Garden Optimism

I shared with you how we were converting one of our gardens to using ag cloth as a weed barrier. We got stopped in the middle of our process because of travel and rain-lots of rain. We hit our field again over the last 10 days to rescue what we could, say goodbye to what we couldn’t and plant for the future. A gardener is always optimistic right? You lose a garden, you plant another and with that comes hope again.

When we stepped back after the rains stopped this is what we had–

Grass was up to my knees in the garden.

IMG_20150723_084838240Yep, there’s a sweet potato in there somewhere!

IMG_20150723_092730488I can see the corn but not much else.

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It had me feeling pretty hopeless on what we had.

However, the bed where we laid the cloth looked pretty good so we concentrated efforts there first. We still had 5 rows to plant and there was crabgrass in the empty rows but we took care of that and finished off the planting.

Hubby is great at pulling that crabgrass!

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I got to planting the rest of our tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes! I know it is July, but when you have almost 100 starters you have been babying inside during the rainy stuff, you put them in the ground! We are Zone 6 and they need about 80 – 90 days in the ground until harvest. We will have a late harvest, but when everyone else is picking pumpkins, I will be eating tomato sandwiches and canning for the winter. (see where the optimist comes in?)

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DSC_1620So with that garden done and planted we felt very satisfied.

DSC_1619I moved onto sweet potatoes and digging the grass out from around them. And they were thriving down in there!IMG_20150723_092720762

IMG_20150723_092724122Hubby cleaned out the rest of the grass later and they are loving life again.

Jasmine just enjoyed the view.

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And frankly our view while working wasn’t so bad either!

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Meanwhile hubby went after Garden 1 (which was planted in the spring). It was overgrown to say the least.11253945_10205894129850894_8299575913151603575_n

We grabbed the last of the lettuce, beets, collards and purple kale and cut it down and started again on it for a late summer/early fall garden.

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Mowed it really close.IMG_20150724_182822069

Added compost and ran the tiller through one time. It is ready!

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We decided all gardens would get the ag cloth treatment! We invested in the good stuff and it is being used!DSC_1608

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With this being ready for planting, I got to go play in my seeds and get a selection out. Zone 6 tells me 1st frost is around 10/15 so I have a bit of time still. I grabbed my seeds that are 55 – 75 days to harvest and got planting. What did I plant? Beets, beans, squash, radishes, spinach, lettuce, endive and some flowers. By the end of the weekend we had two, very good looking spaces.

DSC_1626And this morning there are signs of life in both.

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Next up are the hoops and cold frames. But for this moment, optimism!

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Happy Unleashing your optimism!

FGU

 

More Gardening- Just Do It!

Me in the TruckOne gardening season is coming to a close and I really just wanted to keep it going.  Then after tapping into books by Elliot Coleman and others, I see that it doesn’t have to end. But being a novice, I am not even sure what all this means– seems I can extend the season or over winter garden or use cold frames or frost blankets or plant stuff now for spring.

Well, I don’t really know about all these things, but then again I knew nothing in the spring either when we started gardening either, so once again I am just going to for it!  And that means, I am reading as much as I can, calling people with questions but bottom line is I am JUST DOING IT and we will see what happens.

Two of the summer beds are almost completely cleaned up now.  But the peppers…oh the peppers.  Most are pulled up but there are 6 that are still producing.  Some of these will hit the dehydrator.

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The basil is beautiful.  One plant is pulled and dehydrator.  The others will continue to dress our meals until I pull them right before frost and make a bunch of pesto to freeze.DSCN3490

We picked our last tomatoes this weekend and ate the last yesterday (except for the canned ones). It was bittersweet eating the last of them.  They were still so so yummy.  I do not believe I will be able to do grocery store tomatoes during the winter.  I will just wait until I can pick them again next summer.  There was nothing like it!

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The little yellow pear tomatoes just kept on going even after pulled for compost!  So I sat on the ground for a bit and picked out the flawless little guys.  They are still so yummy.  Who knew they would just keep on going even after pulled and tossed aside.

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Bed 3 still has some carrots in it.  They are yellow and red and orange and so, so pretty.  I fixed them for my mom and dad this weekend and they were amazed at the colors.  They tasted incredible too!  Bed 3 also has some late summer things in it that I planted in August.  Lettuce, spinach, kale, collards.  Those are looking good right now and we have started to eat from this bed again.

The other bed (#2) still has pumpkins which are about ready to come off.  These two beds will get cover crop.  It is a mix of seeds that will help condition our soil which we are in need of since we are the first to work this land. I love that I did not even know what the term cover crop was 6 months ago and now I am buying it and planting it!

SO, we need more!  More garden beds!

We prepped 5 new beds for fall, winter, next spring… for whatever.  They are now prepped and ready to go. Beds 4 & 5 were planted about a month ago.  Spinach, Corn Salad and Kale  are in there.  They are smaller than the others as they are 7×12 but perfect for these greens. The little plants here are about 2 -3 inches now. They are looking happy growing in these brand new beds.

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We really want to expand our tomatoes next year and try corn and give the squash some more room.  So with that in mind we prepped 3 more beds.  One bed which is 25 x 33 is done and is planted with cover crop.  This will help prepped the soil for the tomatoes in the spring.  The bed is also in mostly sunshine and I think that will be good for the tomatoes as well.  I am also trying to rotate stuff since I understand that is good for the soil. The others are fairly large also and have arugula, onions, spinach,  and fava beans.

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I planted some garlic also, following MJF great instructions. We use so much garlic, I am excited to have our own next year.  I planted 40 cloves.  It is now covered with straw like a little hiding present.  I can’t wait to uncover it next year to see what I have in there!

I love, love, love Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  Their catalog is more than a means to purchase seeds.  There is so much info about the seeds, varieties and planting info.  There staff is great too and has spent some time with me in helping me decipher much of what I don’t understand! So I ordered my stuff based on things that were supposed to be cold tolerant. I was so thrilled when my box came!

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I also got frost blankets.  The maternal side of me is going to love tucking my babies in at night when frost is in the forecast. 🙂

So how long will I be able to eat from my gardens?  What will come up?  What will fail?  What will be a major success?  The answer is simply “I don’t know”.  It is the same answer I had in the spring.  But there really are not failures, only learnings. I am learning a lot from the successes and challenges.

I am really thrilled to have gone for it and continued planting.  I love it so much.  It is not all about the outcome but the journey.  And that is already a success!

Happy unleashing today!