot more in the way of flowers/landscaping around our home and yard.

The obvious reasons for taking on this adventure is to help cut down on food costs. At almost any time, if I ask Carter "What should we have for supper?" he'll say "Begtables". Green beans first, then corn, then peas. He also happens to very much like raw potatoes. (I don't get it either. My mom is the only other person I know that eats potatoes raw.) So my hope is to freeze/can as much as we can this year and to also expand our garden just a little every year. Try some new and different things. Plus, I think we all can agree that there is nothing that compares to fresh corn on the cob!

I also have very fond memories of helping my mom and dad shuck peas and snap beans. It would be a summer evening with the windows and doors open with the summer air floating in, either watching TV or listening to the Royals on the radio. We each had a cookie sheet full of beans or peas and two bowls. One bowl for the ends of the beans we'd snap off or the pea pods and the other bowl for the beans snapped in half or the shucked peas. I wonder now how much actually made it into the bowls and how much we ate. Funny - I don't have the same fond memories of butchering chickens...

When we set out to do our garden, we tried very hard to make a point not to do any part of it halfway. Because if I know myself like I think I do, I will be able to find any excuse to not do something for whatever reason. So here it is...

When we first talked about cutting out a corner of the corral for the garden, it was going to be about 3 times this size. Then when we actually started laying it out and putting the telephones poles in place, I had to cut it down by 1/3. I knew that if it was too big, I'd get overwhelmed and give up on it. I figured since this is my first year taking on anything like this, we would try this out and see how it works. We can always make it bigger next year if we need to.

We are growing cucumbers, potatoes, snap peas, snow peas, green beans, onions, sweet corn, lettuce, sweet bell peppers, chives and dill (for pickles). And maybe a teeny tiny tomato plant since Carter is the only one who likes tomatoes and I might try my hand at salsa. We may try to grow some type of fruit plants/trees in the near future as well.

The big arch toward the back of the garden is where we are growing cucumbers. The rumor is that the cucumber plants will grow up the fence and then we can pick them from under the arch and they won't have any white spots on them from laying in the ground. Trial and error I suppose. And potatoes - we've heard that once the green plants start sprouting, place a tire around them and fill it in with straw. The plants will continue to grow up. Once they poke out of the straw, repeat with another tire and more straw and so on and so on. Eventually, what will happen, supposedly, is that the potatoes will grow from the sprouts and into the straw. When you are ready to harvest, you peel off a tire and collect your potatoes. No digging in the dirt to find them as they all just fall out of the straw. I don't have any proof of this method and I'm not sure we will try it, but if we do, I'll let you know how it turns out. We also set up a panel for the peas and green beans to grow up on.

Jeremy will add a short round of chicken wire around the bottom and hopefully that will critter-proof our garden. I would be very upset if it was ruined because of our family of rabbits, or curious coons, etc. I'm grateful that my husband has been supportive and helpful of this idea and I think it will be good for our family. I'm excited to have Carter help grow and harvest the vegetables.

I'll keep you updated as things start to come to life in the garden.