Sharing My Garden Enthusiasm

      4 Comments on Sharing My Garden Enthusiasm
Summer is nearly upon us, and I am in full garden-mode right now.  My mind obsesses over the garden and its many facets.  I’d spend every waking minute in the garden–if only my body didn’t protest so!
I have ten garden beds–six raised beds in the main garden nearest the house, and four beds on the lower section of our large backyard (and also four tire-beds alongside the house).  Last year, after we moved into town and into the house where we now live, I reluctantly had my husband till the gardens.  As a firm believer in the no-till method, which preserves the soil’s microorganisms and the symbiotic relationship between them and the plants, it was hard for me to concede the use of the tiller.  However, a girl has to accept her limitations, and if I were to dig the gardens I would have spent all summer at it last year.
However this year the gardens were ready to go; I covered them early in the season with black plastic, tarps, whatever I had that would prevent the weeds from taking over my beds before I was ready to plant in them.  This strategy worked to my advantage; I’ve tackled one bed at a time–uncovering the soil to find warm, moist dirt, which, in some cases, needed very little digging to be readied for planting.  All of my early-season crops are already in (I had a mishap with my pea-seeds, so no peas this spring–maybe I’ll try them again this fall), lettuces, greens, beets, chard, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, etc.  I put in carrots, rutabega, more beets (we love beet-greens!), herbs, and just last weekend–the cucumbers and pole beans.  This weekend I managed to put in my  tomatoes and peppers, with their marigold friends and basil allies, along with a number of annual friends dispersed throughout the garden.
I try to keep my garden kid-friendly, to promote gardening to the youths in my life.  I teach all the children to respect the soil–“Stay on the paths!”  And I explain why.  I sometimes dole out simple garden chores; my nephew is an eager helper, curious and inquisitive–no one is shunned from my garden.  I maintain a tee-pee made with saplings and hemp-twine, which we grow pole beans and morning glories and moon-flowers up to create a fun play-space (with it’s own built-in snack!).  I let the kids poke seeds into the dirt, fetch a bucket-full of fertilizer, or try their hand with the spading fork.  “It’s hard!” they sometimes say when using the spading fork or shovel, and I chuckle and tell them, “Gardening is hard work, my friend.”  But it’s worth it.
And, of coarse, we have the recent arrival of our bee colony.  Pollinators are an integral part of the garden, so it was a natural progression to include a colony in my yard.  Already the bees are hard at work, scouting out new food sources, and returning with their bounty to the hive.  They really are fascinating to watch.
Some of my organic methods include the no-till practice, lots of mulching (I use whatever I can afford, even if it’s only cardboard, which you can find free just about anywhere you look–I say: “Free’s for me!”), composting (obsessively) and soil-building practices, home-made organic weed-killer, home-made organic insect repellent, companion planting, plant-family grouping, square-foot gardening, and raised beds.
So–that’s how my garden grows…how does yours?

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About Samantha Burns

Maine blogger, beekeeper and farmer. Follow along with my many misadventures in the pursuit of a more sustainable life. Find out how I am advocating for local food in my community and working to promote pollinator conservation here in the state of Maine. Every day is an adventure!

4 thoughts on “Sharing My Garden Enthusiasm

  1. christinemm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have 11 4×4 raised beds and 2 2×3 raised beds which hopefully will be converted also into cold frames. I also don't till and am organic.

    This year I'm back to full-tilt gardening as I used to do at my former home. This property is overridden with deer and we're in the woods so every other critter is also a threat.

    My mother great up in northern Maine and until my grandmother passed away 18 months ago I was up there 3-6 times a year with my kids due to the freedom of homeschooling and the open schedule. I would go more north than you are up near the northern gate of BSP. I've not gone since her passing but the family homestead is still there for us to use and my aunt and uncle live in the town. I have relatives in Lincoln, Chesuncook Village, Bangor, and Brownsville.

    Even though I'm in high-paced Fairfield County, and my husband works in NYC, but northern Maine is a part of me!

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  2. Riceball Mommy

    My garden grows in my grandmother's yard… hehe. I don't have the space for a garden of my own so I help my grandmother with hers. Though she's been having some trouble with her fingers so my daughter and I did most of the work. We planted tomatoes, peppers, flowers, and a pumpkin plant. My daughter picked out the pumpkin plant. Eventually I'd like to have a garden of my own though.

    Reply
  3. Lori

    you have a beautiful garden – what do you plant in your tire beds?

    i have raised beds and put in a long regular bed this year with my first batch of home-made compost. next year, two more no-till beds will double the size of our garden. we're also putting in an orchard with some apple, pear, and peach trees. :^)

    the only thing i can think of to add to your list is plant rotation, which i'm sure you do!

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