One of Denny’s cool gardening ideas. This one is a two-person job. Take one hog panel and 8 sturdy stakes (these are rebar). Pound 4 of the stakes in a line, each one about a foot from the next. Put the edge of the hog panel against the stakes and push the other end towards the stakes. Your helper should be arching the panel as you move. When the “loose” end is where you want it to be, hold the panel in place and drive in the other 4 stakes on the outside. And you now have a temporary trellis for peas, cucumbers, pole beans, anything that climbs. Take it down at the end of the season, store the materials in the garage/barn, pull it out again for next year.
We have 2 of these next to each other – 8 pickling cucumbers, and 4 Winter Luxury pumpkins. The pumpkins are an experiment – I’ve read that you can make slings for the pumpkins to rest in as they grow – tie a strip of t-shirt to the panel and rest the pumpkin in the sling. As it grows, it will fill in the sling, but not break the stem. I also read that if you don’t sling the pumpkin, it will only grow to a certain size so the stem won’t be stressed or break. Smart plants!
I also tried a new (for me) planting method – hilling. You can see that there is a lot of grass here (we mowed the plot before starting work). I dug traditional holes for some of the plants, but hilled the rest. Basically, you put the plant on the ground and build up a dirt mound around it. The dirt kills the grass underneath and the plant grows just fine. Keep the area around the plant free from grass/weeds, and you just did a lot less work for the same reward.
Planting peas next to the fence made me a bit nervous at the beginning – I was 95% sure that our chickens were going to massacre the poor little pea shoots. But I’m happy to report that this did not happen, and the peas are growing, blooming, and making peas! We have peas in all stages, from bloom to almost ready to pick and shell.
And they are delicious (I’ve been munching on them as I do other garden work – shhh!!).
We’re planning to plant a late summer (to be harvested in the fall) crop as well. This will be a first for me – peas are a spring crop, right? Well, they can be planted in the late summer as well.
If you don’t think you’re a pea fan, I would really recommend trying fresh peas as they’re in season in your location.. They taste nothing like the stuff in the can – they’re sweet and slightly crunchy. You might be surprised to find that you like peas.
Last fall, we planted sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes), not really knowing if they would sprout or not. Well, they did! We’re planning on leaving them alone for a year or so, to let them get well established.
They are cousins to sunflowers, and the roots (tubers) look like ginger. I’ve not eaten them before, but the linked article has some simple ways to prepare them.
Maybe we’ll be selling these at the farm markets next year???
The tomatoes and onions really enjoyed the rains we’ve been getting. We also have cabbage, corn, and 2 types of beans planted – waiting for them to sprout.
The bit between the tomatoes and onions is the walkway – it also likes the rain, but we keep it mowed down!
In addition to many loads of laundry, a slight cleaning of the house, a wonderful visit with Indiana family that stopped by, and running a kiln load of pottery, we all worked in the garden to get these 3 rows of potatoes planted. Denny started a test plot earlier this month to see if he could grow the potatoes by just laying them on the ground and strawing them down. It worked, so we pulled out all of the seed potatoes and put them on the ground with a thick layer of straw over top.
If all grows well, I’m going to eat mashed potatoes (or home fries, or baked, or pan roasted) every day this coming winter!
Last year, I challenged readers to plant a 10 foot by 10 foot plot of wheat by October 10th as a proof that it can be done. I am challenging everyone to do the same thing this year. But wait, there’s more: This challenge isn’t just about proving you can grow your own food, although […]
Last year, I challenged readers to plant a 10 foot by 10 foot plot of wheat by October 10th as a proof that it can be done. I am challenging everyone to do the same thing this year.
But wait, there’s more:
This challenge isn’t just about proving you can grow your own food, although that is an important part. It’s also about being ready.
To that end, I challenge you to do any or all of the following:
- Plant a 10 food by 10 foot plot of fall planted cereal grain by October 10th. Such grains include winter wheat, rye, and some kinds of barley and oats. Good sources for this kind of seed include Bountiful Gardens and The Sustainable Seed Company
- Install and plant a cold frame with fall plantings of lettuce or root vegetables.
- Purchase a small patio greenhouse and populate it with potted vegetables.
- If you have an existing garden, consider planting and covering rows of lettuce or root vegetables.
You can do this, but you have to do it. Your first step toward feeding yourself can start with this.