Our garden is not manicured beautifully for a magazine or social media, but it is functional and very productive! Growing our own fresh organic produce year round helps to supplement our grocery budget. Not only do we have fresh fruits and vegetables nearly all year round, we have plenty to can, freeze, dehydrate, and freeze dry.
We built the garden into a hillside on our property. We used our 2020 covid stimulus check to fund our big garden project. It was a great move! In addition to feeding our family, it is teaching our children (and us!) to work hard, work together, and reap what we sow.
Lots of you have asked about our how our garden is doing this year, so I’m giving you a little tour. You can get a walkthrough tour in the YouTube video embedded below or just read on and I’ll do my best to explain.
On the lowest terrace we have blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, and blueberries. They are quite a jungle right now. We have been planning to put horizontal support wires on t-posts around each of the beds to hold the vines up, but we have not gotten to that project yet. This year our blackberries and boysenberries produced well, but picking them was tricky. Thankfully they are thornless, but they are just hard to access when they’re so overgrown. Our blueberries pretty much got buried by the blackberries.
The next terrace up has 4 beds of strawberries, a bed of cantaloupe, a bed of sweet potatoes, a bed of herbs, a bed of tomatoes, and a bed of peppers. There are some yard-long beans in there somewhere too. The problem (or blessing, depending on how you see it) is that loads of volunteer tomatoes grew up in the woodchips outside of the beds. We pulled out hundreds of them, but still we have volunteer tomato plants overtaking everything. While we could still rip them out, half of the family is in favor of keeping them so can sell cherry tomatoes (only we haven’t started selling them seriously). Every year we say that next year we will not allow any volunteers, but when we see the cute, strong plants growing up we don’t have the heart to pull the all out. Maybe next year!
The next terrace up is also riddled with volunteer cherry tomatoes, watermelon, and cucumbers all growing outside of our raised beds! We have intentionally planted watermelons (lots of them), sweet potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers (lemon, garden sweet, and Armenian), yellow squash, and many tomato varieties. It looks like a jungle, but produces lots of good things to eat!
Above that we have our greenhouse terrace. We took the cover of our greenhouse off for the summer. We don’t have any raised beds up here, but decided to plant straight into the ground. Our ground is very much rock (as you can see in the video and sides of the above photos), so the woodchips that we have covered every terrace with are what makes the ground fertile and plantable. We didn’t have a solid watering system on this terrace for the first part of the summer, so it was kind of neglected. Even so, we have will have a good harvest of spaghetti squash along with some pumpkins and banana squash.
Speaking of pumpkins and banana squash we still have a couple hundred pounds in the garage from last year’s harvest! We need to get it pureed and frozen before we harvest this year’s fruits.
We have two higher terraces of fruit trees with additional fruit trees planted into the slope above that. A late frost as well as deer devastation when someone left a gate open, dashed our hopes of fruit this year. Hopefully they will start producing next year.
We’re getting ready to start seedlings for our fall/winter garden. Last year we had several varieties of beautiful lettuce that grew all fall and winter. We actually had to pull out everything that was left so that we could plant in the spring. It’s too hot for lettuce in the summer here, so I’m really looking forward to fall. And as long as it doesn’t freeze, the tomatoes will keep ripening late into the year as well.
Do you have a garden? How is it growing this year?