I have been writing a lot about baking, so now it’s time to move out of the house and into the garden!
Last year we thought it convenient to plant our garden in the plot that was already there. Unfortunately, there were several unforeseen issues with this area.
- Half of the garden is shaded by two trees- which provided an excellent roof over our corn for a herd of deer.
- The weeds were hard to control in such a large plot
- We weren’t able to harvest the full extent of our plants (again due to poor lighting)- our peppers didn’t even come in until late fall, and weren’t even mature before the frost.
This year we decided to fix these issues with the use of raised garden beds placed in our pasture where our sunlight is not blocked.
We bought cinder blocks at $1.16 a piece, and placed them in 4X5 rectangles. To help control the weeds and prairie grass from the pasture, we filled the bottom of each bed with 2-4 layers of cardboard. (In hind sight: we aren’t sure if the cardboard was too thick for our plants to really take root and grow faster) We do get some prairie grasses that come up along the edges, but they are much easier to pluck out.
Sifting dirt from an old burn pile (previous people burned garbage so there are many rusty nails and metal bits that we needed to get out), we filled our beds with the dirt, composted food, and chicken manure. My son thinks the dirt should be in the holes of the blocks too so he usually transfers some from the garden.
My lovely chickens had a mind of their own to check out the gardens. They ended up destroying our first set of tomatoes. We also believe that they spread and/or ate our watermelon and cucumber seeds as well. So we put up plastic fences keeping them at bay that will be removed once our plants are out of danger from chicken scratching.
For our growing cucumbers, we rigged up a trellis of twine, and T-posts.
Excited to see what our garden gives us this year! Happy gardening and harvesting!