I've been working on getting my garden in, and it's looking pretty good! We got a great hookup on some plants from the high school here in town. The kids in the ag. class start the seedlings, then sell them as a fundraiser. We got our whole garden stocked (about 7x16 feet) for $10. Oh, and some tomatoes I started from seeds went in there, too. This is a really great opportunity to help out the high school ag class, too!
I don't have pictures, yet. I'll try to include some on Friday, to prove that I'm not just making all this up... I know my blog is sadly short on photos.
We had plenty of compost built up to "feed" the garden, so the only cost was the plants themselves.
As we were planting the garden, I couldn't help but think how indebted we are to our next door neighbor, Mr. Jesse, for helping us get the whole thing up and going last year. He used his truck to haul in the dirt, and helped with a lot of the other set up, too. Mr Jesse passed away two days ago, and we already miss him greatly. Working out in the garden this week has been great therapy for me as I work through his loss. He's also the one who gave us our chickens, so our little backyard homestead really owes him a lot, and is a testament to what a giving spirit he had.
As a new gardener, I am constantly asking friends at church for advice on what to grow, how to grow it, and when to plant it. I just read a really great blog post over at Stacy Makes Cents full of advice for the new gardener. Go on and check it out.
To her list, I'd also add these:
If you're working with a small space, think about yield/area. When we planted our winter garden, we planted waaay to much cauliflower and carrots and much too little spinach and chinese cabbage. The broccoli and cauliflower were slow to produce and didn't produce as much food as the leafy greens. Of course, you want to be sure and plant your family's favorites, too. No sense having a bumper crop of a veggie your kids and hubby won't touch.
Also, I found this neat little chart called the most profitable plants in your garden. If one of your biggest gardening goals is to save money, you'll want to use most of your space growing produce that costs a lot at the grocery store, and just continue buying the cheaper veggies. For example, fresh herbs are cheap to grow, but really pricey and the grocery store. Carrots, on the other hand, are cheap and the grocery store and don't give a high yield for the space they take up.
For me, I have one goal this year, and that is to have enough tomatoes to eat off of and preserve some sauce, salsa, and diced tomatoes to get us through the winter.
For you more seasoned gardeners out there, what are some beginner's tips you wish someone had shared with you when you were first getting started?
Guys, don't forget about our March challenge, drink your water! I've been doing pretty good, I must say, especially considering that I've been traveling a good bit. We've got a week and a half left, and then I'll be announcing our next challenge. Prepare yourself, this one's a doozy!