In the Garden

In the Garden

You guys, we have officially gotten our asses handed to us in the garden.

Yes, there are veggies growing and being harvested.

No, the whole thing has not been a complete failure.

And yet, this season has truly kicked our asses.

We have worked so hard through epic battles against bindweed and squash bugs and grasshoppers and mosquitoes and yet there is so little coming from the garden…especially in comparison to the bounty we became accustomed to bringing in from our little urban farm.

I know there should be no comparison…and I know this property is new to us…and I knew this year wouldn’t be our best by any stretch of the imagination…and yet I had so much hope for it.

So much hope.

So, when things calm down a bit, I’m going to need to make some serious notes about what we did right and what we did wrong as well as about what we can control and what we cannot.

I am determined to do learn more about this land and about some of the techniques that will help us be successful growers in a changing climate.

And I am determined to obliterate every last one of those damn squash bugs that have obliterated nearly all of my summer and winter squash this year.


Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm


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  4. Daphne

    It does take a while to learn a new place. And then you never really learn everything, but at least over the years you learn a lot of what work. My first garden was almost pure sand. My second garden was clay with soil that cracked. It was a real learning curve to figure out what would work where. Here I have it too easy as we started with subsoil, so the soil we put in was pretty good. It makes it easy to grow things. But we have every disease known to man here. Things I’ve never seen before. There is always something new to figure out.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, 31 August 2015My Profile

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      You’re so right, there are *always new things to figure out! Now, if I could just figure out how to become independently wealthy so as to devote all of my time to the garden we’ll be all set 😉

  5. Margaret

    I’ve been working on my garden for almost 5 years now and it is still not even halfway to where I want it to be. It’s hard being patient when it comes to the garden, especially the vegetable garden. I wanted my 30 beds NOW. But with small kids running around, it wasn’t easy getting the everyday chores accomplished, much less breaking ground on a new garden. One thing I’ve tried to do is focus – I often found that with so much on the to-do list, I would have half a dozen started but unfinished jobs. This year, I’m making a much bigger effort to finish one job before moving on to the next. Easier said than done.
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 31, 2015My Profile

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      I really need to get better at focusing on one thing at a time. I am constantly adding “just one more thing” because I truly want to do it all! Heck, we just moved here at the end of March and we tried to plant out the whole massive garden in addition to adding turkeys and goats to the mix. I’d serve myself (and our homestead) well by pulling back a little and focusing in. Thank you so much for the reminder as well as for letting me know I’m not alone in the insanity of it all 😉

  6. Dave@OurHappyAcres

    You know Melissa, I am on my 3rd garden area now and ever one has been a learning adventure! I have also worked in several volunteer gardens and each of those has been unique as well.

    I think you are right on in making notes and coming up with a plan for going forward. I see gardening as an iterative process, one that can’t really be controlled but can at best be influenced one way or the other.

    As for the &(*$ squash bugs, I feel your pain! They have been terrible here this year. I have no solution either other than to squash every one I see. And clean up the squash vines every year so they don’t have a place to overwinter.
    Dave@OurHappyAcres recently posted…Monday Recap: Hot and SweetMy Profile

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      So glad I’m not alone with this learning curve on a new property! I knew it would be different, in theory, but the real life of it all…holy moly! Thank you for your insights! And, truly, I think I’ve squashed a million squash bugs (and a bazillion eggs) this year…they are simply out of control!

  7. Tonya@MyCozyLittleFamhouse

    You are correct, you can’t compare the previous property to this one.

    I’m sorry to say, you more or less need to start over. The big plot needs amending. Get a load of goat/ donkey/ chicken/ horse doo. Mushroom compost– anything you can find to feed the soil. Cover it with straw and let it lie fallow until Spring then plant a green manure crop suitable to your area.

    Use your formula that work. Raised beds. Set up your raised beds since those are more controlled, while you tame your land. You have so much to focus on, the raised beds seem like the perfect compromise. You most definitely did not fail. It is all learning curve.

    Just think when Great great great Opa Helmut (I’m of German descent hence the names) first acquired his 50 acres of land he didn’t clear it all once. The first thing he did was clear a path, secure a home, secure a small area for livestock and clear a small area for Great great great Oma Gerda to tend her vegetables. Every season he would work more of the land and expand. Within a few years he had established a strong, productive farm. You’re essentially doing the same thing. Blazing a trail, securing your home, livestock and tending a garden. Take comfort you are on the right path and will succeed just as our ancestors did before us.
    Tonya@MyCozyLittleFamhouse recently posted…Already Prepping for WinterMy Profile

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      Tonya, you are so right! I’m not sure what we were thinking simply charging a head as we did. I guess we just really wanted to pull our own food from the garden as we’d done for years, despite all of the upheaval and transitions of the past year. Luckily, we have lots of chickens and goat poop to spread around and a few cold months ahead of us to rest, plan, and get ready to try again! Thank you os much for your insights and for sharing about your Opa and Oma <3

  8. Angela

    When we were in living in NM for many seasons we felt like nature had kicked our asses, but the one thing that helped more than anything else in the 2014 growing season was when I changed course and began applying the compost tea recipe of Dr. Elaine Ingham to our garden. It made all the difference in the world. When we first started we did have weeds and pest insects, but as we applied the compost tea each week, the weed pressure was greatly reduced as was my need to use a neem application for the bugs.

    Here’s her website: and there are courses you can take, but you can also glean a lot online via her videos. You can also purchase her books without taking her classes. On the site she also gives her recipe for making compost, compost tea, and compost extracts.

    It will come into balance very quickly if you use her approach to soil health.

    You guys are doing great. I’ve never viewed garden/farm failure as defeat, but a world class intimate education into what makes your land live. Every nuance we observe and experience through the seasons makes us fall in love with our land as the years pass, and as we look back at our work, we can see a living master piece taking form right before our eyes.

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      Angela, thank you for your insights and the wonderful soil food web links and tips! I love the visual you offered about the living masterpiece taking form before us! You are so right! And I know it is an evolution and a great learning and all of our experiences are such a blessing…but it can be very hard when you’re in it, you know, and all you see are the rotting tomatoes and wilted squash, you know? One step at a time… 🙂

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