This weekend I said to Don “it feels like we’re finally getting a handle on this farming thing, its starting to work for us”. And it is. Suddenly the work we’ve done over the past three years seems to be bearing fruit. It feels like we’ve turned a corner. The potential has always been easy to see, we just had to find a way to harness and nurture it. And we have! We are! Loving this land is feeding us as we feed it. The work isn’t over by any means- there is still more to do than I want to thinking about – but there is harmony now and the work is easier for it.
The raised beds are working out wonderfully; the plants seem to love them and they are much easier to care for, reducing the hours spent weeding in the garden. We are able to grow so much more in the beds that we have added additional crops to use up all of the available garden space, and it all feels under control!! I believe next year with a few more raised beds we will be able to start producing not just for ourselves but just maybe we can begin to grow enough to take to the market or contribute to Henry’s CSA. The more raised beds we can build over the coming winter the less work it will take to grow double the amount of food. Slowly we are succeeding!
The squash are amazing, we have really struggled with squash the last couple of years and have yet to get plants that produce more than a few fruit before they wither and die and/or are covered in squash bugs. These are the healthiest squash plants we’ve grown since we moved here. The pictures really don’t do it justice. I have all my fingers and toes crossed for a good squash harvest this year.
Green beans on the other hand, have done really well for us in past years. This year they have already crested the trellis Don made for them grow up.
There is a lot more coming up in the garden than squash and beans: chard, okra, tomatoes, peppers, melon, potatoes, corn, quinoa, cucumber, onions and leeks. But it was the squash and beans that were photogenic this week.
Last week I made mulberry syrup. Three times as much as I made two years ago (I didn’t make any last year). According to Don’s estimate I made approx. 200 jars of in addition to about 3 gallons in the large bottles you can see in the picture. I must be getting the hang of this.
Next– cherry jam. The cherries are picked and just waiting to be processed, but in the meantime there has been enough time and energy left over to start on flower beds. In previous years all of our money and energy was spent in the garden, so its been nice to get a start on the flower gardens I’ve been wanting for so long.
If I’ve given the impression that we’re on easy street here at Johnny’s Garden, let me reassure you there is horse manure waiting for me to shovel, and animals wanting to be fed; we do still have to weed and tend the garden and we are a LONG way from knowing how successful this years crops will actually be, and whether we will get squash before the squash bugs arrive. There is a well to be fixed and several years worth of projects yet to be done before we can say this place resembles what we dream for it. It’s just nice to feel like we’re swimming in the current rather than working to keep from being swallowed by it.