Updated: Oct 26, 2020
So, I have a black thumb, y'all. If it's not a desert plant that can survive droughts, floods, scorching heat, and snow, then I. Will. Kill. It. 🤦♀️ BUT, I have a dream of someday growing a garden full of fruits and vegetables that my family will eat. So, it doesn't have to be a big garden. When it comes to eating my veggies, I'm basically a 6 year old. Like this guy.
My father in law gives us tomato starts, ready for transplanting, every year. Isn't he sweet?! Every year, I kill those damn tomatoes. Last year, our goats killed the tomatoes. And they annihilated my beautiful bamboo bean teepee. Not that it was actually growing any beans, due to said black thumb. But the teepee was beautiful!
This year, though? This year will be different! Ok, I say that every year. But here's the thing. I learn something new every year. Like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb, I am finding a thousand different ways to NOT garden. So far, our patio, backyard raised beds, and anything in the suburbs, is out for us. Good thing we live in the country now! 😂
We had the best luck 2 summers ago, when we haphazardly put our tomato plants in the ground, stuck in some tomato cages, and didn't have goats that could get to the tomatoes. Those tomatoes did great!! First time ever! So last year, we put in a conventional garden. Fenced, gated, mowed, tilled, weeded, amended, planted, mulched, fertilized (organic), etc--a lot of work went into getting it started! We had a long row of a variety of tomatoes, a bean teppee, a couple raised beds that were to be planted in the fall, and a cattle panel trellis for watermelon and pumpkin. Darn goats broke into the garden before we got much planted, and we couldn't keep them out after that! So we abandoned post.
Last year, we started a compost pile. We abandoned it after the goats destroyed our garden. It was too far away from the house, anyway. Getting table scraps out there was a little terrifying when my husband was out of town--especially if the older 2 were also gone! The amount of time it took to get out there and get back to the house was an anxiety-inducing amount of time. Tiny tots and preschoolers can get into a LOT of trouble when unsupervised for 5 or 10 minutes! So, clearly we needed a compost pile MUCH closer to the house. And for the little people to mature a tiny bit. Check, and check! That being said, our compost pile from last year has turned into a purty pile of dirt! So did the hay waste left over from a bale we gave the goats last year. That, alone, is progress!
This year, our new garden area is just on the other side of our backyard chain link fence. If the kids need me, they can stick their heads out the door, and I'll hear them. We're going to try out a few different methods, from permaculture, to straw bales, vertical gardening, and the Ruth Stout method, which utilizes hay--which we have extra in abundance!!
The garden area has been browsed and trampled by our goats, and is currently being tilled up by our chickens. We started a new compost pile smack in the middle of it, which the chickens have free access to.
Aren't they pretty?? They love yogurt!! That doesn't go in the compost pile. Those shiny black ones are a few of our meat birds. The 11 year old has named them Parmagian, 5 O'Clock, Sunday (Dinner), Nugget, and I can't remember what else. 😂 She loves those chickens. But all the kids know the black ones' purpose is to provide our family with both eggs AND meat. They will be slaughtered this fall, once their egg production tapers off.
Once we start laying our garden boundaries out, it'll be protected by electric fencing. No goats in our garden this year!
In the meantime, the goats are working on destroying another hay bale. Once they're through, the leftover hay waste will be the beginning of a new compost pile.
Look how fluffy those kids are!!
Well, that's where we are today! Big plans for our garden--as always! Lots of helpers helping! We have a tiny porta-potty-sized greenhouse (built by the 6 year old, with only a little help from me), so we'll be starting seeds soon. We'll be ordering baby chicks within the next month or 2. We have ongoing plans to buy a couple cows--maybe it'll happen this year, maybe not! Who knows!
Thanks for visiting my little corner! Stay tuned for future mishaps, shenanigans, and maybe even a success or 2!