Mom, Wife, Chef, Gardener, Dog Wrangler, Mom, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Mom, Creative Problem Solver, DIY Chick...figuring out life one day at a time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mom/Gardener...our first big garden.

So I guess it's official, I only blog once a year. So much for keeping up with the blogging. Oh well. This spring we decided to dive head first into gardening here in Montana. Our elevation (4000ft) and our zone (4) combine to give us a very short growing season, so we started by only ordering seeds meant for colder climates and shorter seasons. We started most of our seeds indoors and quickly learned how to cat proof our seed starting area.

seedlings enjoying the sunlight

We had to start from scratch with the garden area, so as soon as the ground was no longer frozen, about mid April, we started tilling up the garden area and building the fence and greenhouse.

Tim breaking ground.
We were lucky because our neighbors to the North have cattle, and that means lots of manure, they were happy to let us have two big truck loads of it to help enrich our garden soil.
Tim building the greenhouse.
We used old cattle guards that Vernon had lying around to build the fence and Tim attached a dome to a section to form the frame for our greenhouse. In the end we ended up with a 20 x 40 foot garden, with the greenhouse on the north end.
garden rows with greenhouse.

 By the beginning of May we had our garden planted. Our quick summary of plants: red potatoes, yellow potatoes, two types of Swiss chard, Tuscan kale, beets, turnips,  bok choi, fennel, Brussels Sprouts, red and green cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow and green zucchini, artichoke, plum tomatoes and slicing tomatoes, green bell peppers, banana peppers, Jalapeño Peppers, cucumbers, fava beans, green and purple green beans, snow peas, English peas, carrots, pumpkins and butternut squash.
Happily, most everything is doing well. We were aware that with full time jobs and two kids we wouldn't be able to spend hours a day in the garden so we put down gardening cloth to suppress weeds and are using a lot of mulch to help keep the weeds down in the paths as well. Both of those things have saved us so much work. One happy lesson I learned is that when you are thinning your plants, those baby plants don't have to go to waste. Especially if you were lazy and let them start to form small carrots, turnips, and beets before you got them thinned out. I made some really delicious sautés with the thinned root vegetables this spring.

Thinned carrots, tops and all, make a really good pesto.

To wrap this up I think I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.


escaped winter squash


fordhook giant chard
Connor in the garden after a storm blew off our greenhouse plastic

green beans

Harper in the garden and some pea trellis





rows of potatoes

red cabbage

royal burgundy beans

cube of butter yellow squash
tomato jungle and trellises

tomato close up.