For most people learning from mistakes, although difficult, serves a great benefit. They know what to do or more importantly what not to do next time. However, for some the equation they learn looks something like this: I failed; I clearly did something wrong; I obviously don’t know what I’m doing; I can’t do this so I quit.
This is the first year that I have had a garden and as you can imagine it has been a festival of fail. Here’s what I mean:
In my introduction I pointed out that my situation, despite my rural location, was not unlike that of the suburban gardener. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense to most people so I’m here to clarify.
Even though I’m surrounded by farmland my little niche is only seven tenths of an acre. Of that amount, half is a lot reserved for small livestock. That brings me down to roughly a third of an acre. My house and half circle driveway take up a large portion of what is left. So, like the suburbanite, I consider space a premium.
To really make my circumstances relevant to the ‘Burb gardener I want to give a brief overview of my activities….
So far my production has been limited to container gardening, raised beds, perennial plantings, and small scale Aquaponics. My container gardening consists of three 10.5 in. self-watering containers and a 34 gallon trash can. My raised bed is a single 4’x16’x1’ bed that I scored free materials to build. My perennial plantings are various dwarf fruit trees, grape vines, and berry bushes. My Aquaponics system is a 55 gallon aquarium, two 20 gal totes, cheap landscaping stone, two cheap garden pumps, and trash can for a reservoir. None of these pursuits were expensive and none of them are outside the realm of the suburban gardener.
In the very near future I hope to expound upon each of my endeavors so that the ‘Burb community can get a feel for how things got started, how they’re doing, and where they’re headed. More importantly I hope that you use the information to get started for yourself.
I am going to start off my saying that through this process I really respect what my parents/grandparents did by working outside in the field all summer. This one has been a killer, but I absolutely love sitting outside in the sunshine…..getting dirty…. and feeling as though I have accomplished something. Being outside planting, weeding, pruning… whatever makes me feel a little bit of the simplicity of life that we often miss in our busy hustle/bustle lives. I can respect that ability to wake up early work outside all day and then go to bed when it gets dark just to get up and do it all again. Sometimes I think that life would be easier if we weren’t so accustomed to what we have. I often times wish that we could just pack up and move to some place like Montana where there isn’t anyone for at least 50 miles and be completely self sufficient. But enough with the daydreaming, huh?
So, I realize that it’s been about 6 weeks since I last posted anything about anything. I apologize because in gardening time a lot can happen in 6 weeks, and believe me it has. We have been working in the garden almost every day (especially since I only work three days a week now). Jeremy ultimately turned the garden over to me completely (not only blogging, but also the care of the garden…he’s been busy). I started working at UK Medical Center on June 6th, and have had a lot of computer classes to do since it all started, which ultimately means I don’t want to be on the computer unless I have to….. hence the lack of updates.
Hello community! My name is Ray and I plan to become a regular contributor to this site. Being, “new to the crew” I felt an introduction was called for. To start my introduction I have to confess… I’m not in the ‘Burbs. So, you may ask yourself what I’m doing here. Here’s how I see it: Despite my rural location I have challenges not so different from those of the suburban gardener (which I will explain later). I believe that my vantage point of our common challenges and sharing how I overcome them may be of benefit to the ‘Burb community. My goal, first and foremost, is to share the knowledge I get through trial and error to others so they don’t have to experience the error part.
So, how did I get here?
The short of it is this: I grew up with Mike and Jeremy and they are, and always will be lifelong friends. Mike told me about his and Kristy’s gardening efforts (of which I knew nothing about) and in turn I told him about mine (to which he was equally oblivious). When we realized we were on the same track Mike told me about the site and I checked it out. The first posts I read were, “Who Do They Think They Are?” and, “What’s This All About?” First of all, if you haven’t read those two posts yet get over to the General tab and check those out. Anyways, as soon as I had finished reading those two articles I knew that I was in complete agreement with what they were doing. Furthermore, I knew that anything I could contribute would compliment, not conflict with what was going on here.
What those two articles impressed upon me most was that this is where it starts. That most of us not only take the systems of support that we rely on (in this case food) for granted, but that we usually contribute little or nothing to them ourselves. This is where it started for me: I will no longer be solely a consumer who relies on the producer. That if only minimally at first, that I too will become a producer. That I will increase my production until I am no longer dependent.
My mission and reason for coming onboard with this site is to help other people. While I don’t know much now I want to learn through the experience. I only hope that I articulate my experience well enough that you can use it to add to your own knowledge base. I thank you all for the opportunity to contribute to the community.
Okay, So i guess this a bit of a continuation of last night’s post.
Today Jeremy and I went to Lowe’s to get more strawberries. (I told you I would) We ended up with a total of 10 strawberry plants…. and it’s probably a good thing I stopped there. We bought more of the Miracle Gro Organic Garden Soil, another 3 gallon planter/bucket, and a bunch of seeds. (I think Jeremy is wanting to look into preservation methods.)
