Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Starting Up the Homestead Garden

     Once settled in our home priorities shifted toward the big homesteading list. On the forefront of the needs- a garden. The property came with a fenced area that had been a large garden- during it's production years, regular amending was done and hearty harvests were reaped. Unfortunately, the garden had been left to itself for several years thus presenting a big challenge.
      If you have never embraced the task of reclaiming a garden space let me tell you it is a serious undertaking. Weeds and seeds set themselves deep- and pests over run it. My first gardens on the reclaimed location drove me to tears and nearly caused me to quit altogether. Tilling and turning unearthed new irritants to choke out tender plants wile the bugs voraciously claimed the rest. After my time of falling on the floor and crying until dehydration set in, I picked myself up, found my determination, and dug in my heels.
       We turned the earth once more and gathered piles of reclaimed wood, cinder block, and even some old tires to pair with weed barrier cloths for some raised bed attempts. Simple crops were intensively planted leaving no room for massive weeds. Herbs were placed near tender crops confusing some pests giving us a leg up as we tried to keep our methods as natural as possible.          

       Relieved and reassured of my abilities, we added and amended for several successful years of home harvests. With such confidence came experimentation and the long awaited arrival of our home greenhouse. Simple and hand made, this space offered us extended harvests and early beginnings. Seeds were sown for transplanting and cuttings were nurtured. A passion grew.
       I am not a person to stop learning- I am not one to keep it small. From the original plot there has grown two additional garden spaces, a rotation location and a large herbal sight. This year fruit trees and berry canes find there beginnings as we expand even further. Learning, growing, changing- that is the homestead garden. From those early tests and trials has grown a love of natural gardening, the amazing fascination with entomology (bugs/insects), and a heart for horticultural history.
      The process never ends, but grows with each passing season. I am blessed to be a Master Gardener for my county which affords me the opportunity to continue learning, honing my expertise, and teaching these amazing lessons to others longing to learn. I am honored to teach gardening and nutrition to children, hopefully sparking another generation with a passion for growing and learning.
All of this started with a small homestead garden simply graced with a few sparse green beans and some straggly tomatoes. Starting up the homestead garden started a life long journey for me, and for my family as well.


1 comment:

Dicky Bird said...

Time began in a garden - you know the saying...I hope my time ends in my garden as well.