My 2011 Garden

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Those of you who have faithfully followed me through the past couple of years know that this year will be our third attempt at gardening. We haven’t had very much luck in the garden so far, but we’ve learned a lot and have at least been able to harvest a handful of stuff, so that’s encouraging!!

This year I’ve decided to try a few new things, and I’ve been working on getting some perennials established for future harvests. With a little luck, most of what I’ve planted will come up and flourish.

I’ve left most of the garden space unplanted thisΒ  year, and am mostly just filling the raised beds with veggies. Trying not to overwhelm myself seeing as I’ll have a new baby to care for soon. I would like to get some cover crops planted so that at least the soil could be getting some nutrients while it isn’t being used.

It’s not much yet, but here’s a glimpse into what my garden looks like so far this year…

On the right side of this first box you might be able to see the little onion tops coming out of the soil. These were the ones I started from seed indoors, and they are doing great! I should have done more though, gotta find something to fill the rest of the box with. Maybe some more onions from bulbs? In the meantime, I’ve been stealing the soil from this box to put elsewhere.

They are so small you can hardly see them, but this box is full of newly transplanted tomato seedlings. There are three different types in here; two slicing varieties and one paste tomato, though I got them all mixed up and can’t tell them apart as of yet. Oh well. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.

I crushed eggshells and sprinkled them around each plant, for calcium. I also added some rabbit droppings all around as well. I’ll mulch with straw eventually. Oh, and see the 2-liter bottles sticking out of the soil? I’m trying something new this year. Since I’ve had so many problems with blossom end rot and splitting tomatoes from uneven watering, I thought this year I’d try this watering method. I’ll give a tutorial on what exactly it is soon, but hopefully it’ll work well for me, I’m ready to have some tomatoes to can!

My broccoli is looking good! I transplanted this broccoli about 6 weeks ago. After putting each seedling into the soil, I added a generous heap of old chicken manure between each row. I’ve been mulching with hay I’ve scooped out of the goat’s pen. This is the first time I’ve tried growing broccoli. I’m wondering if I ought to get a floating row cover to protect my plants from bugs.

In this bed I’ve got a few more broccoli that were transplanted. I also direct sowed some from seeds. I didn’t add chicken manure to this bed, just to see what a difference it would make. So far, a very noticeable difference! I think I’ll add some manure soon. I also transplanted and direct sowed some cabbage, but it’s not doing so good. I might try sowing some more soon if I don’t see an improvement.

I planted a row of nasturtiums along the left side of this box, with the hopes that it will help the broccoli in the box beside it. You can’t see them yet, but I’ve also filled this box with green beans (the bush variety). Maybe they’ll poke through soon!

Here are my lettuce and carrots. Lookin good! I transplanted some lettuce seedlings I’d started indoors, but almost all of them died. The seeds I sowed directly though are doing great! This is Buttercrunch lettuce. The little carrots are coming up nicely as well.

Still tiny and hard to see in the photo, but this bed was recently planted with my pimento pepper seedlings. I figured I’d just grow a bunch of these to can this year, and I’ll do bell peppers next year.

And check out my strawberries!! Remember when I first got these guys in the mail and thought they were a total loss? Even after moving them a couple times, they’re still going strong. Strawberries have got to be my favorite thing to grow yet. No watering; they multiply on their own; they come back every year… what’s not to love?

I’ve totally lost track of which plants are the “mother” and which are new, but that’s okay. I’ll worry about thinning them out and transplanting them somewhere else later. It’s looking like we’re gonna have a lot more strawberries this year!

Oh yeah, I’ve also planted squash, cucumbers, and globe artichokes outside of the garden area.

In my front yard, along our fence, I’ve been working on getting some herbs established. So far I’ve planted…

  • Marshmallow
  • Wooly Lambs Ear
  • Lemon Balm
  • Chives
  • Echinacea
  • Oregano
  • Catnip
  • Cilantro
  • Yarrow
  • (x2) Elderberry bushes

My mother-in-law also brought me this beautiful mint (peppermint?) plant. It was a cutting from the mint her mother planted years and years ago. She told me how her mother used to have my husband pick leaves from it for her when he was a child, and made tea from them.Very cool.

I still have more herbs to go into the ground once they’ve hardened off. Right now, under the grow light, I’ve got…

  • Lemon Balm
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary

Plus, I’ve been trying to weed and water the fruit trees and bushes we’ve put in over the past year or two:

  • 2 Apple Trees
  • 2 Peach Trees
  • 3 Scuppernong vines
  • 2 Fig Trees
  • And a blueberry bush

So, lots of stuff going into the ground this year, and lots to look after!! I’m praying that the perennial herbs and the fruit trees/bushes we’ve put in will really take off and be even bigger next year. It will be nice to have a few edibles established that I won’t have to worry about planting year after year, you know?

As you can see, I’ve been very busy just doing a little every day. There are still a few more things to put in, but I’m almost done. I’ll be so thankful if I’m able to harvest anything from all of my hard work, and put it up for the winter.

That’s it for now! Hopefully the next time I show you pictures from my garden it will have grown some!


