I wasn’t sure I wanted a garden here. Considering I have 20 acres across the road to take care of and I am currently 33 weeks pregnant, I figured I should concentrate on setting up the farm for business next year instead of working a garden here.
But there is still a full growing season ahead of us here in NC (fall), and there are so many things I can grow, and we thought maybe it will be nice to have a small garden just for us here close to home…
The equipment was already here and my husband was itching to use it, I was itching to drop some seeds in the dirt and the kids were wondering where are their carrots and peas… So we decided to set up a small (relatively) garden here at the new place.
We have this area between the lawn to the soybean field behind our property that was overgrown and messy. We didn’t want to take any lawn space, we like to keep it for the kids to run around and there are a few fruit trees that give nice shade around the property. We didn’t want to disturb any of the trees’ roots or ruin the grass so we settled on the overgrown patch at the back of the property.
Unfortunately, this means that this garden is not going to be a 100% organic. The farmer who works the field behind our property is using Roundup before planting the beans.
God help me, I don’t know a thing about conventional agriculture. I research and learn so much about organic farming but I really don’t know a thing about using herbicides or pesticides. And it looks so weird to me…
You see the field behind the tractor? It was sprayed a few weeks ago and was planted already. But the weeds didn’t really die… They are still there and the beans are growing in them. Maybe there are no new weeds growing? Maybe the beans will eventually overtake the weeds? How is this working? I have no clue but I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that the soil stinks so bad you know it’s not normal.
That said, I don’t judge anyone. I completely understand that people need to make a living and that if only a few brave farmers need to feed billions of other people, maybe there is no other way. Maybe.
Anyway, we will try to do our best with this garden. We bush hogged the tall grass that was there…
Removed some big rocks, a telephone pole (yes!) and a few more surprises we found.
Next, we connected the plow and turned the soil about 1 1/2 feet deep.
We went back and forth a few times and removed some more big rocks.
Then came the tiller.
I have to take a moment here and say that I prefer no-till gardening and we will most likely won’t use the plow or the tiller on this garden again. However, because it’s a new garden and we don’t have $300 to buy a truck load of compost to dump on there and plant in, we decided to till it.
I also have to say, that with that said, I love the tiller!
It makes everything fluffy and soft. It brings up the smell of soil… It makes things pretty too.
And I’ll also say that I am so amazed by how fast we connect all the tractor attachments now! It used to take us hours to figure out how to connect just one thing. We used to break stuff all the time (we still do that but not with the tractor attachments… Says the girl who broke the bush hog last week… Oh well.)
We used to stand behind the tractor and think oh, if there was an old grandpa here to show us what to do this would have been so much easier… Our old grandpa ended up being YouTube, thank God for YouTube!
Anyway, we started tilling…
At which point the inspector woke up from his nap…
Usually, he doesn’t let anyone mess with the tractor until he is on board holding the wheel, but since he just woke up he was a bit slow.
Again, we went back and forth a few times to make sure there are no big chunks of soil that the tiller didn’t break and we removed some more rocks.
I made a walkway so everyone knows where they can and can’t step, and raked the soil a bit to level it. I want to find free wood chips to cover the walkway and the sides of the garden with (between the bed and the bean field and between the bed and the lawn). I’ll look on Craigslist and hopefully find something soon.
For the garden itself, I would like to use leaf mulch that will add nutrients as it decomposes. I have some at the farm that I can bring over, but I’ll have to purchase some more.
I left an area at the end for flowers and hopefully a few dwarf fruit trees or maybe I’ll do strawberries or asparagus there? I am not sure yet.
During this past week, I planted summer and winter squash, bush beans, cucumbers, watermelons, and Big Max pumpkins. I always wanted to grow those (the giant kind you see at the state fair in the fall) but I never had room for them until now. It will be interesting to see how they grow.
A friend gave me 7 tomato plants that I transplanted as well. However, it is so hot that they are not looking very good. I hope they will make it. We’ll see.
All this took about half of the garden space. I left the other half for fall crops which I will plant in the middle of August or beginning of September.
I hope we can still get a nice harvest from this garden this year.
I’ll keep you updated!