I’m a farmer’s daughter. Although I may not be out making rounds through fields in a tractor, I can take part in a scaled down version of farming. I created a vegetable garden.
Gardening is a wonderful hobby with many benefits.
This isn’t my first garden. Growing up, we had a family garden and even after marriage, Casey and I have had a small garden. A couple years ago when we added the basketball court, my small postage stamp garden was covered in concrete.
I often struggle, and have refrained from gardening for years, because I’m not sure it is cost-effective. The input costs often outweigh the bounty. But by keeping my costs down and using this as an opportunity for enjoyment instead of a money making, or even money saving proposition, I feel it is more than worth it.
I found a sunny location, accessible from my backyard. Taking over a portion of a livestock lot and pasture required some preparation work before throwing the plants in the ground.
This year I was able to enroll in the area horticulture class. The class provided instruction and also access to the greenhouse. This allowed me to get many plants started early in the season and also saved me money by growing my own plants from seed.
But before I could plant seeds or seedlings in the ground, I was going to need a garden plot.
The stomped down, rock hard, clay was not going to work as-is. We followed these steps in creating the garden area:
Marked off the area
Tilled the ground, removing any large rocks and debris
Added organic material from the barn and lots
Dug sand from the creek and incorporated it into the soil
Tilled in wood shavings and sawdust
Finished the soil prep by adding in some topsoil
Once the ground was satisfactory, we did a little more hardscaping.
We installed a perimeter fence and also a cattle panel arch.
A treated wood frame was also used as a border for my herb garden.
I created a walkway covered with landscape fabric and black mulch and anchored with rocks.
Anyone can have a garden of some type. The size can vary greatly, and that’s OK- do what you can. Sure I have more acres I could have turned into garden, but I wanted a space that was manageable. I also don’t plan to can or freeze a lot of extra vegetables so I planted what I thought we would eat or decorate with.
On that note, I’ve received a lot of flack from my family for planting Indian corn. “We can’t even eat it.” Well we’re probably not going to be eating many gourds or pumpkins either, but I still planted them.
I wanted to plant some favorites plus some unique varieties. This includes the Indian corn, all the way to the lemon cucumbers that look like yellow baseballs (pictured in the feature image at the top). Some childhood favorites made the cut like peas and I tried out a few new ones like carrots.
I am very pleased with my garden area. It is definitely a work in progress. The weeding is endless. The soil quality will hopefully continue to improve as more organic matter is added throughout the seasons.
But I’m a farmer now and a hobby that puts food on the table is surely a good one. Need a new hobby? I’d recommend gardening.