Last night, yours truly used a mitre saw, a shovel, a hammer, a bobcat, a riding lawn mower, and a metal rake. Giddy up. The garden composted, tilled, and ready for planting this weekend! I’m sure that’s crazy to those of you who are already harvesting goodness, but Michigan is Zone 5 and few people chance planting before May 15. I’m really a terrible gardener, so I don’t even start seedlings. I buy started plants from our local nursery so I have some small amount of success. Small. I need all the help I can get.
This year, I really want to grow things we eat. Sounds simple, I know. But it can be so easy to go gangbusters at the seed store and come home with all kinds of things… and then you’ve got a wild garden with 40 sub-species growing and all you’re actually eating are the cherry tomatoes. This year, I am open to new crops but I want them to be big-time crops for us.
Main attractions this year: corn, tomatoes (lots and lots… last year was dismal for tomatoes and I wasn’t able to can ANY), squash, zucchini, green beans (a bean tunnel maybe!), cucumbers, carrots, onions, and potatoes. My broccoli and peppers are always awful… so I’m happily leaning on our farmer’s market across the road for those.
Now: root veggies. We eat lots and lots of these. I’ve NEVER grown them before, so I welcome any advice and instruction. Please be as elementary as possible. Potatoes, carrots, and onions. How to plant? How to tell when they’re ready? How to store for winter usage? Bring it.
Also new this year: raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes, AND strawberries! Freezer jam is an absolute necessity in this house and I generally spend $28 on fruit each year to make it. Strawberries are perennials that can survive winter. Why am I not growing my own? Sometimes, I’m a little slow to punch in, Folks. I give you: strawberry hill.
The frame is made from leftover roof trusses Curt scored from a builder. We’ve used them in every project we’ve ever made out here. They are the literally the fabric of our farm. The bottom square (cut by me) is 5 feet x 5 feet. The middle layer (cut by… me) is 3 feet square. The top layer (cut by… mmmmhmmmm… me) is 1 foot square. It holds 25 strawberry plants. I’ve NO IDEA if it will yield enough for us, but it sure looks awesome. [edited for my notes: the 2 varieties planted here are Earliglow and Sparkle. Both are Junebearing, but very hearty.]
Ry and I got the idea from my favorite catalog, which had the measurements and quantities already laid out for me. Brilliant. Saved: $149 + shipping. The plants cost me $24 and will be covered with netting to avoid becoming dessert for the chickens and bunnies. I love this compact, raised-bed system for berries. It will be easier to weed and cover for winter.
Please notice Ry’s tools. I’m not sure how the silverware plays into this whole scheme, but they were important. Went everywhere with us.
So, that’s the beginning of the garden and berry patch. The raspberries and blueberries will take a couple years to yield anything measurable, but it has always been a dream of mine to have a berry patch that you can mosey by and grab a snack. I’m excited. I’m excited, I tell you, and I got nothin’ but time.
Y’all have a great weekend! Are you planting anything this year?
Blessings to you from TexasNorth.
We sure do like you.