My 2020 Garden: Day #1

As most of you know by now we’ve moved into our new home that I built. It is a modest home, small, functional, and perfect for us. I am behind schedule…as is normal when building. The house is by no means done…there remains a long list of smallish items to take care of. However, I wanted a garden.

My original plans called for a pretty substantial garden and some fruit trees. Ah, not going to happen this year…not even close. But, I felt the overwhelming “need” to put in some kind of, some size of garden. After a discussion with my wife we decided it had to be small enough to do quickly, only vegetables that we will eat each day, maybe some minor dehydrating, no canning. It had to be easy to care for, not time consuming. And it had to be “heirloom” based. If nothing else…we could/would harvest the seeds for next year.

The vegetables we decided on were tomatoes, peppers, squash, and an unnamed vegetable to be identified later. Tomatoes was a no brainer…we eat the heck out of tomatoes! We eat them on sandwiches, as a sandwich, on salads, by themselves…well, you get the idea. So we went with Beef Steak and Better Boy, plus a cherry tomato for salads.

For peppers we went with a serrano for spicy, then a sweet green and sweet red. And then some kind of squash that my wife likes…yeah, I am not a big squash fan.

We ended up with 8 plants total…7 pots, one had two plants in it. Yup…very small garden!

We have some problems to deal with here…mainly the sun, it is very, very intense in the summer. And the ground is dry, but we have a well so that is not a problem. For the sun, we planted on the east side of the house, shaded from about 1pm on. And then there are the dogs and rabbits. Our combination chain-link and electric fence keeps the dogs in and the rabbits out. A 2″x3″ mesh piece of leftover construction mesh keeps the rabbits and dogs out of the garden itself. But, there are also the mice and rats. Yup, the joys of living in the country. Some 1/2″ construction mesh from Lowe’s today will take care of that problem…hopefully.

And I mentioned our ground is dry…very dry and sandy…very little organic matter. So that had to be dealt with. But, I am not going to till up a large garden…actually, I am not tilling up anything. I am digging holes and improving the soil just in that specific area.

So here goes…

East side of the house to shade the plants in the afternoon. The house proximity might also deter the tougher rabbits that make it through the electric fence. And of course…a shorter walk to water, weed, and harvest.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I am digging holes for each individual plant. Saves work and reduces amount of soil amendments. Notice how dry and hard. Dug the hole approximately 14″ in diameter and a little over a foot deep.

 

For soil I mixed 1/3 native soil (sand), 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 steer manure/compost. I mixed it in the wheelbarrow. I used the soil from lower in the hole where it was less hard and a little more moist.
I didn’t use fancy stuff like pearlite or vermiculite…WAY too expensive and WAY too little return on the dollars spent.

 

Here is what I choose to use to improve the soil. No specific reason I choose this stuff. It’s just what they had, and would work for what I wanted it to do.

 

So there you go! Our small garden in a small space (5′ x 5′) all laid out, in the ground…now the finishing touches.

 

Put up the non-fancy fence and watered it all in.
Tomatoes tomorrow???

 

Not going to let anything go to waste! These are little sprigs of grass I dug up when digging my plant holes. I moved them to an area where I have the potential for soil erosion. Grass in this area is scarce, so why not use it constructively? Yes, I watered it in. No, I have no idea if it will make it or not.

So why am I sharing this with you? Thought you might be interested…yeah, right. Now the real reason…I want to show you that a small garden is still possible, even if you are starting a bit late like I am. And while it may not feed you 100%…it might feed you 15% or 5%…and that is better than nothing. Plus you learn to garden for when you may really need it. And at the very least you can harvest the seeds and save them for next year.

So I am suggesting -HIGHLY encouraging you- that you plant a garden. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy or pretty…or anything but some vegetables that you are growing yourself. You never know how much you may need it…or just appreciate the fresh tomatoes 🙂

I will keep you updated on how our garden does.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “My 2020 Garden: Day #1

  1. With a bit more effort and money, you could have made a raised bed garden then planted a bit more. Remember your saying, one is none, two is one and three is a good start.

    My wife, who worked at the Extension office for 15 years or so suggests protecting from deer by surrounding your garden with a 4 foot wide layer of 2 inch chicken wire raised about 4 inches off the ground. Deer are afraid to step on it because their legs may be caught, and my guess is you might end up feeding deer instead of yourselves.

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    • Ahhhhhhhh, throwing my own philosophy back in my face 😉 And you are right! We just didn’t have the time or money to sink into the raised beds this year.
      I like the idea of having to protect the garden from deer. And your wife’s idea rocks! And I wish we had deer problems…food storage on the hoof 🙂
      Unfortunately we have very, very few deer in our area. I think the coyotes kill off the fawns and the concentration of hunters clear out the adults.

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    • Yes I did. The raised bed idea was completely out…although we’ve done them in the past and it worked out fine for that situation. However, the amount of money to augment that much soil would be WAY more than I wanted to spend. Also, the money for the wood, corner brackets/bracing, etc. would add to the cost above what we wanted to spend. And then there would be the time to build the beds, mix that much soil soil, etc. More time required than I have. We talked about the container idea and we liked it. But it was really a different concept for us that we were unfamiliar with. So we didn’t want to get involved in the learning curve. One of our neighbors did raised beds and is having some trouble with it. So, in the end we went with the most simple, the least expensive, the least time consuming. Now next year…all options are on the table! AH

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