1 December 2013, by gj
It was 17 growing years ago that we first planted a vegetable garden on the site where we still live.
What started as a simple way to feed the family has changed a great deal over that time.
This is part one in a series to show what we have learned, what changed, and how things evolved from that beginning to a serious commitment to help others learn to grow their own.
The first year was a lesson in where the garden will actually get the most sun. We had moved in during February, and were guesstimating the sun vs. the trees in the yard.
The plan also included a hopscotch area, a grape arbor, and a seating and cooking on the grill feature.
While those didn’t happen, we did stick pretty much to the actual planting plans.
The main thing we learned was to do drawings in pencil, since actual plantings change.
We also learned some about succession planting, and made notes as to which plants finished first, leaving time for others.
The sun estimates turned out to be pretty good, except for the area closest to the house. We hadn’t figured in afternoon sun as well as we should have.
Not surprisingly, the size of the garden grew the following year.
We added an herb bed and strawberries, and we learned you can even grow your own horseradish from a store-bought root.
This year we planted the first two blueberry bushes, and expanded the number of tomato plants.
By a lot.
We had purchased 4 dozen plants, figuring that would do well to meet our family’s needs.
Then my Dad showed up with another 18 plants he had surprisingly started for us. He’s thoughtful that way, and we were able to find more room.
What we really hadn’t planned on were the volunteers that came out of the compost.
So, 75 tomatoes it was; and two years worth of canned goodness.
The wonderful lesson we learned here was it’s a good idea to plant enough to have for more than one season, just in case the next year isn’t as productive.
Now we plan on that.
We also learned that a full packet of lettuce is too much, but the same of carrots is fine- if you don’t mind thinning.
Oh yeah, and that okra isn’t as easy as it looks.
This was also the first year that SaveTheWorld decided to be a part of the garden notebook.
Not bad for a 5 year old; and judging by the size of that smile- she’s enjoying it.