Lessons.

We’ve only been on this property for a little over two years. When we moved back it was July. There was no way we were staring a garden. We were more focusing on buying a car and fridge.

The following year we dug up a small plot of land and decided to try to grow tomatoes.

Lesson learned? Tomatoes get so much bigger. We ended up planting them too close that our yield wasn’t as impressive. We only had 10 plants of the same variety, however, R saw the potential and claimed that we had great soil and a perfect plot to grow a great garden.

That was it last summer. I canned produce from the local farmer’s market: a few jams, salsa, and diced tomatoes. At the end of summer, I traded for a bag of potatoes. That was it.

But this year, I started to plan early. January came around and I broke open the seed catalogues. I had purchased several books on homesteading including “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” and I started a Pinterest board that I would obsessively add pins to and reference constantly. I started a farming journal and sketched out our garden plot. I researched what plants do well next to others and which are sworn enemies.

The lesson again this year?

Seriously, plant those tomatoes further apart.

It’s gotten to the point where I wonder if I’ll need 5 acres to plant 10 tomatoes. This year we went with several different varieties. All of them are growing nicely–but they have bent their tomato cages and are now all growing so close. And we planted them four feet apart.

Listen to the planting instructions in all those books you read, Carlson! I tend to yell at myself with my maiden name.

But this year has been more productive. We have planted:

  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • shallots
  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • strawberries
  • bell peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • wax peppers
IMG_4624
The mini-greenhouse lettuce box I begged R to make.

IMG_4625

And another lesson: goats may eat berry bushes, but berry bushes can survive!

We had a family rent our farm while we lived in the city. They wanted to see if farming was for them–it wasn’t I suppose. But they let their goats roam around. We have two berry bushes planted and cared for by the previous owners: raspberries and blackberries.

Once the goats ate the raspberries it was assumed the patch was dead. We nicknamed the area “The Graveyard” because all that was left was the “t” shaped support systems that once held the berries.

I don’t know what made me venture down there three years later. But I learned a lesson that day when, to my surprise, berries were e v e r y w h e r e.

That lesson? Google is your best friend, because I was able to research growing patterns of berries only to find that new shoots grow and become productive every three years.

Fancy that.

 

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