Do you love seeing gardens full of vegetables? There is something so rewarding when we plant a garden and we slice that first tomato that was just picked. Cherry tomatoes are like candy to me, but I learned very quickly that I can only plant one cherry tomato plant. They are so sweet and so easy to grow. Here’s the deal, I know it sounds wonderful to have a huge plot of land and harvest enough for your family for a year.
Well, there are a few of us that are now down to one or two in the family. The kids have grown and moved on to start their own story with their family. They will teach their children how important gardens are. But, Mark and I still want a fresh supply of vegetables. We have less than 1/4 acre and yet we can grow enough food to feed 6-8 people for a year.
I remember when we were raising our daughters, our neighbors always teased us because we had the biggest garden in the neighborhood. I really never thought about size, I thought about how much food I could produce. The largest piece of land Mark and I have owned was a 1/2 acre. We had the best garden ever there. But, I also had several hands to help plant, weed, and cultivate all the plants we needed.
We also had six people to harvest, snap green beans, peel pears, peaches, tomatoes, and strawberries, make applesauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce and so much more. Now, It’s down to Mark and me to produce food in our raised gardens.
I live in the desert in Southern Utah and the soil is hard rock clay. A few people here have brought in loamy soil and used a tiller to incorporate some amenities into the ground. We have owned several garden tillers over the years, but we no longer want a tiller.
I decided to build four-foot by four-foot and 18 inches high raised gardens. They are made by a company called Suncast. I have seen better ones but these work great for us now. I no longer want to bend over and kneel on my knees. You have to realize you do have to bring in soil and nutrients to fill those babies, but they are awesome.
The picture at the top will be my next purchase, with the brackets and the wood planks. I have seen them 24-36 inches tall, those would be my dream. The company sells different size brackets depending on how tall you want your garden, just dreaming here. But for now, I have these plastic Suncast ones.
If you plant tomatoes get really good tomato cages. These are the only ones I use and they are like 15 years old. I bought them from a garden nursery in South Jordan, Utah called Glover Nurseries. Yes, I have purchased many of them, I’m so afraid they will quit selling them. I can’t find them anywhere else. They are rock solid. My favorite tomato plants are Early Girl and Better Boy or Big Boy. Life is good when you can grow your own food. I love to plant spinach, radishes, lettuce, and cucumbers. I have my strawberry patch in one box that just keeps on producing. I do cut them way back in the spring.
I do the same thing with all my tomatoes and squash plants I cut them back and they bounce back and produce more for me to harvest.
Well, I tried growing tomatoes in large pots, but that didn’t work. But I can grow lots of potatoes year-round in those pots. The great thing about potatoes is if you buy the right ones, as in Organic, you’ll never have to buy potato seeds again. In other words, you will always have potatoes, I mean forever. And if you buy the right ones they will have zero pesticides on them. If you think about it, potatoes fill the belly. Yay! I love it!
All you do is dig a hole about 5-6 inches deep, cut a piece of the potato with a “sprouted eye” looking up, and cover it with soil. These potato plants below are actually sprouting from potatoes I missed when I harvested a month ago. I love it. My favorite potatoes are Organic Gold Yukon potatoes.
My favorite items to start your gardens:
If you have rich loamy dark soil like I had up in Salt Lake City, Utah, all you need is Miracle Grow Root Starter mixed with water, put some of the liquid in the holes you dig, and then place the plants in the holes, water it in and mound the soil around each plant and watch them grow. Easy peasy.
Miracle Grow Garden Soil, you can get bags of this at your local hardware or big box stores.
Azomite Micronized Bag, 44 lb
FibreDust Coco Coir Block
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite
I received an email from Ann over at A Green Hand (.com) she is teaching the world how to garden. She has an awesome blog, you’ll want to read, I promise. She asked me to contribute to an article “50+ Ideas To Build A Garden” in which experts in gardening were asked to give a little advice to help people to get started gardening. A Green Hand 50+ Ideas To Build A Garden I was honored to be asked to contribute.
Please teach your family to be self-reliant and grow a garden. May God bless this world.