2007 Garden

The Amazing Plant and Harvest Garden!

garden_images/Sweet taters.JPG
Sweet Potatoes harvested October 29th-photo courtesy of Don Pratt

Every growing season seems to bring with it a new challenge. This year was met with having a skin cancer site removed from my forehead with a MOHS surgery. The day before the surgery I was outside scrambling to get all of the onion sets in the ground as I had just been informed that I was going to be restricted from lifting anything over 8 pounds, and I was not to do anything that would elevate my heart rate or cause me to sweat, for 2 full weeks! Aauugghhh! Right in the midst of planting season, and I didn't have anything planted yet! So, there I was with a lantern, 180 onion sets, and a spade, planting as quickly as I could while the mosquitos feasted on me. When I made my way back to the house it was well past 22:00 hours (that's 10:00 pm for you non-military folk).

zucchini surrounded by the onions I planted by lantern light

If I had thought that surgery was going to be the worst of my problems, and once I recovered from the surgery I'd be back to normal, I was sadly mistaken. During my recovery we had some friends visit. Unfortunatly they were carriers of strep. My weakened immune system was unable to fight off the strep and as soon as my time of restriction was up, I was down with a strep infection. During the course of the summer, I was twice more exposed to the same people and within 72 hours of each time I was exposed to them, I was again sick with strep. This required drastic measures. I did a self imposed quarantine for 3 full weeks and at long last was able to recover. And if that isn't enough, I then had a sinus infection to deal with.

Needless to say, during my down time (post surgery, strep three times, and a sinus infection), I was unable to work in my gardens more than a bare minimum. I had managed to plant the onions, I had garlic in from the previous fall, and I was able to put in plants of zucchini, tomato, potato, sweet potato, cantelope, watermellon, basil, parsley, and passion flower with a bit of help from my family. Could it be any easier? A quick trip to The Flower Farm to pick up the plants I wanted, and about 2 minutes per plant to dig a hole, transplant the plant, firm the ground around it, give it a generous amount of mulch and a drink of water. That was all I did. I planted them, put down an extra heavy layer of mulch, and promised them all I would eventually return. And return I did, right around the end of August when I was finally on the road to recovery. I had nearly missed the whole planting and growing season and despite this, I had bumper crops of everything I was able to plant. I even had bumper crops of some things that I was not able to plant!

transplanted melons mulched with hay
tomatoes, 2 weeks after planting

After 4 years of mulching with hay, my garden soil is so rich it is amazing. I had incredible tomatoes, the biggest sweet potatoes I've ever seen, yukon goldpotatoes a plenty, the largest garlic harvest yet, amazingly delicious onions, and so many cucumbers that I was litterally giving away trunk loads of cucumbers and teaching my friends to make pickles! I didn't even plant cucumbers! These were the volunteer cucumbers that came up in the spring, and as I had not had time to get any planted, I transplanted the volunteers to a cattle panel and crossed my fingers. Obviously, it worked!

transplanted cucumbers

And where would I be without my perennials? The herb garden was a delight as it always is, and I had more than enough starwberries, blackberries, rhubarb and even a few raspberries from my 2 year old red raspberry canes. Why if it weren't for the weeds taking over on the fence line, I might have been able to convince someone that I had spent hours laboring over my garden this year!

perennial herbs

Now a little bit about fences. One thing I learned about leaving the garden to fend for itself, is that the weeds really take hold. And the area that they take the strongest hold is the fence line. I am so fed up with redoing fences. I must have a fence if I wish to have any food for myself as the chickens and rabbits are so plentiful. I've tried about every fence out there other than wood or stone. I'd love to have a rock fence that matched my house, but I don't see that happening in short order so I've finally determined that I need to invest some funds into a proper fence that meets all of my needs. The fence needs to keep out rabbits, chickens, cats, dogs, goats, and horses. The fence needs to be high enough that chickens can not fly over and deer will not jump in. The fence needs to be permanent-which required my deciding where I wanted the fence. And the fence needs to be able to stand up to the abuse of a weed eater so that I can keep the weeds at bay. Woven wire didn't work, landscape fencing didn't work, poultry netting didn't work, cattle panels didn't work, and the combination of cattle panels, poultry netting, and landscape fencing did the trick except for the weeds which took over the fence line this year. A 6 foot high, cedar wood, privacy fence is sounding really good right now!

my favorite picture from the gardens (orchard) this autumn

2006< Back to Top >2008