Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden Plans Changing

Last year we had a really large garden, though we still didn't implement our entire garden plot.  We planted long rows of:
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • lettuce
  • peas
  • green beans
  • tomatoes
  • green bell peppers
  • watermelon
  • sweet potatoes
  • canteloupe
  • cucumbers
  • zucchini
  • spaghetti squash
  • pumpkins
  • butternut squash

Not all of those were successful last year.  We never did get any peppers or tomatoes, the lettuce didn't come up, the cucumbers didn't do well, and the butternut squash was planted way too late ... frost killed it before it was mature.

We had planned a similarly large garden this year, though at the moment we've only managed to plant:
  • 2 long rows of potatoes
  • 2 long rows of onions
  • 2 long rows of peas
  • 1 row of carrots and beets
  • 1 row of spinach and lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • tomatoes
  • bell peppers
  • some other pepper plant I've forgotten
  • one volunteer pumpkin plant

One of our rows of peas has already died due to heat ... apparently it's not as hardy a variety as the other row.  We'll be pulling it up to feed to the chickens soon.

We've had a lot of rain and haven't yet had a chance to get green beans or the rest of our garden in the ground.  On Steve's days off, it's usually been too wet to till.  We've also spent two weekends focused on building the hoop coop for the chickens, and one weekend at a family reunion.

Partly due to the fact that we're nearing the end of June and haven't finished planting the garden, and partly due to other factors, we've decided that what's in the ground already is going to be "it" for our garden this year.

The main "other factor" relates to our farm.  We own 7 acres of the original family homestead.  And when I say homestead, I mean it in its original sense.  Steve's Great-Great Grandfather homestead this land in the 1860s.  It's been in the family since then.   The extended family co-owns the remaining acreage, and a farmer rents it and plants it for us.  The family gets a portion of the harvest as our rent.   Part of our 7 acres was once a corner of a wheat field.  The first year we lived here, even our corner had wheat in it.  We'd moved in (owned it for a few years prior to being able to move) after the wheat was planted.  The next year, he didn't plant it so we could put our garden there.  We did, and he planted wheat alongside us in that field.  But it had too much cheat in it, since he hadn't sprayed it at all because of our garden.

This year he left the field fallow.  We had thought he was going to put in soy beans, but he decided he'd need to spray that, too.  If he sprays, it will kill the garden, which is right next to it.  He's suggested a more distant area behind the barn for our garden a couple times, in passing.  He hasn't asked us to move it, but has talked about how fertile that area will be since it once had cattle in it.

I miss the wheat outside my windows, but mainly we can't let this land just sit here doing nothing.  So we've decided to give up our already-tilled garden land and move to another area of our property next year.  We'll have to work hard to get that area ready for a garden.  Since wheat gets planted in the Fall, we want the farmer to be able to spray or do whatever he wants to the field beforehand.  So we're not planting anything else that will be in the garden "late" in the season.

But, that's probably a good thing.  Over the past week, I've realized that I can't bend and work without suffering from hip/back pain for several days afterward.  I'm 25 weeks pregnant today, and it took me 4 days to recover from helping Steve finish the hoop coop last Friday.  Then we discovered I can no longer walk to the back corner of the other chicken pen (it has a chicken wire roof over a 3.5-4 foot fence, so I have to walk all bent over in there) to get the eggs.  I have to send the kids in after them now, or else my back/hips pay for it.

Last night I realized I'm not able to work in the garden very long, either.  I went out to help with weeding.  I weeded the row of carrots and beets.  I did some minor weeding in the two onion rows (Steve had done them last week) and then I started to help with peas.  At that point, I realized I couldn't do anymore bending.  To crawl on my knees wouldn't be much better for my hips.  I stayed and supervised for awhile, and then I just knew I needed to sit down ... so I headed inside.  I'm not so achy this morning, but I was really aching last night until we finally went to bed.

If we had wanted to add to our garden still, it would have been very difficult for me to help with the planting and weeding.   As it is, when we harvest onions and carrots, I'll likely sit in a chair and direct rather than kneel down and pull them up myself.  We'll have to see how I'm doing then.

I guess when we talked about having another big garden, we didn't realize my body was going to rebel.  I need to be able to do my housework, like helping kids pick up, carrying laundry baskets, and vacuuming.  I'm trying to limit the unnecessary bending work so I can still be able to do the necessary work.  We didn't have a garden the last time I was pregnant, since it was a wheat field, and my previous 3 pregnancies were due in winter, so I wasn't so far along during garden season.  We just didn't realize how pregnancy would limit that work.

So that's the change in our garden plans.  I'll concentrate on growing this baby more, and less on growing the garden.   We still have zucchini, pumpkin, peas, and green beans in the freezers.   We'll have last year's harvest to enjoy through the upcoming year.

Trusting in Him,

April E.


  1. Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way. Due to health issues I opted to do a "bucket garden" this year.

  2. Hello April! It's been ages since I have been on! Congrats on the baby! We are expecting baby number 5 in Jan. We, too have a garden, but it's not so big. This year was kind of a trial year for a lot of things. We have harvested beets, radishes, a few potatoes, spinach, kale, and a few green onions. We have corn, a few green beans, squash, cucumbers, canteloupe, watermelon, carrots, garlic, onions, lots of tomatoes, and peas growing. Sounds like a lot, but like I said, it's not too big! Well, I hope your family is doing well, and yes, you are wise to let your body rest and take care of that baby! God will provide just what you need for food! He is good!

  3. You're amazing - doing all of that with a baby on the way - kudos to you! You remind me of my mom who was helping build a garage right up until a few hours before delivering my brother!

  4. Growing that healthy baby is so much more important that having a big garden this summer! Rest and only do what you are able--and do not get too hot!

    My husband loves to garden. Yet, as we talked about putting in a garden last summer we realized it was too expensive and time-consuming. Our ground grows rocks and hardwood trees really well, but little else. We would have to chop down trees which shade our house, add (rock-free) topsoil (lots of it!), etc.

    Our hands are already full with the many other responsibilities in our lives, too. If we had a garden, we would have to drop some of our church activities or scouting volunteering or something else. We just are not willing to do that at this time.

  5. Not really that amazing. I wouldn't get that garden in without Steve doing the tilling. And I wouldn't get it all harvested without the kids' help. Last year was our first year with such a large garden. We had small in-town ones before that, which usually were overgrown with weeds. I spend plenty of time (too much) sitting around when I should be cleaning house.

  6. I hope you feel better soon. I know how hard it can be to do less while pregnant when you want to keep doing your usual work. I try to use pregnancy as a time to train the children to help more cause I know I won't be doing much with a new baby either.


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