My week has been a little topsy-turvy, so today I'm skipping a podcast and instead showing you bits and pieces of our (very in-progress) garden.
Why a topsy-turvy week? Not only have we spent more time away from home with annual dentist appointments, we've spent more time outside, and I'm swamped (in a good way) by your lovely contributing writer applications. We received more than 100 lovely and inspiring applications!
Just some background on our garden. Last year, we did this grand ‘ole experiment where we covered the beds with netting to keep out the chickens.
We screwed PVC hoops into the sides of the beds. They can be covered with plastic during the off-season to create mini-greenhouses — which we love. During the regular garden season, we used the same hoop structure to stretch the netting across to keep the chickens out.
The netting idea worked okay, but I have to admit it was a big pain. The chickens ate through the netting around the perimeter of the beds. I figure this resulted in a 10% to 20% loss of food. Okay in the scheme of things, but certainly not ideal.
Also it was a pain to water, weed, and harvest. And to top it off, the netting didn't last the season, making it a consumable item, instead of a durable one.
Still…. we did get good food! And we got to garden. And all that is a blessing, no matter what.
But gardening wasn't as fun, efficient, or effective as it could be. So this year, we decided to fence the garden area to keep out the chickens (and wild rabbits, too).
First we weeded and mowed to get the garden area back into shape. (No picture of the wild mess it was after the winter, sorry.) The kids and Jeff hauled more dirt and goat manure to fill up the beds, and then mulched the beds. In the photos below, the wood on the beds was to keep the chickens from scratching until the fence got up.
Then everyone pitched in to put a fence around all the beds.
I started seeds in egg cartons. I did this last year, too, and it worked okay. The seeds I started are: snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, carrots, radishes, and spinach.
The day after all the fencing and seed starting finished, the rains came and so did some cold weather. The seed trays are quite drenched, as you can see — and cold, too. I may cover that seed-starting bed with plastic even though it's practically June!
Yesterday afternoon was dry enough to put purchased plants in — peppers, squashes (both winter and summer), and tomatoes. Jeff trellised the tomatoes, similar to how Laurie trellises for vertical gardening. (Still to do: put in and trellis the cucumbers.)
There's lots more to do! We have lots of pots and lots of space inside the fenced garden area to do container gardening in order to maximize space usage. Jeff is working on making the fence prettier (he's that way — likes things straight). He does it frugally, too, with things we've got… like sticks!
I'm considering this our first real garden since we moved from California in 2006. Two years ago, we gardened with friends and last year was kind of an experiment — but this year, we're really doing how we want to do it. I'm excited and look forward to God's bounty!
How does YOUR garden grow?
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