Thursday, May 23, 2013

Planting a Garden

Having the space and time to grow food was one of our reasons for moving to the country. Josh has expressed on numerous occasions that if he could do anything in the world he'd be a farmer, so having land to cultivate is the ultimate dream for him. The raised beds by the barn were here when we bought the property, and because we are still working on the rock retaining wall for the originally planned garden space, we decided to use the raised beds to get a few things going in the meantime.

I enjoy watching the process, and seeing how passionate Josh gets about seeds that have popped or planning garden fencing, but truth be told I know nothing about gardening or farming. For the past 10 years I've lived in city apartments with no yards, and while I often wished I had a little yard for my dog and some space to work on projects, I actually never dreamed about living in the country, gardening, or working the land. Josh has been dreaming about this for years, though, and while it's all new to me, I am really starting to get on board with the idea of eating food that is free of pesticides, did not burn gallons of fuel traveling cross country to arrive on my plate, costs a fraction of the price we pay at the store, and tastes delicious. Growing food is hard work, but if you enjoy gardening and have the time, it seems like a win-win to me.

Most of the veggies we planted were grown from seeds in our basement over the winter. Josh devised a clever little self watering seed starter program, comprised of a grow light on a timer, a water pump to circulate water through grow trays, and some other specifics I won't bore you with now (you can read all about it here and here). The experiment worked pretty well, and before we moved the trays outside to plant, here's what it looked like down in the basement:

A few seedlings are still too small and delicate to bring outside, but we were able to plant black krim and cherry tomatoes, green kale, a variety of squashes, cucumber, and swiss chard. We supplemented our seedlings with a few plants from the local greenhouse, and in the end here's what we've planted:

12 swiss chard
6 hills pickling cucumbers
14 black krim tomatoes
4 cherry tomatoes
12 pole beans
12 green kale
4 purple kale
4 green lettuce
4 red lettuce
6 brussel sprouts
9 sweet corn
1 acorn squash
2 summer squash
2 butternut squash
8 marigolds to attract beneficial insects to the garden

The next order of business is building a fence around the beds. That naughty Fern lady has already started digging around the lettuce beds, so we need to get something up ASAP. We try to be stern with her, but of course we can't stay mad long when she gives us the puppy dog eyes. We are complete suckers for that little pup. Do any of you keep a vegetable garden? Any tips or tricks you'd be willing to pass on would be very much appreciated!


  1. Your garden looks gorgeous! I hope you have a great success this year with it. My hubby and I tried to do a garden for a couple of years, but gave up on it for now. Our two little kids keep us very busy, along with our crafts, haha. Do you guys get deer where you're at? If you are considering getting a fence to keep out Fern, you may want to get one tall enough to keep out deer as well. Good luck! Love reading your blog ^_~

  2. Thanks Melissa! This is my first time with a garden & Josh's second. We'll see how it goes :) We do have deer in the area, so we'll need a high fence. We are picking up 6' cedar posts tomorrow. I hope they are high enough!

  3. No problem ^_~ I have heard they can jump 6 ft fences, but I've never had to deal with that myself. I look forward to seeing your guys' progress! This makes me want to work on my garden, but its covered in weeds, lol.

  4. Hi Claire, I love what you guys have done. My boyfriend and I want to do the same thing and plan to do it this summer. We are in New Hampshire so due to the similar weather I am keen to see how you guys go. I am originally from Australia so the climate is completely different from what I am used to. If you have any recommendations regarding garden growing I'd love to hear it, especially roses. Where I am from roses grow so easily but I have noticed a lack in NH and I miss them so much! Thanks for your posts.

  5. Belinda, Wow, what a change from Australia to New Hampshire! How are you liking it?

    Our garden is doing well so far, although we've had some really cold weather the past couple days, so the tomatoes might not make it. Our neighbor told us not to jump the gun on planting, and he was right. I'll be posting updates on the garden and any techniques worth sharing we discover along the way. I think we may plant roses around the garden fence, so stay tuned for that!

    Thanks for checking out the blog. Getting to connect with people on the blog makes my day :)

  6. Such a beautiful garden. I so wish I could get plants started inside, but my thumbs just aren't green. I love to garden and mix flowers in with all my vegetables (and when I didn't have a garden, I planted vegetables in with my flowers!), it makes it so enjoyable having flowers for your dining table when you bring the salad in fresh.
    You may want to add a second light next year to your seed starting space and add a pulley to raise and lower it. First your plants won't have that real leggyness and, second, the ones on the edges won't have to lean into the light. But otherwise I'm so seriously jealous. But, my garden is in pots easier for me to reach and is starting to look good. I'm going to be watching for garden spam!!

  7. RoseandIvy -- You are right, we definitely need 2 grow lights! We started our setup pretty minimal this year to see if it would even work at all, but pleasantly surprised ourselves so I think we will ramp it up the second time around :)

  8. Try composting using red worms...never waste all gets recycled. Great pix.luv you guys. Arnie