Garden Set

I think I’m finally done planting this season. As we move into warmer weather, I have done my best to get all the really hard work done in my garden so now it’s just a bit of maintenance to keep it going (and growing). Here’s what I have done so far…

The first thing I did this year, was dig up a garden bed. I dug up a 4’x8′ section for wheat. It took a lot more effort than I imagined to just dig up this section. I didn’t add any soil to my dirt there, but I did have to amend it with limestone. Then I covered the area with a 50lb bag of compost and raked it into the soil. I then spread out some seed, raked that in, and hoped for the best. I put twine around this section in the hopes that I could keep by husky out of the area. She likes to bury treats sometimes and I wanted to keep her out.

I realized over the next week, when it became popular for the birds to visit, that I probably didn’t plant the seeds far enough down. Despite the site getting picked daily by birds, I do have some wheat growing. It’s funny because it looks like I dug up a patch of grass to plant more grass.

I had a lot of seeds growing under lights in the house. Most of them germinated and I had high hopes. In fact, I was overjoyed. I checked on them every day and I talked to them. You can see pictures of them in this post. Then I overwatered them and most of them damped off and died. This really depressed me. I had some seeds leftover, so I planted more straight in the garden bags outside. I was careful to not overwater them. I was much more successful outside. And yes, I check on them every day and talk to them outside. It can’t hurt.

I used garden bags for the majority of my plants. I chose all black bags in 2, 5, 7, 10, and 20-gallon garden bags. As I suspected, the dirt to fill these bags was pretty expensive. I used about fifteen 25 quart bags to fill them, but I used great soil and I’ve had pretty good starts so far. It feels like a good investment.

I might have actually overplanted. Like, I have so many things growing that it has become hard to keep track. Here is what I have growing, from seed, in garden bags:

  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Cucumber
  • Cilantro
  • Bell Pepper
  • Oregano

I did buy starter plants of tomatoes, basil, peppermint, and lavender because I just couldn’t get them to even germinate for me. I also purchased a blueberry bush plant and an elderberry plant. I don’t expect it to produce any fruit for me this year.

I originally had these bags on concrete blocks in my backyard, but now that most of our backyard trees have leaves, I see the blocks are actually shaded most of the day. I moved them into the center of my yard so that they will get 6+ hours of sunshine every day. I am keeping the herbs I am growing on my sunny deck for easy access.

Once I got my bags growing, I set out to find a place for my potatoes. I was going to grow them in bags as well, but I decided to try using my yard and growing them in straw. For this method, I planted the potatoes just barely in the dirt and then covered them with straw. Potatoes need to be “hilled” once they start growing and I plan to use the straw to hill them as well. I am hoping this makes harvesting easier. I have no idea if this will work.

I carved out a 4’x7′ bed, added limestone, wet the soil, set the potatoes, and then covered them with straw. This area is close to my house, so I hope the dog is able to deter animals from digging up my potatoes.

I enlisted my son’s help for this plot, so it was a lot easier. I piled up the grass from the yarn and I’ll be using it in a future compost bin. Sadly, my compost bin is nowhere near ready for the garden. It is a steady 60°, which is way too cool for compost. Hopefully, it heats up as the weather heats up. I’m planning to use it for winter wheat.

Summer is the perfect time for corn in New England. I’ve seen corn growing in so many yards up here that it seemed a no-brainer crop to add to my backyard.

I didn’t start them indoors so I am just hoping that we will have enough warm days for the corn to grow. Originally, I wanted them in a raised bed. I had this idea to make beds out of some old pallets that we have but my husband talked me out of that. The pallets were much harder to take apart than I expected. It was so much work and then the wood from the pallets wasn’t enough for a raised bed. Hats off to anyone that make beds from pallets. It is much harder than the internet led me to believe.

My husband offered to buy concrete blocks for our corn bed and I was so relieved. The concrete block allows me to plant some flowers, which weren’t part of my original plan but always appealed to me, and it is a permanent fixture in our yard. Of course, I will have to add a trellis for my corn as it grows so it doesn’t fall over, but that is tomorrow’s problem.

The only drawback to this bed was how much stuff it took to fill it. I lined the bottom with brown craft paper to keep the grass from coming through. I then added a whole bunch of felled branches and most of an old tree stump to start. I added 4 bags of topsoil and a 50lb bag of compost, and that only filled about 1/3 of it. It took 12.5 cubic yards of soil to get it to the top. I found some organic soil locally at a great price but it was very heavy. I had to get someone to load it into my car and then my son helped me to pour it into the bed. My daughter helped me to fill all the holes and she picked out all the flowers.

Now I just have to water, weed as needed, and wait. I don’t expect this to produce enough food to feed my family, but I’m hoping it will help supplement our grocery bill a little bit. As a family of five, we are definitely feeling inflation in food and gas prices.

In other exciting news, we are definitely getting chickens in the next few weeks. Not babies, I’m not interested in incubating them and all that entails, but egg-laying chickens! I’m sure chickens will be an adventure onto itself. I’m ready and I cannot wait.

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