Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Garden

Its a miracle that I even was able to get pics uploaded onto the blog! So in no particular order, here are the pics, then a huge explanation of what we've been up to with our garden...

Here is Nathan shoveling the manuer from the trailor onto the garden

Colt was helping Daddio every step of the way, this is them finally being able to plant the seeds

See, these pics are NOT in order, this is Colt helping Daddy till the land. This was a good 3 weeks before we could even plant.

Here it is now...2 months after planting. This is one end of the garden with squash, watermelons and pumpkins. We are just barely starting to see actual fruit. So far its just been green growing out of control!

This is the other end of the garden, the corn is the tall suff and over to the right is the cucumbers. You can't tell by the pic, but the cucumbers are thick and lush. That was how the green beans were before the wild rabbits got into them!

Oh man, this is the very very first step, tractoring down all the weeds before even tilling the land.

So here are the steps to get the ground ready to plant:

1. Tractor down 5 acres of foxtails and weeds. Now up here, the landscape depends soley on nature. After a winter of snow and rain, the green grass grows lush and beautiful. Our whole property from February to April is lush and green. Then it slowly heats up and turns into a land of dry foxtails and weeds. Foxtails are a whole nother entry. So all of this dry grass and weeds are like up to your waist. So we took a couple of afternoons and tractored all the land flat

2. Till the land. We tilled a 25x50 foot section from the hard dirt land. This tilling process took a cumilitave of probably 40 hours. Yes, I am serious. It was a long slow process. We used a push tiller because we don't have a big fancy tractor. A tractor has so many uses, it would be so cool to have one...maybe someday.

3. Pour aged horse manuer over the whole thing. Once the land was all nice and dug up and soft, we started watering it for about a week with the manuer on it. This was a process. We filled our trailor up with a ton of manuer from this ladies property. Then drive from each side of the garden shoveling the manuer onto the garden. Big time.

4. We ordered seeds from a company online based out of Utah. We ordered 18 different kinds of seeds and they come in the reclosable pouches so the unused seeds stay good year after year. We ordered 1/4lb pouches which have thousands of seeds in each one. So while we were getting the land ready one day, the UPS truck pulled up and we all ran down the long driveway up to the gate...."The seeds came in!" That driver must've thought we were so deprived. The 2 dirty white haired farm boys and their daddy all so excited for seeds. Hahaha

5. Literally on hands and knees in the garden poking hole after hole into the fresh soil. Place 2-3 seeds in each hole. Colt helped Daddy do this part. And the seeds are sooo tiny.

6. Since we don't have a drip system for watering we go out and water very very lightly about 3 times a day. This takes about 20 minutes each time.

7. Wait and hope and water and watch for something to pop up.

8. About a week after we got all the seeds in, I was in the garden rows just looking down at the soil, wondering if any seedlings would show...and to my amazed excitement, a tiny green bean seedling was poking up out of the soil! I SQUEELED WITH EXCITEMENT! And I celebrated the first seedling right there in the middle of the garden, jumping up and down, all by myself, beginning to reap the benifits of our labors!

9. Things start popping up after that, and each one has its own little hurray party. It is so exciting to work for something and benifit from it! Wow, what a concept huh?!

10. We have begun to water the garden now with the classic long sprinkler that goes over from side to side. I love sunset every night, watching the sun go behind the hills, the sky is orange, classic sprinkler just so simple going back and forth, the cows beyond that, just peacefully grazing...

11. I don't know why I'm still numbering all of this instead of just typing it. So out here, people do big gardens. The land is available, the water is on a well system, so people take advantage of the opportunity. Around April and May, all over Anza, you see and hear people tilling/tractoring up their land, getting ready to plant. The rule of thumb is around Memorial day, have everything planted. BUT for the last several years, there is ALWAYS a frost (where the temp just drops significantly at night and freezes the crops). after or around Memorial day. So, we were just behind and we didn't plant till the day before Father's day. We heard that was the very latest latest you can plant. So anyway, ALSO nobody has any straight answer about how to successfully keep your garden safe from critters. Rabbits, gophers, bugs... there are SO many suggestions and yet even the lady who owns the garden shop up here (yes there is more to Anza than just a gas station and a DQ!) has been gardening for 30 years and she still doesn't know the answer to a truly successfull garden. SO, we decided we'd just plant enough for us and the critters. We planted a lot. LIke a total of 1200 seeds. We put a 2 ft tall fence up around the garden and just did a lot of hoping. Well, critters were in. Oh it is SO frustrating to wake up to gopher holes in your carot square! We took care of that right away with gopher poisening. Then, THEN the worst...rabbits slowly and surely ate all of our green beans. Oh it was just sickening to wake up every morning and see the beautiful green bean sprouts slowly withering away. What was our options? Nathan sat outside with a shotgun at midnight waiting for them. That took care of one or two. But there are more...and before we could actually DO soemthing that would keep the rabbits out, our green beans were all but diminished. OHHH, so we put up a taller fence, really quick. It was at night by the time we could get around to doing it. Working together with flashlights hoping that the one foot taller fence would protect the rest of our garden. Well....its working so far! We haven't had any problems since with installed the taller fecne. So, we have 0ne green bean plant. ONE that saved itself. So we look at that one green bean plant every morning knowing that the garden was safe the night before.
Now for the positive parts of the garden. Our Corn is HUGE! Its about up to my shoulders and its so fun to listen to the corn blowing in the breeze. That wasn't hurt. Our carrots are slowly popping up, as well as cucumbers. The cucumbers were right next to the green beans so lush and the bunnies never even touched them! Our squash, pumpkins, canteloep, watermelons, and onions are also doing great. Just the other day I was walking the garden and saw a growing pumpkin! For the last month, these plants have just been huge green leafy patches, so its really fun to actually see a THING coming through!
Its been so great doing all these things. We just ask Mr. Google everything, then we try it, and now we already know what kinds of things we'll do differently next year!