It seems like each and every year – we find ourselves writing a Sunday Farm Update about changes to the garden.
Our garden has changed a lot since those first vegetable seedling went into the ground in the Spring of 2011. It has always been and will always be a work in progress as we continue to add a few projects, experiments and varieties each growing season.
Through all of the changes though, one thing has remained the same – our raised row garden provides us with close to 3/4 of our family’s food each year – and for that fact alone – it’s our favorite place at the farm. That is why we each year, we continue to create new projects for the space. (see: Creating simple raised row gardens)
Our very first garden in the summer of 2011 consisted of just 12 raised rows made from straw and topsoil. By the end of the year, we had added a compost bin and a post and board fence to the front.
2012 brought a second set of growing rows and in 2013, we added a corn crib for holding shredded leaves – and a second water tank. 2014 brought the addition of blueberries and strawberries – and in 2015 we added a center walkway, raised beds for our smaller crops and mulch to all of the walking rows.
So that brings us to 2016 – and the year we finally move to the farm! I’m not sure it has quite “sunk in” yet to both of us that we will actually be living there this year! But in addition to that craziness, we still plan on making some fun and exciting changes to the garden. After all, change is good – it keeps you growing and thinking! So here is what we have cooking for this year’s garden redesign:
The 2016 Garden Redesign
Adding A Rain Water / Drip Irrigation System
We have always watered our garden by hand with rainwater collected from the barn and corn crib roof. The set-up has worked well for us over the last five years – especially since we have never had a well on the property! (see: How to easily collect rain water)
We use two large 275 gallon tote tanks to collect the water, and from there, just filled water jugs or attached a hose to water where needed. The gravity of the tank above the garden has always provided more than enough pressure.
This year we hope to make things even more simple We are going to experiment by adding a drip irrigation system to the tanks. As a trial, we are going to add it to the upper garden portion – but if it works as planned, we will connect the whole garden to it next year.
The system requires no power and is fed entirely by gravity. We simply connect the water storage tank that sits above the garden to a series of main feed lines that go down the upper rows. From there, the water is dripped slowly out of water rings that go around each plant – providing the water each plant needs. All we need to do is turn the holding tank tap on or off – and the watering is done!
The Garden Shed Addition
This is the project we are most excited for!
We have always wanted to add a little garden and potting shed right near the garden. Not only would it be great to have all of our tools and supplies nearby – but I think it will really “complete” the look of the garden.
Weaver Barns, who is building the frame of our farm home has come out with a new DIY / shed kit. They have asked Mary and I if we would be willing to put one together at the farm and film it as a trial. And of course – we jumped at that chance!
We are going to add the garden shed to the back of the garden area, and install a gutter on it as well to help feed the rain barrel. By the way – stay tuned next week – there is a DIY barn kit contest give-a-way coming from Weaver – and we can’t wait to announce it! (Weaver Barns)
Adding Fence Panels…
This project is one that we have wanted to complete for two years – and this is finally the year it gets accomplished!
A few years back, we created two large 6 1/2′ decorative fencing panels at the edge of the barn. We made the sections from cattle panels and 2 x 4’s – and loved the look so much that we have wanted to add them around the garden ever since!
They are inexpensive to make when compared to other fencing options, easy to build – and should really match up well with the new garden shed.
Although we are lucky enough not to experience too much trouble with animals – the added height will also certainly help to deter deer and smaller animals with the fencing at the bottom.
So with the weather turning warmer today – I guess it’s time for us to get busy! Happy Gardening! – Jim and Mary
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