Reclaiming My Fruitful but Neglected Garden...

 Beware of neighbors bearing tractors....

Because sometimes, even if you have a wedding looming on the horizon...they will talk you into letting them 'try out' their tractor.. in your pasture..

And because it's Soooo much fun.. they might just till up a 60 x 30' garden.. far from the house.

Then they will bug you as to whether you have planted or not.. till you give in...

and then you buy plants.. and seeds... and fertilizer...
And your hubby wonders 'out loud' if perhaps you have lost your mind...

You spend a lot of time and some money...

and now you're committed. lol

 Eggplant with two inch long fruit

This is what happened to me this spring. To be honest I am NOT a gardener.

I have no self-discipline as regards gardening at all. So you can say this is a small form of a miracle that I am even attempting to keep up with this at all. I talked about that here.

I have to say, though, that there is no better form of exercise considering the calories you burn.. up to 300 per hour.

 I discovered, to my amazement, that I really really love gardening! There was a secret dormant gardening gene hiding somewhere in my heredity (probably my mom lol ).

Bell Peppers from seed

However, I am also getting our property ready for company both inside and out and doing a ton of other stuff, so I never did get all the plastic down for weed control.

As you can see, this stuff really does work! I am laying down more tomorrow evening after I give the garden one last run over with the tiller. (Helpful neighbor also has an old tiller. lol )

This really is one sad garden considering it could be a lot better.

Newly weeded Jalapeño plants

What you can't see is all the green onions, pepper plants, basil plants, and green beans that are about 6-8" tall and surrounded by weeds.

Until this week, I haven't touched this garden since planting it.

In only one week, some of the plants that the sprinkler couldn't reach are getting tons of water now. I invested in a timer. This was a brilliant move.

 Strawberries in the flower bed 

Being a very new and excessively busy gardener, I made a few mistakes which hopefully you can avoid. :)

1. Soak your seeds when you plant by seed.  I didn't do this and most of my green beans, basil, and cantaloupe did not ever sprout. I'm gonna replant green beans as there should be time to get a crop, now that I'm home and paying attention.

2. Water.. you MUST have water.. Anything that my sprinkler could reach (only the middle mostly) thrived.. and all the rest is tiny. Lesson learned. Water is the key ingredient. If you have a drought, you must get sprinklers going. We had a drought this spring.

Plastic for weed control works great!

3. Weed control... either lay down plastic (and buy plenty of pegs to hold them down), or make sure you can run a tiller between the rows. I had to borrow my neighbors, and due to a week and half long trip right after we put the garden in, I didn't get the plastic down in time for the whole thing.

                                                      Overgrown Garden ... before tilling

It rained for exactly one week after we got home, so then I was swamped with wedding stuff and a major fundraiser for the group I volunteer with, and ... sigh... weeds. Tons!

Things I did right... 
  • Buy PLANTS... already sprouted. 
  • Plant with room for tilling. 
  • Use plastic for weed control.
  • Use a bit of epsom salts in the ground where you plant.
  • Pick plants your neighbors are already successfully growing.
  • Plant when everyone else does. If it's still for sale at the store, you're probably safe. :)
  • Have a helpful neighbor lol.  

So what to do about my overgrown garden?

First I will till the weeds up.. actually I already did. I'm gonna do one more time, then get the rest of that plastic down.

Fresh basil from seed...

Two, I'm setting up a second sprinkler on my timer to get the whole garden. Water is the magic ingredient to a thriving garden.

Three, weeding.. tons of weeding.

and lastly, do a little seven dusting for bugs, and stake my tomatoes.

I hope to add some fertilizer here soon and be careful to pick as we go. I also plan to replant a bunch of greenbeans.

Newly tilled garden

Hopefully, I'll still be able to rescue my beloved garden. Next year.. I'm planting only HALF this garden. Glenn can have the rest if he wants it. Haha!
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 

Happy Homemaking...



Donna said...

PS. Epsom salts are for the tomato plants.

A Primitive Homestead said...

Was wondering about the Epsom salt. TY for adding that info. Oh my your plants are up and producing. Lucky you.