Top of the hill view of the garden all in!

Today was the day — the day the 2012 Garden was planted!  Now you have to understand, this garden plan was given birth in the fall even before the last plant was pulled from the garden.  As the 2011 garden progressed, we thought about what we would do the same, different and add or remove for the next planting season.  Well, today it all came together.  Just like any plan, it came with a preconceived idea of what and where we should plant.  And like any good plan, we tweaked it as we went.

We got a head start on the plan in the spring since the weather in Ohio cooperated nicely for us.  We planted our cool weather crops on the spur of the moment where part of the garden stood last year.  We wanted to maximize the use of space so we doubled up the rows whenever we could.  We practice a unique gardening system using a non-till philosophy.  We utilize compost, straw and dirt to produce mounded beds that provide great ease for planting along with maximizing our good soil mixture.  We actually planted the whole garden in less than 2 hours.

Because we planted staples that we didn’t get a chance to plant last year, we had to rethink where we would put our prize tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini.  We decided to increase the size of our garden, not only because we added more crops, but because we wanted to make sure the soil remained fertile by rotating the location of our plants.   We utilize all of our garden to make sure not to waste anything.  We eat a lot of tomato based products in our house – all of which we made last year from the over 2,000 pounds of tomatoes that our garden yielded.  There is no better satisfaction than pulling a can off of our canning pantry in the middle of February to use in one of our dishes.  With the tomatoes we can tomato juice, tomato/pasta sauce, pizza sauce, diced tomatoes, salsa, picante sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, etc…

Our Compost Bin all stained, landscaped and ready big for a big season. We made it entirely from old pallets.

With the peppers we can roasted red peppers, and of course, utilized them in various other dishes with the tomatoes.  We also froze the peppers for easy use throughout the year.  This year we are looking forward to the additions that we have made, especially trying out an exciting new variety – The Big Mama Roma.  Of course, we had to tell Big Mamma (our largest chicken for those who haven’t met her yet on our blog) that the tomato was named after her.  So with the plants in place, and the groundhog contract signed that enforces a ‘no trespassing’ clause, we are ready for the growing to begin!

h After a long day of planting – nothing beats a great campfire to sit by and enjoy a perfect evening! We took this shot tonight as we relaxed after a long day of work at the farm.
The first of the lettuce is through and almost ready for the first picking – this is Summer Crisp
The chickens watching the garden activity from up above
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