Breaking Ground – Part 1

The wood posts are purchased. The hoop house area of the garden is almost all scalped and ready to gently till with my supremely awesome new broadfork. The chickens spent several months fertilizing and a few weeks assisting the tillage. The ducks have eradicated all chance of slugs. A master plan is on the graph paper and fleshing out nicely. If all goes well, i should have a fenced garden ready for planting in a few short weeks.

It has been years since i’ve gardened. Folks who have known me for a while know i once turned a suburban yard of limestone and bermuda grass into a lush and productive garden. Getting my hands dirty keeps me going and sane. Standing amongst vegetables, flowers and pollinating/predatory insects is one of my favorite places to be. I haven’t had my own garden since 2010…. so it may take me a few years to re-hit my stride, especially as i’ll now be gardening in about the exact opposite climate as Austin, TX. I can’t wait – trial and errors in the growing of vegetables is much less heartbreaking than the trials of raising animals, though just as frustrating at times.

End of May in Austin, 2009 – When you live in a city, you bring the farm to you! When you’re me, at least. 😉

In Austin i had a tiny corner of a tiny yard and i stuffed it to the gills thanks to mass amounts of sunshine. It was a constant battle with pests and insects (and grackles and squirrels) but i had the most amazing ecosystem of predatory insects…. such a joy, so magical. But also a very limited amount of space. I dreamed of fields of onions and garlic along with tall rows of tomatoes. Now that i have a 17 acre pasture to plant into – how big will my new garden be?

This big!

75×150 feet to be exact. The chicken netting area is only about 1/2 the size of the finished garden. Plenty of room for cover crops between vegetable plots for grazing rabbits and hens. Plenty of room to lay 1/3 of the garden space to lay fallow between production. Plenty of room to space out the veggies further than i’m used to to maximize the efficacy of ‘dry farming’. Plenty of space to try out large crops now and again and to have extra produce to sell and put by for the winter. If i feel restricted with THIS amount of space….. i’ll just have to go work for my neighbor’s biodynamic vegetable farm – she has water rights and can irrigate all the garden she dares to dream for.

Get ready for lots more posts about vegetable gardening in the years to come… i might even have some useful posts (like this old Austin Homestead post) that can help YOU as a gardener. For now – dream with me! And get some seeds ready, even if you only have room for a pot of herbs. It’s almost planting season! (Or about 2 months in if you still live in TX – hurry up before it’s too hot!)

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