And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden . . .
I love to ride the country roads in the springtime and see the ground being plowed and planted. Then all summer long we watched to see the progress of the wheat or corn or soybeans, or whatever the crop may be. Riding down the road I listen for my husband to comment “Too wet.”, “Need rain.”, or “Looking good!” Then in the fall we watch as the harvest begins and finally the fields are put to bed for the winter. The cycle of life is played out before us on those farms that surround us.
I guess that is why have always loved gardening. There is something special about planting a seed and watching it grow (or not – as sometimes happens with me). We have always had a garden. I started out small but over the years it has grown. Even though our children are grown with gardens of their own – my garden has not gotten any smaller.
In fact it has gotten quite a bit bigger. Do I really need five rows of lima beans? Maybe not – but someone can use them and I love to grow them.
These pictures are from our Garden of 2016. Everything laid out in neat long rows, although some may be a little crooked.
This year, however, we made a change. Last August I read an article about Len Pense and his raised-bed revolution. It sounded interesting so I made a phone call and he invited us down to Strafford, Missouri to see his garden and to learn about his system.
We had a great time touring the garden and listening to Len’s story of how this all came about and before we left he had converted us. We decided to try his system in our garden.
This spring we put down the black weed protection fabric and began building our beds.
I did make one mistake. The beds are supposed to be 4 feet wide by 16 feet long (inside dimensions). My first beds are 4 feet by 16 feet – outside dimensions. A little smaller than his but they functioned well for this season!
These are the rice hulls which we mix with cotton burr compost, peat moss and trace mineral elements to make up the planting medium.
Olin bought a Feed Grinder-Mixer to mix our ingredients. It works pretty well as long as he doesn’t stick his head down in while it is running!
It made it easier and quicker to fill all those beds.
We used tubs for some plants – squash, zuchinni, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, and some tomatoes.
We spread mulch in between the beds to help with weed control – and it makes it look nice! Olin also made me three new composting bins.
And let the planting begin!
In addition to the benefits of fresh produce I also had a great exercise program lifting concrete blocks and shoveling mulch!
Stay tuned for the next installment of our gardening adventure!