The Garden

I love my garden. It is a place where I can go to recharge my batteries. I find it very relaxing to play in the dirt. It’s also nice to have fresh fruit and vegetables.

In my area the ground is full of gravel. There is little difference between my driveway and my lawn. On the plus side, the property has very good drainage. On the negative side, it is lousy for growing vegetables. The only way to have a bountiful garden is to plant in raised beds.

I started out with only four, eight foot by four foot raised beds. The garden has expanded to thirty-four, eight foot by four foot beds and a dozen, two foot by eight foot beds. This gives me twelve hundred and eighty square feet of growing space. I have several beds of grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. There are also a few beds dedicated to herbs, both culinary and medicinal.

Tina's GardenAs much as I love to be out in my garden I do have a time problem. I have books to write, a family to take care of, and a dreaded day job. This means my garden time is limited and I must use it wisely. This year I have made two huge improvements to help me with my time management. The first thing I did was install a drip irrigation system through the entire garden. The system is on a timer and really saves me watering time while making sure my plants get what they need. The second thing it allows me to do is cover each bed with black garden fabric. The fabric keeps the weeds down considerably. To plant, I simply cut a hole in the cloth and put in a seed or plant. Only the places where I have planted something actually have access to the sun. By eliminating the need to weed my beds my garden time has been cut down to planting, trimming and harvesting.

The second improvement I made this year is to have deer fencing put around the entire garden. I am sick and tired of sharing my harvest with Bambi and his friends. Bambi doesn’t help plant. He doesn’t help weed and he doesn’t help water but he’s right there come harvest time. I know many people think deer are cute forest creatures, but when you actually live in the forest you come to think of them as rats with long legs. One year I planted four beds of pole beans, that’s sixteen rows, each eight feet long. Bambi and his friends showed up and stripped the trellises clean. I got a grand total of five beans that year. They have also come through and ripped up my lettuce by the roots, stepped on my pumpkins, and chewed my corn stalks down to nubs. Now the forest creatures can stand at the fence and stare at my bounty like a group of Dickens characters. When it comes to my garden I am a firm believer in the biblical principle of “if I man will not work, neither shall he eat”. If Bambi wants a garden he can plant it himself. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not against woodland creatures; my property is filled with wild raspberries, service berries and other edible delicacies. I look at it this way, I won’t mess with their food and I don’t want them to mess with mine.

Next year I plan to put in a small greenhouse. I bought a kit, but it is too late in the year to put it up now, I’ll do that in the spring.

Do you have a garden? How do you handle weeding and ravenous wild life?

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Augustina Van Hoven

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