all throughout the winter we daydreamed of our garden. what we would plant, how big we would make it, what style of gardening we would hope to follow, how the children would be involved and how it would feel to have the sun shining on our shoulders. we planned for every evening as soon as the last frost passed to be spent out there under the great big sky soaking it all in. the day finally came and it was glorious. donny spent every day for a few weeks digging up the garden beds – we used the raised bed method – and hope to adopt the Back to Eden method come fall with all the good compost and wood chips we are currently working on. we have 14 garden beds, each averaging about 2′ by 12′ and a good foot deep with our soil with mulch and organic compost mixed in. i dug the holes for our plants with my great grandfather’s handmade spade in the freshly rained-on pacific northwest soil and the kids all picked their favorite veggies, fruits and flowers to tuck into the beds. when reading up on how to begin our organic garden specific to our area, we devoured the books Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades and the favorite in our house for young and old, Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life. it took us a few weeks to piece together our patchwork fence. i first just wanted a picket fence but there were so many sweet options that we just did a little bit of everything. the kids helped us build the wattle fence (we did a race of boys against girls to see who could finish their’s first – the girls won). then we picked up a few wooden pallets for $3 each and used those to anchor the corners of the fencing. we found some great salvage picket fence panels at the ReStore to fill in some of the sides and then we used other random things like an old door and pieces of other furniture that we here on the land but being used for other things.
we are on our way to a more self sufficient life! we started with just a patch of grass. everything that we have planted is organic (absolutely no genetically modified food!) and is seeming to grow as though there is magic in the soil. we did our best to grow lush gardens in our backyard raised garden beds in southern california yet it was always so tough not to have our plants scorched by the sun. it’s just so moist here. we have heard that it is the ash in the soil here in the PNW that makes everything grow so well. we are still learning but are happy to share our adventure as we fumble our way through it. we hope our garden will supply for us through this season and next, we hope to only have to purchase meat (organic, grass fed), fruits we cannot grow ourselves such as bananas (organic) and for baking items and such. our chickens are also laying a dozen eggs a day now which provides two eggs a day for each member of our family! i am currently learning about canning and preserving things for the winter and will do my best to post updates on how our garden is doing every month. i currently have these books on my beside table to read next: Ball Complete Guide to Home Preserving and The Foxfire Book. here are the photos of our beginning with our garden! it is about 150′x 250′ in size. i can see the sheep pen just outside my kitchen window and then just on the other side of that is our garden space. just beyond the garden space is a line of apple trees and a big space we plan to plant our pumpkin patch.
we are currently growing: broccoli, brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash, early girl tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, acorn squash, zucchini, green beans, snap peas, sweet corn, green and white onions, artichoke, spinach, cauliflower, beets, peppers, cucumber, stir fry greens, garlic, potatoes, mint, cilantro, lots of lavender, peppermint, thyme, lettuce, lots more herbs, swiss chard, strawberries, raspberries, pink lemonade blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, dahlias, sunflowers, peonies & sweet peas.
these photos were taken three weeks ago right when we finished and it’s grown more than a foot in height since then!