Home vegetable garden
My wife loves working outside and gardening. As a child, she worked with her parents on their home vegetable garden and has always had a vegetable garden of some kind since we purchased our first home. Until now, we never had much room for a large vegetable garden. Prior to this year, we used alternative methods which included a container vegetable garden and square foot gardening. Those worked well of course, but never really yielded a large amount of vegetables, at least not enough for canning which is something I’d really like to do. I love canned green beans and corn.
Finally some room
One of the many things we liked about our new mountain home was that we finally had some land. My wife started our garden during the winter by purchasing seeds and planting them in seed starters. We literally had a miniature green house on our front deck most of the winter. We also picked out a location, which wasn’t hard. Our lot is heavily slopped. We literally live on the side of a pretty steep mountain. We aren’t sure why, but for some reason up behind our house is a “cut” in the hill that is about the only large flat area of land we have.
From the picture above, it’s difficult to appreciate how steep the hill really his, but to give you some perspective, our home is about 15 feet behind where I am standing but I am above the roof. Literally right behind where I am standing in this picture is a very steep drop with a path leading down to our back deck. Here’s a shot to show you what I mean:
Nothing like a vegetable garden with a view huh?
All of the grass, sticks and natural debris we cleaned up prior to and during tilling went into a pile towards the woods. This was the start for our compost pile so we can avoid having to purchase the compost from Lowe’s in the future. Right now, we have a compost pile, but I’m building a nice two bin compost container. More on that later.
Tilling the vegetable garden
About a month ago, we borrowed my father in-laws rear tine tiller and spent most of a Saturday tilling. Yes, it took us all day. We started off using our cultivating tiller (highly recommended) and quickly realized it just wasn’t going cut it for the initial till. Ever tried tilling fresh ground in the mountains? Here’s how it goes: till, till, rock, till, till, rock. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Unfortunately we found two rather large rocks that I still haven’t figured out how to remove. If you look close in the picture above, one of them is the white/gray area just above the rake. My son jokingly suggested dynamite. After trying a number of different options, I’m beginning to think he might have been right!
As you can see from the picture, we did finally finish tilling. The following weekend, we headed to the local Lowe’s and purchased about 10 bags of mushroom and black cow compost to enrich the soil. We spread it out and used our cultivating tiller to mix it in real good. We intended to plant that weekend as well, but it started raining.
Planting the vegetable garden
We were able to finally plant 2 weekends ago. We raked up dirt into small mounds in rows down the length of the garden. We then found a few sticks about 1-2″ in diameter and poked holes about 1 foot apart in the mounds. Per the instructions on the seed packs, we placed seeds into the holes and covered them. We used small sticks and the seed bags to mark our plants so we can tell what is where until they begin to grow.
For the seedlings my wife grew over the winter, we followed the same procedure, just using a small hand shovel instead of a stick. These were primarily tomatoes, but a few others as well. Growing the seedlings was an experiment that turned out pretty well. We plan to grow far more seedlings next year. Given the late frosts and freezes we have here in the mountains, using the seedlings is a great way to get ahead of the game without risking losing plants.
Waiting and more work
So now we wait. I am not a patient person, as I am sure my wife will attest too. I go up and check each night to see if anything has broken through the soil. So far, nothing yet! In the mean time, I am working on a few related projects. We’re planning out how to best tie up the vines and tomatoes. I’m also really getting into composting. We currently have a compost pile, but I’m building a 2 bin compost bin to put up there. I’ll write up a whole article on this project along with another on composting very soon. Composting is a great way to not only save money, but reduce your waste as well.
Do you have a home vegetable garden? How big is yours? How long have you been vegetable gardening? Share your story and thoughts on vegetable gardening by adding a comment!