Anyways, we wanted to wait until later in the evening again since in was so hot again today. At about 4:30 I realized it had cooled down a bit and the sun wasn’t directly overhead, so I thought going out to finish weeding the raised beds would be a good idea. I was WRONG! Torrential Downpour! That’s what happened. Anyways, I rushed to put everything away and came inside, but I did manage to get DRENCHED!
About 10 minutes later the rain stopped again… Just my luck! So Jeremy and I then went out to take care of all of the stuff. I managed to finish weeding the raised beds since the dark beat me out of finishing last night. I also used an old planter that the people who lived here before us left behind. It now houses 7 of my 10 strawberry plants. In order to allow the strawberries room to grow, I pulled up all the tulips and hyacinths in front of the apartment since they are done blooming (I preserved the bulbs, of course). So now the strawberries sit in my flower bed in front. It gets a lot of sunlight, and strawberries are quite beautiful plants. So they can double as a food source and a decorative plant.
We used our 3 gallon bucket/planter to grow some black beans. We hadn’t planned on this until today when we found the seeds at Lowe’s. These are also out front (they aren’t as pretty yet, but they need sun and since we are running out of room it works.)
Okay so another tally:
10 Strawberry plants (a couple already have blooms)
9 HealthKick Tomatoes
1 Bell Pepper
1 Anaheim Pepper
Black Beans (unsure how many are actually planted)
Rosemary, Oregano, Parsley, Chives, Basil
Carrots (which are still TINY right now)
I guess that is it for now. Get outside and Grow some Veggies!
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and i feel fine!”- REM…. fitting for today!
May 21, 2011! It has been a busy day, but we are finally done! Even with all the talk of the end of the world.
So, I need to throw a quick shout out to my sister, Libby. Congrats on graduating High School!
After driving to Tennessee this morning for graduation festivities, Jeremy and I returned to Lexington to attempt to finish putting out our vegetables. Today was extremely hot and sunny! (High 80s) So we knew that it would be best to wait until the sun was going down to actually put any plants in the ground. We made it to Proper Plants at about 4:30pm.(http://www.properplantsonline.com/) This is the greenhouse where we buy almost all of our plants. They are local and grow all of their plants from seeds and work really hard to do so. They are amazing!
Ok, So I thought that I would throw out a quick update.
Jeremy and I had planned to spend all of the afternoon working outside and planting more of the veggies we had planned on getting in the ground. Unfortunately, we were greeted this morning by more rain….cold, windy, gross rain. So we have once again had to postpone further work in the gardens. We are really anxious to get the rest of our stuff out so that we can focus on getting everything in order. Plus camping season is upon us and we would prefer to be able to go away for the weekend, instead of worrying about getting our veggies in the ground. Hopefully we will be able to accomplish this by the end of next weekend. *Fingers crossed*. Anyways, since I don’t have any new news… I figure a picture is worth a thousand words.
“Long as I remember, the rain been comin’ down…..and i wonder, still i wonder, who’ll stop the rain.” -Creedence Clearwater Revival.
“All I can say is that my life is pretty plain, I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain…”-Shannon Hoon, Blind Melon
While the late great Shannon Hoon may have liked to watch the rain, I think that most of us here in Kentucky along with the majority of the Southeast would agree that “No Rain” would be a good thing(for a while anyways). Unfortunately, I hear that we are in for some more storms in the coming week.
I guess that I should take a moment to introduce myself as I have been a bit of a hermit. I am Sarah and I just finished Nursing School (the cause for being a hermit). Jeremy and I have been married for almost 3 years and have lived in Lexington, KY for nearly two years. Before we moved to Lexington, we lived in Berea, KY and had absolutely no room for anything. Fortunately, Jeremy’s parents were gracious enough to let us plant some vegetables in their gardens which were in Jackson County, KY. Unfortunately, it was very hard to care for them due to the hour long drive one way to get to Jackson Co. This is what ultimately drove us to figuring out how to best grow our own vegetables without them being an hour away. Luckily our apartment/duplex in Lexington has a decent sized backyard and a very lenient landlord, who pretty much told us as long as we knocked the dirt back down so grass would eventually grow again he was okay with our plans to create raised beds. Anyways, Jeremy and I both look forward to the warmer seasons not only for our gardening, but camping, photography, etc. We absolutely love having access to fresh vegetables, but growing up in the boonies makes that part of your life. As a child, we always had at least 1 garden during the summer and most often had 3 different garden sites. Unfortunately that is a bit more difficult when considering the amount of space we have living in Lexington. We have made the most out of what we currently have to work with, all the while still allowing for room so that the dogs can run and play outside.
So, picking up from the next day after the rain passed and the sun came back up. It does that every day, weird huh?
It went together pretty well, I’m sorry I didn’t grab any pictures of this, but it’s pretty easy to figure out what I did to put it all together. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section (if it’s working, will be turning that on later), or shoot me an e-mail. We had to do a few extra steps to get everything to really come together, like adding a couple boards in strategic positions, but still… very easy to do.