Gardening Again

I’m thrilled to report that this year we will be gardening again, after just not being able to get going in time last year.

We live on fill on the side of a rocky hill, so gardening “on the ground” was just not a possibility, so it had to be raised beds. We’ve also noticed that neither of us is getting any younger, so we made the beds 2 feet high. We made them out of 2×12 corrugated roofing panels, reinforced with 2×4 and with a 5/4×6 pt seat on top, which also adds much needed stiffness to the sides. I’m about half finished painting them purple. (Surprise, eh?)
We built four of them, one of which we are using one for a chick brooder. The three that we’re gardening took 15 tons of soil and 2 cubic yards of compost to fill. Our neighbor Nick Plummer came over with a Bobcat and filled them for us. Hooray!

This is still a tiny garden of course. We’re planning on at least doubling it next year. I’m hoping to go with wood for the next batch. Even with our own sawmill, the 6x6s we used in New England just aren’t feasible here. However, we have some oak and cedar that we’d like to clear for pasture, and if I start scanning Craigslist in October, I should find some cheap inexpensive cedar in time for next Spring’s beds. Either way, it will be planks or boards, not timbers.

We drove up to Baker Creek Heirloom seeds a couple of weeks ago and of course bought more than we can use. In New England we could grow cool weather crops all summer. Not so much here. It’s too late for spring broccoli and cabbage from seed, so we’re going to buy a few plants and hope for a main crop in the fall. I filled one bed yesterday yesterday — tomatoes, peppers, peas beans, cukes and scallions, leaving a few square feet nearest the house for herbs. I filled another bed with alliums and carrots and parsnips two weeks ago after the Baker Creek trip. I’ll be putting in okra in some of the remaining bed today, and starting basil in a window box by the door. Lisa wants a few more tomatoes in that last bed too. I lean more toward succession plantings of the stuff that’s already in. Homegrown heirloom tomatoes are wonderful. We can buy local tomatoes for a decent price by the bushel for sauce and freezing, whereas our pickles, both cucumber and okra are not replaceable from the grocery store.

We’ll be going to a farmer’s market in Springfield starting next week, possibly shifting to the one in Branson when it opens in May. I’d be thrilled discover that we can buy veggies to put by for a decent price. There seem to be very few farmstands hereabouts.

Someone posted a lovely picture of downtown Peterborough, NH in a slush storm yesterday. I started to get homesick, then realized it was taken the same weekend I was planting tomatoes. OK, I’m fine with Missouri.

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