Child in garden

“Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment, can be confused with paradise.” Henry Mitchell

When we moved into our home a little over 3 years ago, it was the beginning of April and we figured we’d try our hand at a small garden with a few items; tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and we failed at onions and garlic because they were eaten by rabbits since we didn’t have a fence in place yet.  Our tomatoes took off and we ended up with a decent handful of corn and cucumbers that year as well.  Since we’ve had more time the past couple of years to plan and we have varied our approach by tilling the land more thoroughly, incorporating different composts and manures, organic fertilizers and pest control measures, and the placement of the garden in the yard. 

Back to Eden- A Home Garden

This year and last, we followed the Back to Eden method of less is essentially more.  The Back to Eden method suggests putting newspaper or cardboard down over your chosen area of land to help control weeds, then top with 4 inches of compost or nice dirt, followed by 4 inches of wood chips/mulch.  This process helps the land stay moist and provides a nutrient-rich environment for your seedlings.  With this method along with having two garden plots, one on either side of our yard, we did see more success with weed control and we got a pretty good yield of tomatoes, cucumbers, Mexican gray zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, acorn squash, red okra, and beets.  We’ve had the most trouble with squash bugs getting to our delicious squash though. 

This year we have quite an assortment of garden locations on our property.  We have a small garden on the side of the house that did best last year as well as 4 raised beds filled with beautiful, dark, rich, organic soil. We also have a much larger plot outside of our fenced in area that we co-garden with our next door neighbors and some smaller plots around our yard and house for strawberry plants, blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins. This year we are growing quite a bit: corn, tomatoes, okra, jalapenos, bell peppers, banana peppers, red potatoes, gold potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, cabbage, gourds, pumpkins, yellow squash, zucchini, romaine lettuce, and cucumbers.  We also have some ornamental Indian corn growing that we will use for decoration in the fall along with the dried corn stalks.

carrots

We haven’t had any success with pumpkins any of the years we have tried to grow them.  This year we have some big, beautiful leaves with flowers but we haven’t seen any fruit yet.  This is most disappointing but we aren’t giving up on growing these pumpkins.  We will keep trying until we get it right!  Any advice is more than welcome!

With gardening we certainly have a long way to go and a LOT to learn and we are continually soaking up information from every resource we can get our dirt-covered hands on.  We really loved this post about paleo gardening in particular from Eat Live Grow.  It is important to us to be able to grow our own food as much as possible and we love sharing the garden with our son, who loves to mimic everything we do and is a huge helper when it comes to harvesting and taking bites out of everything!  We love knowing we are using heirloom seeds from Southern Exposure and all of Southern Exposure’s seeds are non-GMO. 

We are passionate about our garden and would love to hear your successes and what you’ve learned from your own experience.