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Kendra
About Kendra 1104 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

19 Comments

  1. I just started container gardening with my children this year and I’m totally overwhelmed but your blog is giving me hope! I’ve got a LOT to learn but I love how you’ve charted your journey. I keep having to remind myself that all the posts I’ve read tonight took you two years but your progress is amazing and so helpful! So far, we’ve planted two rosebushes in the ground (rocky GA clay!), several hanging pots and window boxes full of assorted annuals we got from a local nursery and transplanted, cayenne peppers that my 6-year-old fell in love with at the nursery (seedlings we transplanted to pots), watermelon and canteloupe seedlings from the nursery in pots, watermelon and pumpkin seeds we started in peat pots inside and transplanted to big pots outside, watermelon and pumpkin seeds we started in pots outside, watermelon and pumpkin seeds we planted in the ground (don’t have much hope for these but figured it was worth a try), carrots and cucumbers in pots, strawberry seeds in a pot and bare root strawberries like you started with in hanging pots. I need to stay away from the nursery for a couple of weeks but the next time I go, I may get some “live” strawberry plants to hold me over till mine get going. I have a couple of friends who have done really well with container gardening and a couple who’ve had no luck at all. I decided to give it a try this year and see how it goes…we’re in a rental house and the landlord isn’t too keen on me filling the yard with raised beds or plowing up most of the yard. If this year is a complete disaster then we may have to fight that fight next year.

    Anyway, I found your blog when I googled for information about planting strawberries (the instructions that came with mine said not to bury the “crown” and I’m so clueless I didn’t even know what the crown was till I saw the pic in your first strawberry post!) and I’m loving it. I had complicated pregnancies and deliveries so I couldn’t have a homebirth but I’m considering a career change to become a midwife and I am one of those cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural parenting “freaks” (well, I was for years…I’m done with diapering and nursing for a while but apparently I’m still a freak!) Just wanted to say hi and thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. Kendra,
    I love the raised beds. I didn’t have time to build any this year as we’ve been so busy with the berries. Stopby my site and check out our progress.

    Michael

  3. Regarding blueberry bushes–We have one and it’s doing great by itself. We get more and more berries on it every year.

    Your strawberry plants look great, but it’s really best to thin them either every year in the fall or very early spring. Dense plants are susceptible especially to strawberry gray mold, which can ruin most of your strawberries. We learned this from experience during our second year with strawberries. Our healthy yield, and overall yield, has greatly increased since we’ve started thinning the plants each year. More foliage doesn’t mean more berries; usually the opposite, and greatly increases the chance of fungal diseases like gray mold. They need to get a lot of air circulating between the plants. It’s also good to have some type of mulch under the plants such as straw, so the developing berries stay out of contact with the soil, as this also increases the chance of fungal disease ruining your berries.

    “Lush plant growth and cultivars that have dense foliage that shade blossoms and fruit are most susceptible to attack. Space plants properly so that air can move freely between them. Promote good air drainage by controlling weeds and keeping beds thinned by renovation. This allows rapid drying after rains and of dew, which reduces the probability of infection. Also avoid spring applications of excessive high nitrogen fertilizer since this may produce excessive, thick foliage which will prevent rapid drying of berries.”

  4. Garden looks great! Another way to deal with the mint family is to plant the plant inside a container, in the ground. The roots can’t get beyond the plastic container and since it’s in the ground, you can’t see the container from the outside. It’s the roots you have to worry about more than the leaves.

    Onions have always been easy for me to grow. You can buy another set of starts at the nursery and see how they do in the bed.

    Good that you are using aged manure – it it’s too fresh it will burn the vegetables.

    We are possibly moving – to SC – so I haven’t been able to put in my garden this year since I don’t know what is going on. πŸ™

  5. Your boxes look so nice! Don’t give up. It’s like you said, you learn a little more each year! Make notes on what you’re doing and it will help in future years. I have to concentrate on my successes when I get discouraged. And because the weather and insects vary from year to year, so do the crops. Last year was not our best tomato year, but our onions, potatoes, and lettuce did fabulous. I’m attributing it to the cooler summer. It could be the reverse this year.

  6. Your garden beds look great! I’ve not had too much success so far… this is our 1st year …in a string of years without planting. We’ve never had our garden in the same spot. I think that could part of my problem.
    I’m using pop bottles too, like little cloches to cover my small plants. I’ll be curious to see your method.
    Hope your garden produces a great yeild!
    Pat

    • Pat,

      The bottles for cloches is another idea I’ve been wanting to try… like little mini green houses! You’ll have to let me know how it works out for you. I was thinking, if we have any freezing temps sneak up on us, I’d use bottles to cover my tomato plants. Hopefully our frosts are past though!!

  7. Looks wonderful! You have really been busy. I’m hoping to get some medicinal herbs planted this year too. I wanted to tell you to watch your mint plant carefully. One mint will spread and take over an area like crazy. Just in case you plant other herbs beside it, you will want to keep it cut back. Otherwise it could smother out the other herbs. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out for you!

  8. Looks like your off to a good start. In a month you could take pictures again and all these boxes will be full, lush, and green. Our garden is still under a thin layer of snow. There’s a few things poking up… chard, strawberries, oregano, caraway, camomile and the few parsnip we let overwinter. Our planting day is Memorial Day, so these are all “come-back kids”.

    We’re praying all goes well with the baby and you.

    R

  9. What an inspiration you are!!! I’m amazed at all the plants you’ve started! Makes me want to get out there and get to work, b
    ut we are supposed to have rain for five days straight. *sigh* πŸ™‚ All in due time, right?

  10. Question – What zone are you in that you can grow figs. I am in California and have frost damage each year on my fig tree. What variety of fig are you growing?

  11. You’ll need to plant another blueberry bush to harvest any fruit – it needs cross-pollination! Just a little tip from my previous misfortune. πŸ™‚

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