Welcome to the farm!
Once we broke ground on the garden last spring, the tempo of life really picked up.
Before moving to our 7 acres, the biggest garden I ever worked was a 4×8 foot raised bed, and a few 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes. The spot in our old backyard only provided about 3 hours of direct sunlight because we had a creek running along the south edge of our property. It was honestly more of an herb garden. Mostly because herbs were the only plants that survived the scorching summer heat when I’d forget to water for days on end.
That tiny garden taught me a lot. I started vegetables from seed for the very first time in 2012. I was due with my oldest in August of 2012, and I was determined to have a thriving garden and be a stellar first-time mom simultaneously.
I’ve always had the most audacious dreams.
I remember after my son was born that I all but abandoned any work on “the garden” to just keep a tiny human happy, hold on to my sanity, and manage to get a little sleep after my whole world had been changed. It was full of weeds, but it still gave me joy that I’d created that small patch of food out of nothing.
The first place I started seeds inside was on a shelf in my bedroom closet. Then it was the hallway bathtub, which made watering a hundred times easier. I’d set up my small fluorescent light fixtures (now I see how ridiculous my expectations were for those weak little bulbs!) over the seed starting flats and just pray that the seeds would grow and I’d get to be part of the miracle of growing plants from basically nothing!! Back then it wasn’t about providing food for my family. It was proving to myself that I could figure it out.
That first garden was full of seeds that failed to germinate, and skinny, leggy tomato seedlings that snapped in two after the first spring rainstorm. The pepper plants that never grew any fruit. Oh, how miserable a time I had getting it right.
But I did.
I spent hours and hours on YouTube soaking up information. What is the proper light bulb to use for seed starts, and how often do I water and fertilize the seedlings so they grow? Which plants like to have the extra warmth of a heat mat, and when should I transplant them into bigger cups?
A lot has been learned in the past few years, and even more in just the past 12 months. I’d like to show you around and give you an idea of the things we’ve been up to.
This was our new garden space in late April 2018. You can see it, right? All the possibilities? Me too.
And this was our garden nearing its peak in June 2018.
I went a bit overboard on peppers and cucumbers and planted 2-3x as many as I should have – convinced that the rabbits would eat all my seedlings. Our compost pile grew in a hurry as we couldn’t keep up with eating and canning them all.
Again, I learned more by doing than I could have ever learned in any other way.
I can’t wait to show you how I start seeds!
Seed starting is the spark I need every January (yes, I start in January!) to keep me from falling into despair that winter will never end, and we are always going to be this cold, and WHY do I choose to live in a place where the air hurts my face?
Less than 90 days until our last frost date here in Iowa!