How Does Your Garden Grow?

Posted on December 12, 2011 by

A big part of our early winter through late spring will be occupied with an expanded garden.  My goal is to produce 75% of our fresh vegetables and greens, supplementing with grocery store and farmers market purchases for things like apples and lemons and pecans – the things I won’t have time to establish in a single year.  My ambition is always out of synch with my ability when it comes to new projects, but considering the inevitable increase in food prices coupled with shortages in the immediate future, and some family health concerns that continue to blip on the radar, it seems the prudent thing to take it on as something of a full time job.

One element of the adventure that is entirely new to me is the raising and care of laying hens.  Our city has passed an ordinance allowing for residents to keep “small female non-ruminant livestock as pets and for non-slaughter food production”.  That means girl birds for yard eggs in gub’mint speak.   We’re building their hut out of salvaged palettes and chicken wire (we have to keep them confined at night due to the marauding opossum).  I have visions of sweet chattering dears laying two double-yolk eggs a day, in lovely shades of brown and faded blue, perfectly clean and ready to place in the straw lined basket I’ll lovingly store stove-side, and they’ll scratch their waste into neat piles, waiting for transfer to compost.

What I know of chickens, though, my nightmares are this, plus poop:

Our garden is loosely based on the square-foot method, for continuous and varied harvest, with a few beds reserved specifically for quantity for canning and storing.  It will consist of something like this:

  • onions, garlic, fennel
  • carrots, radishes, beets
  • broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage, chard, lettuce
  • celery, cucumbers, herbs
  • tomatoes, green beans, squash, peppers
  • chicken and duck eggs

Supplemented with:

  • meat share
  • locally harvested hog and whitetail

So, what are you growing, hunting, and gathering this coming season?  Do you have pots, beds, or furrows,  do your pets provide any of your food, do you kill and eat Bambi or Babe?  What are your motivations?  Traditional retro-agrarian minds want to know…