I often get asked how big our is garden. When people read about the amount of produce we grow, that is the number one question that follows. It’s one of the questions I’m most reluctant to to answer, mainly because I think it can be off putting. Ultimately, it is not how big your garden is, it is what you do with your garden that is important (insert immature giggles and double meanings here).
If you have a little balcony, and can grow a few herbs in pots, I think that is fantastic. If you have a suburban backyard with a few tomatoes, lettuce, and some corn, that is fantastic too. Being content with what you have, and not comparing your efforts to others will be way more motivating than constantly looking at what others are doing. Also how big a garden you need really does depend on your lifestyle, and what you are hoping to produce.
This month’s Garden Share Collective asked us to talk about the size of our garden, which as I mentioned above, makes me feel a little awkward. I really am proud of the hard work that CB puts into the garden and the produce we grow in it, but I know that it can be overwhelming for some people to see just how much garden we have. Since I’m in the business of encouraging people to grow their own produce, I don’t want to put them off.
Having said that, here’s the low down on our garden…
We do have the luxury of a (very) large vegetable garden here on the farm. There are 80 irrigated rows, spread over three garden beds. Each row is approximately 4 meters long (that’s about 320 linear meters of planted vegetables …. eek I just did the maths for the first time). It can be a little crazy making at times, particularly during February to April which is our peak harvest time. With a big garden comes a large harvest, and all that produce needs to be either, sold, eaten, or preserved before it goes off. We do sell a small amount of our vegetables to people in our local village, however the remainder is eaten by us or preserved for later. We preserve it by blanching and freezing, as well as making jams, pickles, chutneys, and sauces for us to use throughout the year.
Throughout the year we grow peas, beans (green, borlotti, broad), corn, capsicum, cucumber, lettuce, rocket, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, beetroot, artichoke, chillies, carrots, pumpkins, garlic, potatoes, onion, leek, zucchini, and squash. We like to experiment with different varieties of each of these, and will plant a few new types each year, just to see how they turn out. All these vegetables mean that we eat what is fresh and in season, and we don’t generally buy vegetables, which I guess is a pay off for having a huge garden.
Coming into Spring, we have been preparing the beds for summer planting, popping the chickens in the chicken tractor on each bed , and then mulching them with lots of hay. CB has the tomato seeds in a seedling tray on our warm, north facing enclosed veranda, where they are just starting to pop out. This year he is hoping to plant 32 tomato plants with lots of different varieties. He also has egg plants, capsicums, basil, and chilli seedlings just starting out. The peas went in a few weeks back, and supports for the broad beans have been put together. He will be planting rocket, parsley, and some more carrots in the next few weeks, but we will wait until the frosts have finished (usually the beginning of November) before we plant out our tomatoes etc.
Earlier in the month I wrote a guest post for Kate from Rosehips and Rhubarb where I talked more about our garden. Check it out.
How big is your garden? What do you like to grow?