With the official start of winter less than 2 months away, it might seem like an odd time to think about gardening. Now is the perfect time for me and my family to consider the food situation though as we have no garden, and we don’t know how to keep the fruit trees and berries we inherited happy either. With three and a half acres here, we know we have potential. It’s simply a matter of maximizing that potential to get some excellent, naturally-grown produce that’ll help reduce food costs.
I do have a small raised bed in my back yard. The materials were given to me as a gift last year, but I didn’t manage to harvest anything other than a hand full of green beans and a LOT of weeds. I followed the guidelines for “Mel’s Mix”, however given the fact that we’re STILL trying to reclaim our property from the wild jungle it once was, there are ridiculous amounts of weed seed blowing about.
I plan to revive that garden spot next year though. I plan to use it as a small herb garden. I realize that I’ll have to use care when choosing my herbs because some will over-run the entire 4′ x 4′ garden space, but there’s NOTHING like fresh herbs for cooking, tea, and medicinal uses.
Next, I’m going to have a neighbor prepare a small garden spot near the raised bed. Although I’d love nothing more than to satisfy every bit of our produce needs from the garden, I know that’s unreasonable, especially because my gardening experience is practically non-existent! I’ll plant greens, Brussels sprouts, summer and winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans.
I also plan to elicit the help of several dear friends who can teach me and my children how to care for the garden. Since I’m blind, I can’t just look at a picture when I’d like to know how to tell the difference between a green bean plant and a weed. Getting some of that hands-on knowledge and experience from friends will help a LOT.
I’d also like to grow sweet potatoes for my children. I’m considering growing them in a barrel though. Despite the fact that I have a lot of land here, I want to keep things compact and well-organized. That way, I won’t get overwhelmed and I’ll be able to remember where everything is.
Lastly, I’ve been saying since last year that we’re going to have perinneals. We want rhubarb, asparagus, and more berries, but we have to actually buy them and put them in the ground! I want to get as many perinneals going as possible because those are systems that essentially run themselves without much intervention on our part.
Eventually, we’d like to add more food-bearing trees to our property, but since we’re also wanting to get laying hens started next spring, food trees will likely take a back seat to the other projects that’ll surely keep us very busy.
If you’re like us and you’ve done very little gardening, now is a good time to start thinking about what you’ll do come spring time. It doesn’t cost much to throw some seeds (or seedlings) into the ground and see what happens!