One thing I have been looking forward to for a long time, long before we started the house-building process is having a garden. There seems to be something very therapeutic about digging in the dirt, tending to plants and watching them grow. In the not-so-distant past, people planted gardens to feed their families, out of necessity. So many people who live out in the country plant gardens. Now we have grocery stores and other places to purchase food, but there is something really nice about growing your own. Aside from the superior taste and nutritional quality, being able to feed yourself and your family something you grew is just really an accomplishment!
We live on a 12 acre parcel that is mostly open field. We had a lot of flexibility in deciding where to actually put the garden. We chose a spot where I knew the soil was soft and easy to work. We wound up tilling a 50 by 100 foot plot! It still seems very big but I am sure once the plants start to grow it will be a comfortable size.
On May 20th, I started planting. We have had an unusually cold and dry spring. We actually had a killing frost a night or two before I started planting. It was a little extra work to till the soil because it had turned into a meadow and was full of grass and weeds. With a borrowed tractor and tiller, we got the plot ready and I let the soil dry for a few days. On June 1, I planted some of the vegetables that need warmer soil plus several donated strawberry plants. Over the next couple of days, I will plant the rest of my seeds and I will purchase some tomato plants.
This summer I am going to learn the art of canning – preserving foods usually in glass jars to be shelf-stable, for future use. Some foods that are acidic can be put up in jars with only a hot water bath. Other foods need to be canned in a pressure cooker in order to prevent spoiling. I now own a pressure cooker which makes me nervous, but I have a friend who is going to teach me how to use it. I will help her with her canning, and in turn she will teach me what I need to know. If my garden does really well, I am going to have a lot of food to share and to put up for the winter.
I don’t have much to show yet since our weather has been very unstable – very hot one day, and cold enough to need the furnace a couple of days later. We did get plenty of rain so little by little, I should start to see more plants getting a start at life. I do have some little radish seedlings to show for my work… they mature in only 23 days, so very soon I will need to thin them out so we can eat fresh radishes in a couple of weeks!