April is already over and I’ve been spending a ton of time out in the garden! Along with my hubby for the heavy-lifting, I’ve been so busy getting everything set up and ready for planting, as I’m sure you can imagine if you’ve seen my garden plan for this year. I’ve deemed it: The Year of My Overly-Ambitious Garden, if that helps paint a picture.
Just to recap, here’s what I worked up for the main garden layout plan:
And here is what we’ve got going so far. The pink highlighted areas are everything I have planted as of right now. Hoping to finish up the last of it this week.
Getting all the trellises up was the first project. We used cattle panels and t-posts, and they ended up super sturdy. Chad and I were able to make all the trellises with 9 (16-foot long) cattle panels.
I had to make a few tweaks to my plan as we went, mostly based on how we needed to cut the cattle panels. Being 16 feet long, I intended to cut them exactly in half to have two 8-foot sections, but that didn’t quite work out. It ended up being in the middle of the squares, and to secure them to the t-posts we needed them to end at a vertical rod. So what we ended up doing is cutting half to 8 feet, and then cutting off the horizontal bars of the remaining piece, which left about 7 feet of length on the other side. That worked out totally fine, and I just had to slightly adjust the placement of those trellises in the beds to account for the 1 foot difference. I should still be able to fit the same number of plants on these trellises as before, so no harm done.
I planted (and transplanted) the cold hardy things right away, which you can see above in the raised beds. I’m doing succession planting with a lot of these, so I only planted a few of each of the seeds and will add more over time.
I’ve already been getting a nice little harvest of radishes and I’ve already made several gallons of delicious Meadow Tea from my apple mint. My onions are all popping up. We’ve even been getting a few strawberries here and there. The lettuce is all growing, but taking its time. I’m only growing head lettuce this year, so I’m planning on letting them get pretty large and full before harvesting. My carrots have cute little lacy tops starting and my Bull’s Blood Beets have really lovely red leaves.
After fear of frost was over, I started putting in all the other veggies and have been adding some every week as quickly as I can get the beds ready. The hardest part for sure has been getting the soil prepped.
We have great soil here, but SO MANY ROCKS! I have piles and piles and piles of rocks that I dug out from just the small sections of the garden that I’ve worked on so far. I’ve spent literally a week (at least!) of full 8-hour days, digging and raking.
It was a lot of work, but I’m at this weird stage of my life where I like hard work. Little 12-22 year old me would never have believed that future me would choose to spend my time in such a sweaty, back-breaking way. That’s the best part of life, though, right? You change. You grow.
I’m assuming this year is going to be the hardest/busiest for a while as far as gardenwork goes. It’s taking a lot of time and effort to get the “infrastructure” in, but once we set everything up, it’ll be good to go (other than maintenance) for the next several years. Hopefully all I’ll have to do each spring is till up the weeds, amend the soil as needed, and plant/sow seeds. I plan on keeping the trellises as they are for the foreseeable future, unless I run into a problem with them. As far as rocks go, there are always going to be more turning up, but each one I take out now is one less to deal with later.
The next part of our set up is getting all the irrigation set up. We already have water out there and had irrigated the raised beds last year, but we have been working on changing things a bit in those and running a bunch of new lines to all the new beds. (You can see the jumble of black hoses in the picture below). I can’t wait to get everything hooked up because it makes watering so much simpler and keeps me from taking up a lot of time during the growing season on individually watering things.
After everything else is done, we plan to run a fence around the whole perimeter of the garden, using wire fencing and t-posts. I haven’t worried about that too much yet because I know that I still have a little bit of time before things start really growing and we have more pressing things to take care of. The fence will be something simple, that we hope will keep out nosy critters, but that will probably be fairly temporary. We want something that will be easy to put up and then take sections down again to get Chad’s tractor in for tilling the ground each year. Hopefully until that gets completed, all the critters will leave my garden alone!
It might be wishful thinking, but I’m hoping that in a couple weeks, I’ll have a little bit more free time and will be able to update here about the garden in a little more detail. For now I’ve been spending every second I can getting things planted so they’ll be able to have a nice long growing season. For sure, there will be more updates to come!
It all definitely looks like a bit of a hot mess right now, but just hang in there with me! It’s going to be epic and wonderful!
Happy spring gardening!