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The (Container) Garden Runneth Over

I was a little skeptic this spring when sowing my seeds in various pots, raised beds, and planters. I am so used to digging my fingers deep into the dirt and couldn't wait until next years full garden was being planted.

The skepticism has turned into delight as careful watering, occasional fertilization, and many barriers to prevent chickens and geese from nibbling, have paid off with a good crop this year.

Our greatest loss was the peas, which did produce a few handfuls for me to eat on but generally were chewed down every time they started to grow by hungry geese. Geese will happily try anything green, and our full garden will have a nice fence to keep them at bay.

Tomato plants were planted in pots, the largest we could find, and we've been watching green tomatoes grow for weeks now. Recently they started changing to red, and each vine is laiden down with an abundance of fruit. My favorite is the cherry tomato plant, whose incredibly sweet and bite sized tomatoes are perfect for a morning snack.

Eggplants in similar containers are not yet big enough to eat, but several are growing fast. Swiss Chard and Kale in a raised bed continue to produce some tasty greens for breakfast and salads, and our herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, and oregano) are happily growing. We had a bumper crop of radishes from our window box, but my appetite for radishes means we don't have any remaining.

My favorite success story of our little garden plot is our zuchinni. When clearing out the barn we discovered a vintage mechanical seed spreader left behind. Mechanical seed spreaders have a large bucket-like top which you fill with seeds, and then you would attach the mechanism to a tractor and drive it around an acre or two dropping those seeds. We had no immediate use for the thing, but it seemed a shame to throw it away and we didn't want to get rid of it because we might have a future need for it.

So, we filled the deep bucket up with potting soil and planted some zuchinni in it. My idea was that the vines would grow up and over and then down the sides. While that hasn't quite worked out (the vines are all just growing straight up), the plants are vibrant and were soon covered with blossoms. We've harvested our fair share of zuchinni from them, all perfectly sized and shaped. And there is more on the way where that came from!

Now it is time to start thinking about next year's garden. We know the general area we want our garden bed, based on where the original farmers kept their kitchen garden for decades. In the next weeks I will be walking it out to get an idea of the size and shape we need, as well as thinking about amendments such as a small herb bed. And then when the long winter months come, I'll be kept busy planning what plants go where and getting my seed orders completed.


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