We have made a few attempts at gardening in the past, but have yet to figure it out. Although we did skip gardening last year, we are back at it again this year. We are getting better and learn a little more at every attempt. If you knew the gardening history in my family, you would think I should be a pro. My Grandpa had quite the amazing garden that he fed 11 kids with. I can remember spending time in the summer over at Grandpa and Grandma’s, helping work in the garden.
Last Falls Prep Work
Our garden area last year had become unbelievably over grown after not touching it for a summer and we had a lot of work ahead of us if we were going to make something happen. After doing my final grass cutting before winter, I raked a ton of leaves and grass clipping up and spread them over the top of the entire garden area. I did this after mowing the garden weeds down to the ground. I have a tiller, but it needed some work and I was kind of running out of time, so that is what I ended up doing.
We failed at getting any seeds going ahead of time in the house, but we did get out and start adding some more dirt to the garden. Our soil is complete sand and is difficult to even get grass to grow in it. The good news is, the layer of grass clippings and leaves helped stunt the growth of weeds in the fall. I still hadn’t fixed my tiller yet either…
Anyways, we hauled in a few truck loads of dirt from our city compost pile to spread around over the top of the grass and weeds. The soil was better than we had in the garden already, but it turned out to be pretty bad in hind site. Our first round of planting came in stunted. The soil wouldn’t hold any water and was probably pretty empty of any kind of nutrients.
We ended going to the local nursey and getting a truck full of mix top soil and compost for another round of planting. This was way better! Our round 2 planting came in quite a bit faster. We still don’t have much of a garden out there, but we are getting a few things out of it.
What We Planted
We’ve planted corn every year that we have attempted a garden and I have yet to get 1 single ear of corn. I don’t give up easy though and we are giving it another shot. Round 1 of planting didn’t go so well with the first soil and we had to replant. The round 2 came up fairly quick, but seems to be a little stunted now. I have thinned them out at an attempt to give the stalks a little more growing space, so we’ll see what happens. I think they are better than I have had in the past at this point, but they look a little behind schedule to get some crops out of them before fall.
The watermelon came up fast, but seems to be stunted now. It is yet to produce any flowers and I would think there would be some flowers by now, if we were gonna get any watermelons from it. We planted 2 mounds with 5 or 6 seeds per mound. Only 1 mound produced anything and we thinned it out to 2 plants. We ended up raking the other mound into the soil and planting a couple rows of cucumbers over it. Low and behold… We have a couple watermelon plants growing up in our cucumber rows. They seem to be stunted just the same though.
These came up fast and were part of our round 2 planting with the new soil. They did seem to stunt a little bit, but might be taking off again. I do see a few flower buds starting, so we’ll probably get some cucumbers out of them at some point.
Haha, the potatoes were a complete after thought… My kids asked about growing potatoes while we were grocery shopping and low and behold, the potato seed starters were sitting right there. So, we planted potatoes. One of them is coming in really awesome. One did nothing and 2 others are doing ok. Not really sure what I am doing with them, but I keep pulling soil up around the plant as it grows.
Beans seem to be easy and we always have good luck with them. The kids will get a kick out of the purple beans also. We planted them a little late, but they came in good and we should get plenty of crop off of them within a month.
We’ve never had great luck with carrots, but my youngest wanted to give them a shot again. We’ve done 3 plantings of them and I think there are 3 carrots growing.
I have gotten beats at a previous house in the past, but they just didn’t do well in this soil. I planted another round of them just recently to see what happens.
We have been eating salads every day for the last 2 weeks from the lettuce in the garden. I literally just threw the seeds out across an area and then ran a rake over them and they came in really good. I just planted another round as well to make sure we continue to have fresh lettuce.
I have also been eating radishes just about every day. Radishes are easy… they grow really fast, great in salads and are a nice little snack that have a slight zing to them. I am the only one that likes them, but they are so easy to grow and it helps keep me motivated to garden. I did just run out of radishes though and had not replanted soon enough, so I will be out for a few weeks.
These have been easy for us in the past, but this year they did not come in good at all. I think that was slightly due to the soil I planted them in. Regardless, there are a few snap peas appearing on the vines. We did plant a second round recently in the new soil, so I am hopeful that we’ll get a larger batch of snap peas at the end of season.
We did get some Rhubarb, but not quite enough for a full pie. Regardless, we cut it and added some mixed frozen fruit that we had in the freezer and a few wild raspberries that we found growing in the back tree line. The pie was great!
I know the gardening is a bit off topic with our typical travel topics, but gardening still fits the Outdoor Family Life theme. I will circle back on the garden topic again later in the summer with some updates. Until then, enjoy your summer and look out for a few trip reports of some new places from us over the coming months.