This year hasn’t really gone as planned, BUT it’s going a lot better than the last. I’m trying to remember to strive for progress, not perfection. At the end of winter I had so many big plans for the garden, composting, raising poultry and rabbits.
Unfortunately, my health took a turn as soon as I was ready to start transplanting / setting the garden beds up. It’s been a struggle these past few months, but I’m finally starting to feel better. I was upset at first, that the garden space wasn’t as far along as I had planned it to be.
As I look at it now though, it really isn’t that bad. We’re further than we ever have been before, and that’s progress. It’s in a ‘rough draft’ stage, but things are growing and it’s functional. We’ll ‘beautify’ it once everything else is in place.
Last year we were late on getting things planted, and what did grow the rabbits and deer got to it first. Or downy mildew took over. We harvested only a handful of green beans and a single radish lol Better than nothing I suppose, but it was a lesson nonetheless.
This year we started seeds on time under some grow lights, but have been late on transplanting them. Had to seed start a few more things just in case, but I believe it’ll be fine this go round. We’ve already been able to harvest some stuff!
One thing we changed about the garden is that we relocated it. It’s definitely more convenient having it closer to the house! It was kind of “out of sight, out of mind” when it was further away.
We laid a bunch of cardboard out to start killing the grass, placed the Greenstalk planters, and made two raised rows so far. There’s two raised, galvanized beds we still have to put together, and one more raised row to make.
So far rabbits and deer haven’t been an issue, I’m assuming because it’s right outside our porch. The bunnies tend to hang out at the other end of the property (where our old beds were). Haven’t seen any more deer in the past few weeks now, but have seen a turkey passing through.
We plan on filling the walkways up with pea gravel at some point, and fence it in. It’s not the prettiest thing to look at right now, but we’re growing stuff (which is what matters).
We finally caved in and were able to buy two Greenstalk planters during the Mother’s Day sale! They’re pretty pricey, so we waited till they were marked down of course. It was simple to set-up, didn’t take a lot of soil to fill it, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and is low-maintenance.
We bought the original 5-tier planters that come with 30 pockets each. We separated the tiers to make three stacked planters. Two has nothing but peppers (sweet and hot), and the middle one has leafy greens and herbs. Everything’s growing quiet lovely in them!
I definitely want to buy a couple more in the future (when they’re marked down again lol). It just makes planting so much easier, and it doesn’t kill your back either.
What We’re Growing
Like we stated above, we’re growing sweet/hot peppers, lettuce, kale, basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, thyme, sage, cilantro, and lemon balm. In the raised rows there’s a variety of tomatoes, tomatillos, beans, and cucumbers. In some ‘party drink containers‘ from Wal-Mart (that we drilled holes in), we have summer squash and zucchinis.
We’re fixing to be able to harvest our first batch of delicious Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce and Red Romaine! We already harvested our first sprigs of Rosemary and Cilantro the other day.
The rain had drowned our first handful of bean and pea starts. A few of the beans survived though, and is growing fast! We sowed a lot more beans and cucumbers yesterday though. More bush bean varieties than pole ones.
Also, sowed a few pie pumpkins and watermelons. I checked yesterday and the pumpkins are emerging! They’re Sugar Pie Pumpkins, and for the watermelons we have Sugar Baby and Moon & Stars.
We were planning on starting our ‘Pollinator Mix‘ of wildflowers on both sides of the garden, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I went ahead and started a handful of those and some Autumn Sunflowers in a pot though. They’re popping up nicely!
I did go ahead and sow some Red Bearded Bunching Onions, Baby Finger Carrots, and some French Breakfast Radishes yesterday. Not sure how they’ll do in the heat, but worth a shot.
Everything is coming together it seems like. The tomatoes that took a minute to transplant is still looking a bit rough, but the newer starts are good. Now that we’re getting the garden established, it’ll be easier on us next year during sowing and transplanting.
The hardest thing for us has been just getting the beds and rows made. Especially with the cost of soil/compost. All the more reason why we plan on making a designated composting area! I don’t know about you, but our bagged soil had plastic, rocks, and rubber band pieces in them (from 3 different brands). We’ve heard other people complain about the soil quality being absolutely horrible this year too.
Tasks To Be Done & Pests
Right now we’re focusing on getting the two raised beds put together and filled, making a 3rd raised row, and making trellises for the cukes, tomatoes and pole beans. The other beds aren’t a must at the moment, but they do need to be ready for when we start things for Fall.
Other than the garden, we’ve decided on chickens instead of ducks to start out with. Therefore, we need to assemble the enclosed run, set up the coops, and predator proof the perimeter of it. We’re ready for some fresh eggs and cute chicken companions!
Maybe they can help rid the Harry Potter type spiders and the centipedes we have roaming around our property 😅 Orb weavers/writing spiders and grand daddy long legs are fine – but when the others are as big as my hand or has a bum bigger than a quarter – I’m out 🙄
I literally thought there was a cute little frog beside my hand (we have a bunch of tree frogs here) while out in the garden last week, moved the grass back a little, excited, and BAM it was a big ol’spider with babies crawling all over it. NOPE.
Aside from all that, the actual garden pests we’ve been dealing with so far have been cabbage worms (on our kale), flea beetles (on peppers & tomatoes), and something snapped one of our tomatillo plants in half. The flea beetles are the worst though, I’ve been able to pick off the cabbage worms.
We plan on getting some neem oil mix to spray on the plants, in hopes it’ll help get rid of those pesky flea beetles. I think our peppers have had the worst of them. If you have any suggestions, it’s much appreciated!
When we first moved into the house we noticed deer eating apples on the ground from a tree in the yard. Winter was just fixing to hit so we didn’t worry about it too much. The following year we noticed it looked dead, and it didn’t produce anything. We didn’t look at it very well, due to us working so much.
This year though, while we were trimming low hanging limbs in the yard, I walked over to it. It was still chilly outside, so there wasn’t any foliage on it yet. I noticed this huge vine that’s taken over one side of it. I tried to cut it and get the entanglement off of the tree (not touching it of course, I don’t know what kind of vine it is yet).
After cleaning it up some, I left it alone and focused on the garden instead. As it started to warm up outside, I noticed foliage coming back in (didn’t look dead like the previous year). Today I went out to check on it and it’s producing fruit!
Unfortunately though, it looks like it may have ‘apple scab‘ or something? I did a quick google search and that’s the closest thing we matched it to (we have high humidity). We’re new to having apple trees though, so not quite sure.
Wrapping Things Up
Figured I’d drop in and update y’all since it’s been a minute. We’ll get things going a lot more smooth eventually! Can’t get to the destination without the journey first, so might as well go with the flow.
I hope everyone is doing well, especially during these crazy times. Stay safe out there and grow onwards!