Grit Blogs > Of Mice and Mountain Men

Garden Expansion (Delusions of Grandeur?)

Allan-HeadshotAfter my success at gardening last year, Marie suggested that I plan on taking some produce to a Farmers Market to sell this year. A handful of peppers and a couple bags of lettuce per week would not be worth the trouble, so I decided to expand the garden and produce things that would be profitable sellers at a farmer’s market. 

This is The View From the Top (our house) of the expanded garden. Because of the slope I have to do almost all of the gardening in these boxes. I just finished building all these boxes and most of them still need to be dug-in to level them up.    

 Garden Box

The three boxes at the bottom, next to the barn, are last year’s garden (along with 3 more behind the barn). The empty space in the elbow of that garden was a potato patch last year and will be filled with a wide variety of sweet pepper plants this year: 60 some odd plants, producing sweet red, yellow, orange and purple bell peppers as well as sweet banana peppers and lipstick peppers. 

The large box next to the bird feeder post and behind the crepe myrtle tree is our blueberry patch. It is dug-in, filled with soil, planted with 8, three year old blueberry bushes, and mulched with pine straw. That one is ready to go.

The small box next to it is for strawberries. The three sticks just uphill from these mark the locations of posts that will support a grape trellis. I grouped these so I could build a PVC framework over all of them and cover it with bird netting to help insure that we actually get to enjoy some of these crops.

Last years boxes are planted with lettuce, chard, onions, carrots, spinach and herbs and have been producing for me all winter long – under the shelter of PVC & plastic hoop houses. I’ve removed those now so the plants don’t bake in the warmer weather: it stays in the mid 60’s to mid 70’s most of the time with a couple of 80 degree days already. I hope this early warmth doesn’t signal a scorcher of a summer. 

The other boxes will bet planted, using the square foot gardening method, with asparagus, corn, a variety of beans, squash, eggplant, turnips, beets, onions, potatoes (I’ll have to add depth to those boxes), melons, and tomatoes. It is a long and varied list and I probably missed something, but you get the idea.

Some of these plants have already been started from seed indoors and have not only sprouted but gained enough growth to need potting to wait until their boxes are done. So much to do – so little time to do it. So, I’d better quit typing and get digging!

janann giles
3/22/2012 6:23:37 PM

You are so far ahead of me. I just started clearning out last year's garden and I too worry about the early warm weather. Will everything I plant get scorched? I'm an optimistic so am moving ahead with hopes of a bountiful garden.


cheryl aker
3/22/2012 2:46:08 PM

Nice raised beds. We used raised beds in Colorado very successfully - especially since we had such a small yard and absolutely no soil to speak of. This will be our first time planting a garden directly in the ground. We are fortunate to have beautiful soil at our new little homestead. In my new GRIT blog post (A Wanna Be Pioneer) I have a picture of our newly fenced in garden space (just about half of what we actually have tilled) and the new water lines we have in with water right to the garden (YAY). And like you, we are really, really hoping the unseasonably warm temps are not a sign of another scorching summer. We broke all kinds of records (not in a good way) last year!


mary carton
3/22/2012 1:34:11 AM

I got corn planted today, my heirloom tomatoes are up, I'm ready. You can get a lot in those raised beds.


nebraska dave
3/20/2012 3:55:17 AM

Allan, looks like you are off to a good start. March through May are always such busy months in the garden. Then there's a little breather before the harvest starts coming. Good luck with your Farmer's Market venture. If I have any extra produce from my garden expansion, I will give it to the homeless food kitchen. They are always looking for fresh vegetables and fruit. It's supposed to rain here all week so I probably won't get much gardening done. I tried to plant seeds today and got half the carrots planted and four Swiss Chard planted before the rains came. It rained just enough to keep me from returning to planting seeds but really not a significant amount. I'm really wanting a good rain to test out my modifications on the rain water catch system. Two tenths of an inch isn't even a good start. I really need about five inches to fill it up. I've been digging in Terra Nova Gardens as well. It's all ready to be planted. I'm starting the fence building as soon as I can but all this week is Spring Break and my grandson will be out of school. Since I'm the daycare, my fence building will be limited. He kind of gets bored after a hour or so. I'm having to teach the city kid how to be a country boy. I keep telling him to go explore the woods; go climb the hill; go climb on the wood pile; throw rocks as the trees; go be a boy; do boy stuff. The first time he looked at me with a quizzical look as if to say what no swings, no slide, no sand to play in? It's sad to think that I would have to teach a grandson how to be a country boy. Hopefully by the time his stay with grandpop is over he will know a little bit about country life. Have a great day building raised beds. It's the only way to go. In my humble opinion that is.


nebraska dave
3/19/2012 8:29:09 PM

Allan, congrats on your GRIT blog post "Square Foot Gardening Project: Step 2, Making Dirt" being highlighted in the latest GRIT Food Garden Planner Newsletter and Planting Guide". Have a great day in the spring garden.