We love gardening but I wouldn't say that we are pros. I'm fascinated by the term "expert gardener" since I think it is an oxymoron similar to the classics: government organization, adult male, affordable housing, cable service, and decaffeinated coffee. The simple fact that we, as gardeners, are always learning makes even the best gardener an amateur in the face of dramatic weather changes, invasive insect pests, and blights. When gardening: expect the unexpected.
I love oxymorons.
Each year, we must pull a Tiger Woods and rethink our strategy. We spend the off-season studying up, aching over plant placement, sunlight, drainage, soil composition, and potential hazards. We draw from the lessons learned in years past as well. Let me waltz you through our basic garden start-up pictorally (and with steady commentary from yours truly, after all it is my GRIT.com soapbox):
We plan out where and when we are planting each vegetable (I painted it with watercolors because I have entirely too much time on my hands) and then set up a table in the driveway to fill the minigreenhouses with seed starting soil and seeds.
We start our seeds in minigreenhouses. These often grace the shelves of large hardware and gardening stores. We love them. I use them year after year in my kitchen window.
Shouldn't every window look like this? Why doesn't Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens show this stuff?
When we can no longer keep the lids on the minigreeenhouses without bending the seedlings, we transfer them out to the garden and cover them with wide mouth canning jars. These work as makeshift gardening cloches (which can be read about in the GRIT article, "Get Your Garden Growing Early"). It only makes sense to use canning jars because the produce will ultimately end up in those jars anyway. Why not?
As the garden grows, I'll be showing you some of our tricks to getting more plants in less space. In the meantime, I'm offering one lucky commenter a copy of Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. How about that?
Want more Lacy? Check out Razor Family Farms!