It was in the first week of living here, that my husband, who, for the remainder of this post will be referred to as ‘Farmer Greg’, worked up his plans for our soon-to-be-huge-and-amazing vegetable garden. He was really pushing for it to be about double its current size (20′ x 20′) but in the end, came to his senses. We came up with our long list of produce we wanted to grow and he mapped it all out! Picking a spot to put the garden was our next challenge. Our house sits on 2.5 acres, but only about half of that is level. There is one spot in the yard that only sees about an hour of shade each day, which we saw as ideal to plant some veggies!
TIP: When choosing the perfect location for your garden, keep in mind that it should have enough sunlight, to be near a water source and to be protected from wind and frost.
Next, we had the wonderful task of ripping up the (beautiful) lawn that was currently growing. Now, in retrospect, I would highly recommend using some sort of weed killer first to help weaken the grass roots. That grass was thick and it was healthy and it liked being right where it was. A couple hours later our 20′ x 20′ plot was revealed. Farmer Greg and his brother dug the holes for the posts and had them up by the end of the day.
We planted just about everything you can grow in New England! We have, a few types of tomatoes, white and purple eggplant, peas, a couple types of lettuce, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, radishes, peppers, green beans and onions.
TIP: For all you organic gardeners out there, using garlic clips around your plants will help deter deer from munching away at them.
Farmer Greg says that rows containing any of these veggies should be at least 12 inches wide for your larger plants (such as squash) and as little as 6 inches for the smaller ones (such as peppers). Remember that the plants will continue to grow! (We ended up with 4 rows, at about 2 feet wide each and 1 foot wide aisles in between for walking and harvesting. With all this room, we will plant much more next year!)
TIP: It’s important to know which plants can be planted next to each other and which ones shouldn’t. Here is a good write up about which veggies shouldn’t be planted together.
The past week or two have been so hot! We’ve been compensating by using a drip hose that Greg installed. (They’re not too expensive and are available to purchase at most home improvement or hardware stores.) Every night to every three days, he hooks our garden hose up to one end and leaves it on for a bit at the end of the day after the sun starts to go down. The soil in the garden turned out to be very dense and clay-like so we plan on tilling in peat moss at the end of this season. That will allow for better drainage as well as letting the plants roots grow more easily. It will also help reduce the amount of water loss due to run off.
TIP: Not all bugs you see in your garden are bad! Check out this post called Hired Killers for a comprehensive list.
This tip comes from a good friend of mine at Fine Gardening magazine: “I like to chop the tops off my tomatoes plants (cutting them back to 4 1/2 feet) on Labor Day– because that helps the plant focus its energy on ripening the green fruit that is already set–instead of the plant extending what’s left of its energy on producing more leaves and tiny fruits that will never mature before the first frost.”
Are you thinking about starting a garden? Check out how much you could save by doing so:
We harvested a little tonight, so I had to share! Of course, only about half of it made it to the dinner table, because as Farmer Greg says, “First rule of harvesting your own crop is eat more than you pick.”
TIP:Not all bugs you see in your garden are bad! Check out this post called Hired Killers for a comprehensive list.
I hope these ideas and tips help you! Leave a comment below letting me know what you though and if you have any more tips to share!
Want to learn how to make these easy garden tags? Check out this post!
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