One of the first things we did when we moved into our farmhouse was to build a garden featuring raised beds and recycled fencing. We recycled the fencing from another area on the property where we no longer needed it. It’s six feet high to dissuade deer from jumping in. The deer here would be able to jump over the fencing if they chose to, but would have a difficult time getting out. The lower area of the fencing is much tighter mesh, in hopes of keeping other small critters out.
The beds are all raised, and I’ve been experimenting with how tightly I can plant each one. I’ve read that plants can be grown more closely in raised beds, so I’m learning what works and what doesn’t.
I had originally planned on using hazelnut shells from my neighbor for the walkway mulch, but ended up scrapping that plan due to worry that my nieces and nephews who are highly allergic to nuts would be affected be the shells. Instead, I used a surplus of cedar bark fines from the flower beds around the house. It has worked out really nicely, as the bark is really thick and has held the weeds at bay.
There’s a lot of room between each bed, which allows for lots of children in the garden, which I love. And it looks really pretty. Since we have plenty of space, it was a no-brainer for me
I’m growing Thai Basil, Basil, Cilantro, Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley and Dill. Today I’ll be cutting all of them down, chopping them up in my food processor, adding a little olive oil, and freezing each batch into chunks for use through the winter. The frozen herbs are so much more delicious than dried.
The Spaghetti Squash has been growing like gangbusters. I baked one up last night, tossed it with butter and a little salt, and it was delicious. I grew up eating it this way and it always reminds me of gardening as a little girl. My first garden was a mass of succulents in a miniature wheelbarrow. Anyway, when I served the boys their Spaghetti Squash, they looked at me with those eyes that say, “are you really going to make me eat this?” And of course, one of them almost threw it up. Our rule is that the boys always need to try everything that’s served to them. They don’t have to eat it all. We’ve found that by opening their palates to new tastes, they slowly learn to enjoy it.
Each of the beds are watered by a drip system. I can adjust each bed to water more or less, depending on the needs of the plants. I’ve had gardens that I’ve watered by hand, watered by overhead sprinklers, and by drip. I’ve found that plants really don’t like being watered overhead and respond far better with the drip system. The result is a much more bountiful garden harvest.
I can easily detach the lines at the end of the season, when I go to clean out each bed.
No garden is complete without a compost bin. I just kept one of my beds open for that purpose. And I can say that I am not a super serious scientific composter. We simple dump our compost and garden clippings in the bin, turn it once in a while, occasionally add a bit of water, and eventually, it produces beautiful soil. We’re in no hurry.
Do you see the wire mesh in the box on the bottom left-hand corner? We lined each and every bed with that mesh, in hopes of keeping out any ground squirrels or moles. The ground squirrels were so invasive in my last garden that I was unable to grown any lettuce, cabbage, or broccoli, which they love. So far, we’ve had no issues.
Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.