I've been snapping garden photos all summer long...hoping to share many blog posts and all of these photos, but summer has come and gone. It looks like I'm doing a single gardening post with TONS of photos from the whole summer. I can't explain how much I love gardening...it is such an enjoyable and useful hobby. I'm ready for a break by fall, and my garden is currently cleaned out and tilled for the winter, but looking back at all of these photos already makes me miss it's beauty and produce. But of course, I'm glad to have a break from all of the weeding, harvesting, and canning for a few months.
David and I built a new fence around my garden this year. It's very simple, but I love it. We left one end of the fence so that it can be taken down. There are perks being married to a farmer...he has tractors, and it's so much easier to simply bring in the tractor and till up all of the ground. I will admit that my garden is so beautiful and flourishes so well because of David. He works the soil so nicely for me, and he always fertilizes it well in the spring and fall. All winter, we clean out the chicken coop and spread the straw and chicken poop on the garden. In the spring, it is tilled in to make the most beautiful soil (the soil here is amazing soil to begin with). During the summer, he pumps fertilizer through the sprinklers with the same system he uses to fertilize his fields here by our house. He also helps me start almost all of our plants from seed in our greenhouse. We enjoy trying all types and varieties of flowers and veggies, and experimenting with new things. All of this helps contribute to a beautiful garden.
I like to think that a garden provides a perfect opportunity for kids to learn to work. How many times do people think about planting a garden, and get so excited about it...putting lots of time, money, and work into it, only to get lazy mid season and let it get taken over by weeds, and let the produce go to waste? I've tried really hard to have my kids be involved in the whole process, teaching them to complete the process from start to finish (which includes preserving what we can't eat so it doesn't go to waste). It is a LOT of work, but like any chore, it is not so hard when you work together, and everyone does their share. I feel I'm especially lucky to raise my kids on a farm, because they find pleny of opportunities to learn about work. When kids learn about work, it makes play that much more fun, and I know that my kids get plenty of work and fun...and I'm proud that they know more about working than most kids their age. My garden plays a big role in that :)
This is my new fence...David built me a nice little gate at both ends of the garden. The gate has a double sided hinge so it swings both ways. This is especially nice when you're carrying loads of produce out of the garden. We put up a smaller netted fencing to help keep out all of our domestic rabbits that we've let go over the years...they've had lots of babies, and are thriving here on our farm. They like to munch on my garden, so I have to keep a fence up, but I love watching them hop around our farm. We staked a cattle pannel into an arch shape, and I love to plant Scarlet Runner Beans along the bottom of both sides...they cover the arch in no time, and I think it's beatiful.
Up on the hill behing our garden, we grow a huge sweet corn patch, pumpkin patch, and melon patch.
I like to incorporate lots of flowers into my garden. Besides being beautiful, they fill up any open areas and help keep out weeds. We like to cut them and make flower arrangements in our home all summer long. I always plant the seeds straight into my garden...especially zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers. One of my favorite places to order bulk flower seeds is Swallowtail Seeds. It is much cheaper than buying all of those mini packets at the store.
The chickens and goat get plenty of fresh produce and greenery in the summer...
Our orchard is situated right next to the garden, and we get to enjoy apples, peaches, pears, plums, and apricots.
Many people have asked me what type of tomatoes I grown. The answer is not simple. I grow so many varieties...a mix of many types. I love the simplicty and short growing time of Early Girls, but I love big beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are juicy and big. I like many of the goliath and beefsteak varieties as well, because I usually preserve about 100-115 cans of stewed tomatoes each year, and these big tomatoes help my yields add up. The Wild Boar Solar Flare was a new favorite this year. When it comes to cherry tomatoes, my favorites are Super Sweet 100's, Sun Sugar, and some new Artisan varieties we tried this year. We like having big variety so that they are ripening all summer. We have had great luck ordering most of tomato varieties from Totally Tomatoes.
I grow a decent sized pumpkin patch and order most of my seeds from Rupp Seeds. I enjoy growing many varieties of gourds and squash as well.