The third year, 2011 Laura and I had a successful growing season and having now planted the garden several years in a row, changing the position of the beds of beans as well as the flowers, we plan on our fourth year, of 2012, to reflect what we have learned.
Having saved seeds from the last year’s garden, this year – 2012, we will plant our own saved seeds as well as do a few test rows with seeds more than five years old and others bought this spring.
As each gardener learns, the quality of the produce we grow depends on the soil. After the soil the sun and the rain. In between we fret, we carry water, we turn on hoses, we pray for rain. Or the inverse, we pray for the rain to stop. We get out early to weed after it rains, and nurse each row of growth with thankful prayers. The dogs who join us in the garden have to be kept out of the beds, which especially when freshly planted, they love to lay down in, or when looming with tomatoes, they go picking.
We also learn that squirrels like our peaches as much as we do, and deer like our corn even more. Between harvesting the blueberries before all the birds eat them, to keeping the slugs out of the lettuce patch, we and the insect kingdom work side by side. Sick plants are eaten and healthy plants invigorated and marigolds make a huge difference in keeping white fly away.
We over plant lettuce and feed the extra to the hens and enjoy radishes all summer and tomatoes so bountiful we give them away almost through October. Spinach loves our semi shade garden, as does kale which we let go to seed and shared with the Hens after cooking the last of the fresh kale and barley soup. As we approach our fourth year of the organic garden on Dog Wood Farm, we feel confident that we are beyond the beginning and most humbled by the extraordinary reality of watching seeds in good soil become healthful food, and greeting the bees returning to the garden in the spring.