Even when I was very young, I maintained a garden of some kind. It may have been just a group of potted plants in a sun window. At times I worked out a small garden near the south end of a tall stands of trees surrounding the house. The garden was always but secondary to working on the stand of trees, by thinning them out, feeding them and then watching them develop year after year. At other times I had a big garden, harvesting a large bounty at the end of the season–but some things along the way as well.
Gardening can be relaxing. The harvest can add to your health. Planning, maintaining the young plants, and seeing them grow into something tasty can even make you the feel you’ve contributed to helping real farmers feed the planet, even though you are not really into subsistence farming. You can plant and harvest just a little or you can have a very big garden. If you choose the latter, you have to stay caught up and when the harvest comes in you have to find a way to keep what you cannot immediately use for later use.
A garden requires planning and effort from beginning to end. You have to stay with it. You have to water, weed or thin out or transplant the developing plants so that all that survive will do well. In a garden, if you don’t go at it with some kind of plan, you will spend many more hours at it than you should. Having fun and working at it is important, and in my view, the right approach, but over working and losing half or more of what you plant is no fun at all.
Today I have a great garden in two places–in sequence in two growing seasons. In Florida, where I live most of the time, I plant a garden in pots of various sizes on an enclosed porch (lanai). In Ohio, I plant a garden in about 80 sq feet of raised beds covered completely in a chicken wire frame. Without the frame there would be no harvest–too many rabbits, squirrels, birds and varmints of all sorts to compete with. After the fenced in garden is planted I have a number of other plants in big pots and other plants growing up trellises, or up through cyclone fences. All of these will produce a bounty before the end of the season as well. In Florida, I plan and plant in mid-February and harvest in April through late May, while in Ohio I plant in early June and harvest through early to mid September. In both places I have about 100 days for everything in the garden to come to harvest. But I plant in both places a variety of plants that may require a far shorter time to harvest. Indeed, in both places I’m taking something out of the garden to eat almost every day after about 30-40 days all the way through to the end of the garden.
In subsequent posts I’m going to go through everything I do to plan each of these gardens and maximize yields while at the same time organizing everything so that care and maintenance issues don’t get out of hand. This is just a start–lots more specialty issues to be discussed later as well, not just my small current gardens. But, I need to tell you up front that I’m going to stay largely within my own experiences, which while considerable, may not tell you everything you want to know about gardening, farming, agriculture and life in general. Just relax and enjoy.