Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Update on Our Gardens (and 3 Photos of Lydia!)

"And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;"
Genesis 3:2
Mama's best friend, since High School, Mrs. Tara, is starting to get into the gardening-thing, so she asked if I could update about our gardens. So, here are a few pictures with a little bit of explanation which is very short compared to the reading and knowledge that was required to go into all of this! :)
By the way, when I say "we" I mean the entire family helped in some way or another, making this an entire family effort. Of course, Daddy and Mommy did the most but it was a group effort.

Meet one of the asparagus plants! :)
Now, if you've bought asparagus from the store, they are about 1/2 of the size of the ones we've been harvesting off of our asparagus plants. Mamma and I (Kimber) planted around 8-12 asparagus plants two years ago in one of our front gardens (we have 2). We made a small mulch hill and dug a hole, inserted the plant, and covered it up with more mulch and dirt. You're not supposed to get any harvest the first year but for some years afterward you'll get an abundance! :) We've had asparagus at least once a week for our dinner veggie now.

This is another view of the asparagus plants - please don't ask why some are green and the others purple. :)

Ahh...strawberries! :)

Seth has faithfully harvested the little strawberries for us about once a week, and believe it or not, though they may be tiny, they are absolutely delicious! A week or two before we left for Emerald Isle, NC Daddy tilled the garden and then we bought some topsoil and filled in the low spot in one of the front gardens. After spreading it out (Jesus held off the rain for us too!) we hilled it and prepared the plants for planting! We bought the plants mainly from Southern States (our favorite West Nursery has gone out of business) and then we went around and made holes for them and put them in the ground. We covered them up with some straw and then faithfully watered them, unless the Lord did it for us. This entire process took about 1-3 days to complete, since we still had to do school, wait for the straw to be delivered, etc. In order to protect the strawberries when a frost was forecasted we put straw on top of them to keep them from dying, immediately removing the straw as soon as the danger of a frost was gone. We have to go out sometime and place all the strawberries on top of the straw (not on the ground) to keep the ants from a delightful snack! :)

Our raspberry plants!
We bought some of the plants from Lowe's and got some of them were from a friend from church. Mommy and Caleb and Seth were the main planters for the raspberries. Daddy and the boys had put two posts up and some string sometime before we planted, for the raspberries to climb up (they're big climbers) as they grow. We had mulched and "prepared" the spot for the raspberries, going to a friends house and scooping out manure from their horses for compost - yum! :)

These are our blueberry bushes, though not yet bushy! :)
We've done lots of work in the gardens this year - leveling, filling in, seeding (with rye), digging, mulching, etc. so since I gave you the above list I won't have to explain what we did to each garden, just know it took some work! :)
Almost all of the fruit trees/bushes were bought from our local Southern States (a couple minutes down the road).
It may be hard to see the blueberry bushes, but everything is so green around here that I can't help it!

One of our granny smith trees.
We bought apple trees (Fuji and Granny Smith), plum trees, cherry trees, and nectarine trees to go in our orchard. Daddy was the expert planter for all of these (he plants trees for his customers) but there are still a few waiting to be planted.

A view of some of the already planted fruit trees. The one closest to you is a plum tree.
I can't wait to see all the trees when they get huge! :) Part of our orchard plantings is one of our family'svision for healthy food and ministry. Can you imagine the size of these trees in multiple years? By then, some of us might be married and we could bring our children to pick fruit on "Grandpa and Grandma's fruit trees." Isn't that exciting? It is for me! Til then, there's lots of work to get done but we're praying and hoping that all of the trees make it to a humongous size! :)

This has nothing to do with gardening, but I'm working on encouraging my brothers and sisters so...this is a type of tree-house the boys have been working on. Lexi, Eden and 'Siah have been helping to but it's mostly been the boys idea. They've nailed boards into the tree as steps and have officially made it up about half the tree. They've used their carpentry skills very well!

Back to gardening...

One of our side-gardens. Here are planted the lettuces, kale, tomatoes, peppers, beets, onions, and spinach. We put cardboard down in the rows to keep them from getting weedy and then we put down grass from the yards Daddy cuts to keep the weeds at bay in and among the rows. It really works well - we did the same for the potatoes, as I will show you in a minute.

