2/28/09

The Garden Project: Introduction

This is the kickoff to what I hope will be a successful series of posts I will call The Garden Project. I plan to take you all along on the journey as we plan, build, work and harvest some of our own food in our back yard. Partially to cut food costs (these kids just keep! on! growing!) and partially because we always had a garden growing up and it seems unnatural to me to not have one.

Let me preface this series by saying that my vision of our garden is much grander than it will actually be in the end and this is just because I am a big dreamer. I would love to have a huge garden with several varieties of vegetables, an orchard of different fruit and nut trees and maybe a couple of grape vines all accented by flower gardens heaped with exotic fragrances and colors. In reality, this will never happen. I don't have that much time or energy (or money to pay a gardening staff) and I am not willing to surrender my entire yard where the kiddos play.

What I hope to accomplish this year is to get a small-ish garden in and fill it with a few tomato plants, carrots, lettuces, onions, bell peppers, radishes and some herbs. I also really want a compost pile just inside the woods on our property, but that would require talking Mike into a small aluminum fence installation to surround it. That may take some time and finesse on my part *wink*.

Let me also disclose that Mike's parents live a mere ten houses down the street from us and they have a nice-sized garden. They grow corn, tomatoes (for eating and canning), melons, cucumbers, hot peppers, green beans, lettuce, cabbage, onions, green onions (or scallions), green peppers, carrots and potatoes. I am sure I have left somethings out, too. We help can and freeze things from their garden along with Mike's sister and all three families share in eating it.

It has been nice to be able to grab a couple of tomatoes or an onion here and there and the corn and beans are wonderful over the winter. Mike's parents, however, are retired and the garden has gotten smaller while the families have grown. I don't expect them to keep their garden forever and whatever we can grow will leave that much more for canning and freezing.

So I have a few questions for you:

Do you have a garden (even if it is a container garden)?

If so, what do you grow and what do you recommend?

What do you advise against growing?

Any planting tips?

What area do you live in?

How big/small is your garden?

Please leave a comment or you can send your answers to me here. Thanks so much and be sure to keep your eye out for more Garden Project updates!!!

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

What fun! At least I think gardening is fun! We have a big garden, and I think we are tilling up a new spot this year too!

The last two years I've had a hard time with all my vining plants getting eaten up by vine borers and squash bugs. I've been trying to keep it organic, but those plants may get dusted this year.

Joanna said...

I'm in Indiana, and will have a 26'x30' garden this year. Last year it was about half that size. Just over a year ago, we bought our house from friends who had a big enough garden to sell some produce at the farmer's market. Because I couldn't handle the whole plot my first year, they planted garlic in half of it (for the market) and I planted in the other half. This year, they're only using 1/3 of it, so my plot is growing. I'm determined to do better this year, and to learn to can more!

Like Stephanie, The one major crop failure I had last year was with my vining squash. I'm not going to even try this year, since there are so many other plants I want to grow, and in the scheme of things, we don't eat THAT much squash.

I grew all sorts of things, but was particularly happy with my potatoes (we JUST ran out, so they lasted us many months) and green beans (we've still got jars & jars left) My goal is to grow enough to keep us out of the canned goods & produce sections for a good part of the year- maybe all year, someday.