This is my garden. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been busy this week introducing you to all of my favorite places here on Glen Road. I want you to see how they look now, so we can marvel together on Acorns On Glen over what they will become from now until Autumn. My garden sits at the back of the property and is outside of the fence that guards the rest of the yard from visits by deer. We learned in our very first year that while Bambi is cute, Bambi will also eat every last plant that can be found on your property. The next year we installed a six foot tall fence in the woods that surrounds our property in order to keep the deer out. During all the seasons, except Winter, the forest growth makes the fence appear almost invisible. Because we built the garden outside of the fence, we installed protection to ensure our garden is not wiped out by deer like we experienced in our first year on Glen Road.
The actual garden is approximately 20 feet long by 10 feet wide. Each of the four beds inside is close to 8 feet long by 4 feet wide with a white rock path that seperates each bed. I try to organically garden as much as possible, so it was important to me that all of the construction material used was not chemically treated in any way. Many raised bed gardens use treated wood to avoid decay, but I opted out of that. I didn’t want any chemicals seeping into the soil that we use to grow and then those chemicals getting into me through the vegetables that we plant, harvest and eat.
I love the fact that my garden is surrounded by forest on all sides. I didn’t need to remove any trees in the area I selected. There was nothing in this area before the garden was constructed except for brush and rock. The area is also very sunny, which is important if you hope to grow strong and healthy vegetables.
My garden is my sanctuary. I go there to garden, of course, but it also serves as a place that provides me great amounts of peace and tranquillity after a long week at work. My garden also acts as my psychiatrist because I become calm and centered in the garden and then I am able to make the best decisions around what I need to do and what I do not need to do in my life. The garden also connects me to nature. I marvel at the lessons that nature teaches you if you just stop and take notice. My garden is also my way of meditating. There is nothing better than hearing the sound of wind, the warmth of sun on your shoulders, watching a seed grow, the feeling of soil on your hands to center you and make you one with the higher spirit.
At the current time, all of my beds have a cover crop on them. The cover crop is primarily winter rye grass and some red clover that I will turn into the soil in April. As it decomposes into the soil, it will add nutrients to provide the garden with what it needs to grow vegetables. Think of the cover crop as my garden’s vitamin pill.
In the picture at the top of the post, you will see what appears to be a white blanket covering about half of the soil in one of the raised beds. This is a floating row cover that is protecting four rows of spinach. Last Thanksgiving, I put on my thickest Winter coat and gloves and dug four rows where I planted spinach. I then covered the area with a floating row cover to protect the spinach seeds from Winter snow and ice and the frigid temperatures. The floating row covers also help to hold some heat in around the soil to help the spinach seeds sprout in the Spring when temperatures get a little warmer. Spinach is one of a number of vegetables that do the best if grown in cooler temperatures. It is true because I took up the floating row cover for the day and there were the four rows of spinach at almost an inch high. Pretty good given the Winter we endured here in Connecticut. With all the snow and ice, I thought that the spinach was going to be a lost cause. I’m glad I was wrong! I hope to be enjoying some spinach with garlic and oil in a few short weeks. I will permanently remove the floating row cover in the beginning of May when the temperature rises and frost is less likely to occur.
I used two different types of spinach varieties in my Thanksgiving planting. One was a smooth-leaf spinach which is the traditional kind that most people are used to and the second one was a savoy-leaf spinach, which is a spinach with a more curly leaf.
- ‘Space’ is the smooth-leaf variety. It has medium dark green leaves with are upright and smooth to maybe a little savoyed.
- ”Tyee’ is the savoyed-leaf variety. Again, the folks at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, http://www.johnnyseeds.com, really came through. They were the first to offer ‘Tyee’ and it is now considered the standard of savoyed spinach for its bolt resistance and vigorous growth. Dark green leaves with an upright growth habit. I was told it was ideal for over-wintering.
So now you know where I will be most weekends from now until the early Winter. The garden is one of my favorite spots and one of my earliest childhood memories. I will always remember the gardening lessons I received at a young age from my Grandmother and my Father. Honestly, they were organic gardeners way before organic was cool and necessary in today’s environment. I have learned all of what I know in the garden primarily through them. What are you doing in your garden that you would like to share at Acorns On Glen?