How We Garden

We have been gardening to some extent for many years. Depending on what is going on in our lives and the weather trends, some years we have a larger garden and sometimes it is just a few tomato plants. This week the Review Crew is talking about How We Garden.

Background

Almost sixteen years ago, when we purchased the land where we live, it did not occur to me that I should test the soil to see if it would be good for a garden. I had always lived in places where with a little work you could have a great garden.

We are blessed with about four acres of land, which is plenty of space for any type of garden; however, we have extremely sandy soil which makes gardening more challenging. The sand does not hold moisture well at all and is also missing many key nutrients.

Over the years, we have tried a variety of different things to help our gardening efforts. We have done some container gardening with potting soil, chosen plants that tolerate drier soil, amended our gardening beds, and allowed for a slower growth rate on plants by planting early in the season.

Last year we had a lot of success with our garden, in part because we had extra time in the spring (due to COVID restrictions). We also were able to use some natural fertilizer from our livestock as well as some products we purchased to enrich the soil after utilizing the free soil testing through our cooperative extension.

Current Projects

This year, I am very excited to be adding two big raised beds to our gardening efforts. I joke that my husband bought me dirt for Valentine’s Day but in reality I am super excited. He and my son built the beds and then filled them with a mix of wheat straw bedding from our goat barn and fresh topsoil.

My thirteen-year-old son normally manages the garden beds, and will continue to manage our regular ones, but my six-year-old is excited to help me tend to the raised garden beds. We used a seed starting kit, and have a variety of plants started.

Among the plants that we will put into the raised bed are carrots, turnips, lettuce, and cauliflower. My son filled up the seed starting kit and then planted the seeds (with supervision so they didn’t’ get mixed up). This week he is transplanting the carrots and lettuce into the raised beds.

Lessons Learned

We will plant a variety of fruits and vegetables in our garden for all three of our growing seasons (spring, summer, fall). Some of our favorites are the melons and tomatoes of summer, but we have found that spring and fall tend to be easier seasons for gardening in our area. There are less pests, more rainfall, and fewer weeds. It is also easier to be outside working in the garden because of more temperate weather.

Do you have a garden? What are your favorite things to grow? Any tips for making a garden more successful? Make sure to check out all of the other Review Crew gardens!

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