My Adventures In Learning How To Grow My Own Food

Promise you won't laugh.

My First Year Growing Vegetables

The very first topic I searched for on Hive's predecessor was permaculture. At the time, I had done no vegetable growing of my own, apart from throwing some herbs in my flower beds.

My next topic to search was natural medicine, a love of mine from long ago that I had abandoned for several decades while I slogged through the torments of trying to raise children in the "modern" world.

I put my first seeds into soil that year, seeds I had purchased through @homesteaderscoop. These seeds, from @sagescrub if my memory serves me correctly, experienced failure to thrive (from lack of nutrients me now thinks), and then annihilation when I fried them to death in my newly purchased, and nearly free, greenhouse.

I then bought one seedling for Sun Gold tomatoes, had a bumper crop of those, and nothing else.

So ended my first year's attempts to grow food.

My Second Year Growing Vegetables

I again tried to start some seeds. The lemon cucumbers and Black Prince tomatoes survived my inept growing skills, and went on to produce fruits in a friend's garden, but were reduced to stubble by groundhogs and deer in mine. I managed to get a few fruits of each as I frantically tried to erect barriers against animal invasion, barriers that eventually became barriers even to my own access to my garden. I had to make like a tai chi master (which I am NOT) to get to my crops. I did manage to eat a few cucumbers, a string bean or two, a few zucchinis, and a couple dozen tomatoes, before the season ended.

This Year, My Third Year Growing Vegetables.

This year has started off beautifully! My seedlings have all managed to survive, those that germinated, and are still growing! Here are two photos of them, in my large south facing window, with no added light other than one 60 watt bulb in a little lamp. This year I put compost in the bottom of each cell, a fortified and organic seed starter mix to fill the cells up, put them in that window with a heating pad, and watched the wonders of nature unfurl.

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My seedlings on 3/26, which were planted on or around 3/18.

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My seedlings yesterday, with a plumber's wrench, and other heavy objects, weighing the tray down so that I could push the tray right up to the window. By now, the sun is too high in the sky to illuminate the entire tray unless I do this.

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Last year, the morning I went out to admire my garden and saw two groundhogs skedaddling away, then noticed that yesterday's promising veggie patch had become today's patch of leafless stalks, was traumatic.

It happened a second time, even though I had erected chicken wire cages around each plant. I got slightly more serious about stopping the groundhogs from getting into my veggie patch, and the deer hopped right in.

I learned my lesson. This year, I would be starting on the outside by erecting a deer and groundhog-proof fence. I was determined to do this for as little money as I possibly could, because I will be moving. I started with a dog kennel that has come in handy for a few non-canine things over the years, the panels assembled sideways to make three sides of a 12 by 8 veggie patch. The fourth side I would figure out as I went along.

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My veggie patch, pre-critter-proofing.

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I purchased eight 8 foot stakes for $40, 100 feet of 7 foot wide deer netting for $20, fifty feet of 3 foot wide chicken wire for $40. I used a marble slab I've been carrying around, unused for more than 30 years, as a sill for the gate. An old baby's mattress doohickey (previously employed as a chicken yard gate) came in handy to complete the fourth side of my fenced in area.

I now have a fence that will keep those little f***kers out. All for a mere, hopefully reusable, $100, if I don't count the 200 bucks I paid two men (who actually follow directions) to put it together for me.

I still have to figure out the clasp, but I have an idea for that. If nothing else, a short bungie cord will do the trick.

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My veggie patch, post-critter-proofing.

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Today was going to be the day I put some seeds in my cold frame, but here I sit composing this post instead.

Things are moving very fast!! I have not taken a single note! Let this post take the place of sensible note-taking, and let us all hope we still have access to the internet at this time next year so that I can consult this post.

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I noticed this morning that my seedlings get no natural light at all in my south facing window, now that the sun is so high in the sky, so I put them outside in dappled light to catch the real rays. Soon, they will be repotted and living in my rickety cold frame.

And please please please let me get up early enough in the mornings to prevent my precious seedlings from being fried.

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This post is in response to the Garden Journal challenge, hosted by @riverflows, that you can find here

Thank you for reading about my attempts to learn how to grow my own food. If I can do this, anyone can do this.

Do one thing today that brings you closer to nature.


page break by @thekittygirl

all images are mine


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