A pepper plant.
Mama's been reading her gardening book and they suggested planting matches (top-side down) in the ground around the pepper-plant because they like sulphur. So, I was commisioned to the job of "match planting" - you can't see the matches in the picture, but I thought you should know!
As you can see from the picture - NO WEEDS! It really is great having the grass to use because it makes gardening a bunch easier!

A tomato plant.
After planting the tomatoes we stuck wire cages in the ground for them to crawl up. I think you can buy the cages at any gardening store, Lowe's, Southern States, etc. They were hand-watered at least 6 times the day we planted them, to help them not be too shocked by their new, earthy enviroment!

These are our potato plants (we have 2-3 more rows in another garden too, plus the 3 in this garden) that stretch across the ENTIRE length of our back yard. If you can't tell, we eat lots of 'taters! :) We wheelbarrowed the grass over to the aisleways, scooped it onto the ground and later came back and spread the grass out underneath, between, and anywhere near the potato plants to prevent weeds. As you can see from the photo, the row behind the grassed-row has not been grassed yet. Before we grassed the potatoes we had to de-weed and hill the dirt up to the plants to keep the potatoes growing up and to encourage an abundance of more potatoes for the harvest near Fall this year.

Another view of the beautiful, lush green potato plants! :)
(You can see the row stretching all the way to the chicken pen in the picture)

Some pea plants.
Mama planted lots of peas but only a couple came up so we had very few to trellis this year (we had an entire garden to trellis last year!). By trellis I mean put two stakes (you can probably buy them anywhere) on the rows where the pea plants are and then you just wind string (nylon, I think) around the stakes until you reach the top, whereupon you tie a couple knots to prevent untying. The peas like to climb also, so that's why you trellis them. We then very loosely tied each pea plant to the string to encourage them to climb up and not down or sideways.

Our marigolds, garlic, and more spinach. The marigolds are on the far left of the picture, the onions/garlic are in the middle and the spinach is on the far right. I think the marigolds help repel insects from the plants in this garden, hence the plantings around the garden! :)

It was an overcast day when I went out to take "garden pictures" but the sun was so beautiful over the trees so I just had to take a picture! :)
So, that's the update on our gardens and soon-to-be orchards! :) I think that we have 3 gardens dedicated to some sort of fruit and around 5 more where the veggies are. We just planted some corn last week. I would give you a picture of the corn rows but everything is...dirt brown...so you can hardly tell where the row is and where the walkway is...so I'll wait until things start growing to give you a picture, Lord willing! :)
And just because I can, here are 3 pictures of Lydia from a few nights ago, where I was putting different clothes on her to see if they'd fit.

Our little strawberry!
(It was around bedtime for her, so that's why she has her binky)

Let's just say she wasn't a big fan of the hat! :)

Loving her bear.
That's all for now - I'm hoping to get more beach updates soon, Lord willing!
Striving to be like HIM,
P.S - I didn't mean for the post to be this long!


  1. Thanks for posting all your awesome garden pictures! Do you do more planting in the fall? I'm so there if you are! I want to come help, if I can bend over to garden by then! (Back Surgery). I'm so excited to see all your hard work flourish so keep the updated garden pictures coming :)

    I have never attempted to plant anything and this year I'm trying some container gardening. Flowers, tomato's and strawberries. So far so good, I haven't "killed" anything yet (key word here....yet!)

    As soon as this back surgery and recovery is over I'm coming out. I want to help harvest! I want some gardening education from the experts! hee hee

    Thanks for sharing! :)

    Love you guys,
    Mrs. Tara

  2. Hi Mrs. Tara,

    We do do more planting in the Fall but I think we do a lot less than we do in the Spring. We plant things like lettuces (spinach) and other cold-weather crops. That would be fun if you could come help plant! :)

    I hope you're back's feeling better after your surgery yesterday...

    Way to not "kill" anything! :) The only thing you want to kill are the weeds and those don't go away! :) [Part of our curse from the Beginning]

    Anyways, hope to talk to you soon!