It’s so hard to believe that nearly two months have passed since our big trip, and yet we’ve been so busy that at times it’s hard to believe we were even gone at all!
We came home from New Zealand inspired and eager to improve our garden set up, and it was our biggest goal that took the longest: expand!
I have to admit that this was mostly (completely) Fabien’s idea and I may have had some choice words for him in the process, but we managed to convert an 8m x 11m section of pasture into usable garden space (by hand!) We also built two raised garden beds for our salad greens, bringing our total plantable space to about 16m x 16m for this year.
To be honest, this garden expansion has really been a work in progress since we first moved home two years ago. We arrived at the beginning of July with a Uhaul in tow, quickly unloaded our belongings, and the next day began frantically ripping up grass and planting whatever we could. Needless to say, our garden wasn’t a smashing success that year (except for the green beans, the rest of our seedlings spent a stressed summer in 30° + temperatures).
Last year, we had the time to expand a bit more, and we ripped up more grass and old lavender to make a total space of about 8m x 15m in size. While we still struggled to keep our tender plants happy in the scorching summer heat, our harvest was much larger than the year before – we are still enjoying our green beans, leeks, tomatoes and zucchini!
But this year was something different.
This year Fabien was adamant that he would finally be able to gaze upon a tilled garden that was reminiscent of a tilled prairie field. He wouldn’t have to crowd the plantings, or pick and choose what was allowed to grow.
And that meant moving a fence and tearing up turf. By hand. In the time between both of our full time jobs.
It was a lot of work, but we managed to do it all and plant our entire garden before the May long weekend.
This year’s plantings: Yukon Gold potatoes, red and yellow onions, a variety of squash and cucumbers, asparagus, cucamelons, radishes, leeks, and several varieties of peas, beans, tomatoes, carrots and lettuces.
We’re also feeling pretty confident that while we may not have completely solved the scorching heat problem, we’ve hopefully mitigated it by adding shade cloth over our raised beds where the lettuces and radishes are planted. The idea is that instead of becoming stressed and bitter (don’t we all, when the temperatures rise too high?), they will grow slowly and stay tender.
So the Great Garden Expansion is complete (or so says Fabien). We’re happy with the layout, we’re hopeful for a great season, and the renovated pasture?
Apparently we’re getting pigs.
Fabien’s idea again.
Looks like he might make a total farm girl out of me after all.