I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anticipating the Garden

One of the bummers of this year has been the fact that I wasn't able to plant a garden. We had a lovely raised bed garden at the McMansion, but I didn't want to plant it and then sell the house and have to leave it behind so I left it empty. We came to the Heap too late in the summer to start a garden here so it's been a much anticipated job to get a garden spot picked out and prepped for next year.

I chose to start fairly small for a homesteading garden because I know how much work a new garden can be. This garden will be a lot different from my previous one because it will not be raised and I know that a change like that can bring a big learning curve with it. So, I tried to tame my enthusiasm and be realistic......we'll see how that goes....

Finding a suitable location was harder than you might expect. There are a lot of trees out here- a problem I didn't have at the McMansion. I did find a place that will work, but even there we'll have to take out some trees so that they don't grow bigger and shade the plot too much.

Once I found the spot, I decided how big I wanted it and laid out paper right on top of the grass. Special weed barrier paper is available at nurseries and similar stores and that would have worked great, but I found a big roll of contractor paper at Lowes that was the same price as a much smaller square foot amount of the weed paper so I went with that. I also got some special lawn staples that are made to hold weed paper or fabric in place- turned out those didn't really work all that well with the paper I got.


I'm using a lasagna garden method. The general idea is that by putting a layer of organic material right on top of the ground you can kill off the grass and weeds and have a plot ready for planting in the spring. Some people do not till at all with this method, but I plan on tilling the ground before I plant- I just want to get rid of as much grass and weeds as possible before I do. I ended up with a plot that measures about 19 ft by 7 ft- more square footage than I had at the McMansion, but not by too much.

Once I had the paper down I put some wood chips and things down first and then covered them with top soil. I will then put a good layer of manure on top of that once the Hubs is able to go pick up a load from a local horse owner who offered us some of his bounty for free. The hope is that over the winter all of the larger things will break down and feed the soil and in the spring I'll have a lovely, fertile garden plot to plant in.

I cannot wait for the first seed catalogs to start arriving in late winter. Picking what to plant is going to be so much fun!


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