Because I think I should try as many things as possible before dying or being raptured away, we planted a vegetable garden. It wasn’t spontaneous or unplanned. We started talking about planting a garden early last year and did our research. We found a farm called Orchard Pond Organics (www.orchardpondorganics.com) that rents out 30’x50’ garden plots (our back yard does not have enough room and there are too many trees blocking sunlight). There is a small monthly fee and they provide one till a year along with a water spigot to connect your irrigation. So this year we did it…we became farmers. OK, more like amateur gardeners. But, I like the idea of being a farmer.
I thought it would be fun to document our gardening process for future reference and to see if other people have suggestions on how we could do things better. We are learning that there are many different farming methods.
First, these are the items we planted:
Pole Beans, White Acre Peas, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Roma Tomatoes, Red Potatoes, White Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Collards, Yellow Squash, Green Onions, Cucumbers, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Garlic, Rosemary, Oregano, Chives, Basil, and Cilantro.
Sounds like a lot. Probably is. Since this is our first go around, we weren’t sure if we would grow anything. We planted quite a bit of pole beans, potatoes, white acre peas, and tomatoes. And just a little bit of the other items.
Since Orchard Pond is an organic farm, all our seeds had to be organic. We also asked around and were told that heirloom seeds are best. We bought our seeds from High Mowing Seed (highmowingseeds.com) and Johnny’s Seed (www.johnnyseeds.com). High Mowing seeds has a lot of information on each crop as well.
So, Chad’s parents came in from out of town to help us. It was great.
In the picture below you can see our rows after they were first dug.
After we dug our rows, we laid soaker hoses (thank you, Adam!).
Taking our friend, Adam’s advice, we decided to lay plastic mulch over our rows before planting to cut down on weeding. Apparently this generated lots of looks and questions even from the seasoned farmers. But they ultimately said it was a good idea.
We set up our poles and twine for the pole beans. At first we only had horizontal twine between the poles until a local farmer reminded us that pole beans grow vertical…duh and thank you.
Then the planting began. One thing that confused me, being a novice, was how many seeds to put in each cell. Most seed packets told you the depth, plant spacing, and row spacing, but few mentioned how many seeds to plant in one spot. After talking to Farmer Tom (a farmer for Orchard Pond), I realized it wasn’t that tricky. For instance, with the pole beans, we made a slit in the plastic mulch (not too big or the plastic will blow open rendering it useless). Then I ran my finger in the soil (the length of the slit) at about an inch deep (different for each seed), and dropped the seeds in along the line I made with my finger…following the spacing mentioned on the seed packet. The covered the seeds lightly. Farmer Tom said it didn’t have to be exact…just close. I guess it was just amazing to me that large plants will come from such small seeds.
At the end of the day we had planted everything listed above except for the potatoes and herbs, which we planted the next week.
We ended the day by connecting a timer to the irrigation.
Day one was a success and a lot of fun with family. Now for the waiting…the part I do not enjoy!