Friday, October 12, 2012

Gardening for the 'Young' Homestead

My garden this year pretty sad. I have no pictures because..... I haven't the heart to take ANY photos.  Waiting for the rainy season to end, followed by a short, cool, cloudy morninged summer, in a newly tilled, garden with barely an inch of top soil equals the slowest growing little plants you have EVER seen.

On top of other 'problems' on the farm I was very discouraged.  I remembered my plantings in the community garden back in town. Well composted and manured each spring, the ground was so fertile.  I dreamt the lord blessed my plots and every seed that fell to the ground flourished before my eyes.  It was a powerful and absolutely beautiful vision. 

The contrast was painful.  Here we are, nearly thru September and we have eaten ALL of our potato harvest in one meal, ALL of our peas in another meal, and ALL of our beans as a few small fresh snacks.  All two of our tomatoes that neared a color other than green were eaten by the chickens, and the two zucchinis that were almost 4 inches long have disappeared as well.  My onion plantings are barely larger than when I planted the sets to begin with. 

So with frustration and anger, all rooted in my pain of failing miserably in this important aspect of homesteading..... I prayed.  And prayed.   And prayed.  Days and weeks passed. 

Then one night I had the strangest dreams.....  they were like you tube tutorials.  Seriously.  They were narrated and showed step by step gardening techniques to turn our rock hard new ground into a rich and flourishing garden scape. 

The techniques that I remember included.... 

Planting in cardboard - cheapest raised beds available, helps maintain moisture to the soil, breaks down and adds to the soil for the future 

Irrigating from the duck pond - free - While the water is icky to swim in, it is full of nutrients and microbes which will feed the plants and add healthy bacteria to the soil 

Manure/green manure- free - most small farmers do not use all their bounty of manure which adds nutrients, and helps retain moisture, and provides a great substrate for worms and beneficial bacteria to live in, cheap or free - old hay can be added, as can other certain plants as 'green' manure

So I immediately started using these the techniques and planning ahead to my garden next year.

In addition to these efforts, we have been blessed by a present from my husband's mother.....

I think next year's gardening will be GLORIOUS! In fact... I'm going to look at some seed catalogs now....

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