It’s the big day…finally time to plant the garden! This is always a day we both wait for every year – but this year it’s all the more exciting because it’s the first to ever hit the ground at the farm. We have carved out a little spot about 20′ wide by 60′ long at back portion of the land – but our main garden will occupy about only 40′ of the space this year. We are going to hopefully put some more transplanted grasses, daylillies and liarope that we want to get started for now and put into landscaping areas later. Trying to watch the farm budget as much as possible, and one of the best ways to save money is with splitting and transplanting, and we hope to do a lot of that!
This year – we will have exactly 100 total vegetable plants going into a 20′ x 40′ space. We continue to refine the process over the last few years – but the core principles stay the same with our raised bed straw methods. Today we laid out a row 20′ long of loosely crumbled straw about 12″ high and 12″ wide. Then simply covered with about 8″ to 10″ of our soil over the top of the straw. Then as we plant into the rows – we easily dig a small hole through the soil and straw – set in the plant and fill in with a generous amount of composted soil and the soil.
One of our largest time savers has always been to NEVER use a rototiller in our garden. We simply use the raised rows of straw and topsoil and then when finished – we straw the walking rows to keep out weeds. It’s benefits are easy for us to see. Unlike a lot of gardeners, we don’t have to wait until the soil dries out for tilling in the Spring. Even today – with a larger space than we have ever tried before – we spent about an hour flipping the soil onto the straw rows, and then another 30 minutes to set the entire plants into the garden. With having the straw base and the compost added to the planting hole – plants tend to hold moisture well too.
I hope someday soon to post a little more on the specifics of our gardening ways…Mary says we should call it “20 minute gardening”, because we never spend more than 20 minutes in the garden at a time, and usually only three days a week. It is true, we really don’t spend hours of back-breaking work in our garden – much to our friends and family’s disbelief.
But for now, more specifics on today’s planting!
We plan on canning a lot of tomato sauce, juice, salsa and pizza sauce this year – so our plant choices follow along with a salsa garden. Our choices:
Tomatoes: 27 Roma, 9 Celebrity, 6 Beefsteak and 6 Beefmaster
Peppers: 6 Green Bell, 6 Jalapeno, 6 Cajun Belle, 3 Yellow Banana Hot Wax, 3 Cherry Bomb, 3 each of sweet Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Peppers, 3 Caribbean Red, 3 Habanero, 3 Cayenne and 3 Serrano
Cucumbers – 2 hills of Bush Hybrid Cucumbers
Zucchini – 2 hills of Summer hybrid Zucchini
They are all in now – 12 beautiful 20′ rows of plants! We alternated tomato and pepper rows and encircled the outer edge of the garden with the hot variety of the peppers. We’re not really sure if it will help to deter pests, but it’s worth a shot. I think one of our biggest fears this year is putting a garden out in the middle of a plot of country land and coming out to find the deer, raccoons and groundhogs will have a feast at our expense. We’ll see!