It is about time to start some seeds indoors. This is a challenge for me as I have no space to do so. Until we have a greenhouse, I have to direct plant my seeds. This can prove to be frustrating and unfruitful at times so I have to learn to work with it.
I am thinking about garden planning and the different methods, which are vast. One year, while we were living in a house with a tiny yard in suburbia, we put in three raised beds using roofing paper, t-posts and chicken wire. We had quality garden soil delivered and filled the beds with it. It worked out very well, though may not have been too pretty. We had a huge tomato harvest. That is what I remember the most from it.
Since we have moved onto four acres, with plenty of space to make a garden, there are other factors to consider, such as, the availability of water, sun exposure, and critter exposure among a few. Though we have plenty of space, if we plant too far from the water source, that will create a problem. We must have a fence because of chickens and dogs, deer, raccoons, etc.
I have considered the different methods such as raised beds and lasagna type gardening, but they do not seem to work out best for me right now. Raised beds require an investment in materials and it can be costly. Lasagna method requires quite a bit of other resources and painstakingly laying out a lot of cardboard or weed barrier of some kind and layering with dirt, mulch, and compost. I believe these methods are great for smaller areas, but for a larger area, I have only experienced frustration.
Back to Eden method was appealing, but when we dropped mulch on our beds last year, plants started dying. It could be that it was too green, but whatever the reason, it was a lot of sweat, tears, and body aches only to have plants wither. So, I am getting back to the good ol’ till method.
I compost and have a seemingly unlimited supply of leaves and forest floor. The past two years I have added composted cow manure from a local farmer to the garden, and the soil is loose and rich. I have been using the deep litter method in the chicken coop to create some good compost material. However, it will be very limited. When I was previously cleaning their coop, I began throwing it out on the grass where I am expanding the garden this year. It is a deep, thick layer of straw and kitchen scraps that will help keep the weeds down. As soon as the weather is conducive, I will begin tilling.
I love to companion plant. This year my plan is to plant tomatoes, basil and sweet peppers together. I would love to do three sisters as well. Adding marigolds and various herbs and flowers throughout the garden not only creates a beautiful garden, it attracts pollinators, predator bugs and helps to deter other pests. Once I determine my companion plants, then I loosely design the garden.
That is my method. I am a bit of a gisist and unscientific and I am not sure that is entirely good, but I will let you know how it works out!
In addition to a garden for us, I am also planting medicinal plants and forage and food for my chickens. It sounds like a big bite and hopefully not more than I can chew. Deac is taking off a week in March so we can focus on our projects around here. We don’t take vacations, we take work-cations.
Stay tuned folks. The best is yet to come!