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The Challenges of Gardening

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

This is a video of our ornamental artichoke plant. These plants attract bumble bees and honey bees and fun to watch the bees work the flowers. Sometimes they fall asleep in the flowers and will stay all night and then wake up and fly away in the morning. I had some trouble propagating the seed for a few years but now have gallon pots for sale of this amazing plant.

We have been working through challenges this year with our garden but nothing like last year. It all seems so simple, work the ground, plant a seed and a wonderful plant emerges. Well it is not that simple but still rewarding. Growing plants naturally can be difficult. First the soil must be right. Last year we turned an acre of hay field into the garden. The soil was acid and not balanced so we struggled with small stunted plants, some that bolted trying to get their seed out in marginal conditions. We had a section of the garden we called, "Stump Town" where the plants grew a few inches and stopped. We put two tons of natural lime on the soil and several loads of aged cow manure in the fall so things are better with our soil.

Now, the bugs and weeds are a continuous challenge. The old hay field did not go down easily and left grass and now stickers. I have decided that weeds have intelligence after hours of pulling. But I'm not complaining. I love to feel the earth and listen to nature around me as I battle the weeds. Sometimes, I feel badly pulling them as they are only trying to live and I wish I could somehow work with them. I have read about this type of gardening but the weeds wrap their roots around my peas and beans and choke them. So, pulling it is. I will be putting garden fabric around the garden and in between the beds of squash to try and smother them and get some kind of control. I have been reading books, blogs and watching videos to learn the ways natural gardeners manage bugs and weeds.

Our garden is better this year and I am working to have a continuous supply of lettuce and salad greens. Now to find a continuous group of people to buy our products. Challenging Our broccoli is almost done for the Spring crop and we are looking to plant a large Fall crop of broccoli. The cauliflower was a bust for the third time so I will plant a few plants until I learn how to grow better heads. Could be cauliflower is not a crop for us. I wonder how many chemicals it takes to produce the beautiful heads in the store. Scary!

We will be picking zucchini soon and the spaghetti squash, acorn squash and butternut plants look great. We have three different varieties of cucumbers planted. Our tomatoes are doing well at this time. We planted slicing, cherry, yellow pear varieties and a lot of roma's to sell for saucing and canning.

The weather has been challenging with cooler soil temperatures and rain, rain, rain. Last year we lost pounds of tomatoes from splitting after a rain storm. We are waiting to plant corn when the soil is warmer. I can only hope Mother Nature is getting rain out of her system and we have a warmer Summer. But, I must watch what I hope for as a drought would be bad. A delicate balance is needed to garden naturally without chemicals and large artificial environments. Onward we go to work in harmony with nature and the magical energy of gardening.

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