Monday, April 30, 2012

Work Day: Garden Version

We are really trying to put in a much larger garden, but as you can see in some of the following pictures our soil is very much clay.  What gets planted in the dirt really doesn't do well, so a few years ago we decided to build raised beds and fill them with "store-bought" soil, manure and compost.  We also have a large composting bin that  consists of vegetable scraps, wood shavings with droppings from the chicken coop, manure from a friend's horse barn, sawdust, chopped leaves and more.  This weekend we added more beds to our garden and Jordan built a runner bean trellis tunnel that we hope will be filled with beans soon.

Caedmon is "helping out" at the bean tunnel.  We save cardboard boxes to put in the bottom of our raised beds.  Here we used them in the tunnel.  Later they were covered with dry leaves.  We also use the leaves as compost in the raised beds.  We have almost 9 acres and most of that is woods.  Leaves are free and plentiful around here!

Caedmon at the backside of the bean tunnel.

Jackson unloaded bags of soil from the back of the truck and then emptied them into this bed.  This bed is now filled with basil and volunteer tomato plants that I dug up from my  large mint bed.  That bed is made up totally of compost, so we have had many tomatoes and some squash plants come up in it.

A side view of the tunnel.  Beans are planted all along the base of the tunnel.  Jeff liked it so much that Jordan will be building another one later this week.  I hope all his hard work pays off!

A volunteer tomato

A volunteer squash

A new bed that is now used for lavender.  I started three plants from seed last year and Jeff bought two more the other day.  I hope they do well.  I would love to infuse the lavender in olive oil to use it in soapmaking.

Aaron fills another new bed with soil.  We are so thankful for these children who don't mind some hard work!

This is a new bed with apple mint.  I was inspired by the West Ladies from Homestead Blessings.  They have a beautiful bed full of apple mint that they use to make a refreshing tea.  We love hot and cold teas around here and I  hope to increase our homegrown herbs in order to make our own teas.  In addition to the apple mint, we also have lemon mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, peppermint, sweet mint and lemon balm for tea making.   We've even tried some sage and thyme tea for medicinal purposes.

Jeff is bringing up more cardboard to line a new raised bed.  We keep the cardboard boxes broken down and put in a large plastic box down in the barn.

And, just to keep it real....This is out directions!  Earlier in the morning I had transplanted leeks and peppers, planted lavender, mint and lemon balm and tomatoes and peppers.    I can still feel the burn in my thighs from all that squatting!
Our Simple Farm


MamaHen said...

We planted our garden Saturday and I looked much like you :). I was hot and sweaty, but that's all part of it.

It is so nice having big kids, isn't it? The work goes so much faster.

Unknown said...

I LOVE the bean tunnel! We may have to try that one out. Pole beans?

Michele said...

Looks like you all got a lot done! We are trying to finish up planting and do some replanting as well. The recent colder weather has NOT helped our gardening efforts! I am jealous of all your land! Someday, maybe! ;)

Pearlann said...

A Mennonite friend gave me a start of a plant she just called her tea plant. I wasn't sure what I was getting but have discovered it was spearmint and it makes such a delightful tea. I even keep a pot of it on my counter as a houseplant so I can have fresh tea even on the winter

Zanre5 said...

We are planning a much larger garden this year as well. We moved our garden to a better spot in the yard. Unfortunately, we seem to hit every snag in the book from tractor problems to weather delays.
I have a blog at but have started a blog for our "farm" I haven't added many posts yet, but if you have any thoughts to add from your experiences, that would be great.

Mrs. Stam said...

Gardening is always lots of fun, looks like your family worked hard :-)

Jennifer said...

We are expanding our garden too, can't wait for more veggies!

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