In the Garden

The greenhouse built with our own blood, sweat and tears

The greenhouse built with our own blood, sweat and tears. It will soon be getting covered in Lexan so it will hold heat better and not get ripped apart with every storm that comes through. Hopefully we can really extend our growing season once that's been put on. It's going to cost around €600 to cover the whole thing.

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We’ve got a 1,000 sq. foot (100 m²) garden behind our barn and 2009 was almost its year to shine. Weeds took over the garden last year and we have cleared out a TON of stuff. We stored our tree trimmings and tons of weed waste in a couple of our raised beds for the past year or so. Getting rid of those piles was already a mission but thankfully we were able to use one of the free garden waste trash collection days in Germany to our advantage. The big pile of junk also keep a lot of the weeds from sprouting in the beds that were covered which was a nice bonus.

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Our raised beds in February 2009

We plan to build tunnels for most of the raised beds to extend our growing season forwards and backwards…but finding 1 inch PVC piping here in Germany turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected. We did learn that you can pick it up in the electric section of the home improvement store because they use it to run cables discretely through. But we also found a place online who sells it at a great price and will deliver so we’re going to give that a try. It should be around €300 for the pipes and another €200 for the plastic sheeting that will go over the frames. Thankfully the stuff lasts roughly forever.

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What things looked like in March 2009

In 2009, we’ve learned a lot about making the most of our garden space. We can plant things a whole lot closer to one another than we originally thought becase our raised beds are enormous! Plants closer together means less sunlight for weeds to thrive in. We also still have a massive slug problem but we’re just going to have to keep after that and be vigilant about distracting them whenever we put seedlings out. We’ve got a lot of weeded areas around the edge of the garden (not to mention inside the beds now) so we’re going to do some pulling again soon and cover everything with pond-liner plastic before winter really sets in. This will keep all the weeds from growing and let us get right to planting when spring comes around.

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Our largest raised bed filled with tomato plants. We intended to can most of our own sauce and crushed tomotoes this year. But late blight haf other ideas....we ended up with only a few Big Rainbows in the end. Boy were they delicious!

This year we learned that a lot more plants need to end up in our container garden in the courtyard. The tomoato plants would definitely seem to benefit. We won’t have to worry so much about blight blowing over from our neighbor’s potato farm or off the ground which will not take about 3 years to get rid of the spores. And it’s also better for us to see what is going on in our garden without going to the back. It’s not far but somehow we just don’t make it back there as often as we should. We also learned that you must, must, MUST train and prune tomato plants when they are small or they will most certainly get away from you and likely become sick.

Recent Posts from the Garden

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Harvested in 2009

  • June 03 – Strawberries – 3.5 pounds / 1.658 kilos
  • June 10 – Strawberries – 2.5 pounds / 1 kilo
  • June 19 – Strawberries – 7 ounces / 200 grams, Raspberries – 3.5 ounces / 100 grams
  • June 26 – Carrots – 3×6-8 inches long (about 300 grams)
  • July 10 – Jalepenos – 10 peppers 2-3 inches long (about 200 grams)
  • July 16 – Picking Lettuce – salad for 4 people (500g?)
  • July 21 – Chinese Giant Peppers – 2, Salad cucumbers – 2×8 inch, Gooseberries – 5 pounds / 2 kilos
  • July 24 – Salad cucumbers – 1×6 inch, Pickling cucumbers – 2×6 inch
  • July 26 – Picking Lettuce – salad for 2 people (250g?)
  • July 27 – Zucchini – 1 squash 1.5 kilos
  • August 10 – 3.3 kilos zucchini (3 squash), 504 grams carrots
  • August 17 – 1×4 kilo zucchini for seeds
  • August 22 – 409 grams salad cucumbers, 167 grams bell peppers, 131 grams jalapenos, 2 grams habaner0, 1.3 kilos zucchini
  • September – 1.5 kilos Big Rainbow tomoatoes, 300 grams bell peppers (turned chilies), 200 grams jalepenos, 50 grams hot lemon peppers, 50 grams habaneros, 5.5 kilos zucchini, 700 grams salad cucumbers
  • October 18 – 0.5 kilo zucchini, 200 grams jalepenos, 50 grams Habaneros, 10 grams Hot Lemon Peppers, 1 kilo eggplant, 400 grams salad cucumbers, 150 grams pickling cucumber

Fruits and vegetables we’re growing

  • Apples – total harvest 50 kilos
  • Apricots (harvested too late, should be end of June)
  • Artichokes (won’t produce fruit for another 2 years)
  • Beans (Black, Green, Pinto, Snap)
  • Brussel sprouts – 2 plants, 1 really nice one. Sprouts about 1/2 inch big on Oct 18th – maybe we have fresh sprouts for Thanksgiving…YUM!
  • Carrots – total summer harvest of 1 pound / 800 grams
  • Celery
  • Chilies (Jalepeno – total harvest of 2 kilos, Habanero – total harvest of 502 grams)
  • Cucumber (salad – total harvest of 5 kilos, pickling – total harvest of 1 kilo)
  • Currants (harvest late June – we did not harvest)
  • Eggplant – total harvest 1 kilo
  • Gooseberries – total harvest of 2 kilos
  • Gourds
  • Josta berries (no fruit yet on plants – 2010 will be last year we test them or they go to the compost heap)
  • Lettuce (picking salad, kopfsalat, iceberg, lamb’s lettuce) – total harvest 4 kilos
  • Okra – started plants too late & now too cold for them
  • Onions – planted one from kitchen but never dug up
  • Peaches – total harvest 20 kilos
  • Pumpkins
  • Raspberries – total harvest couple handfuls
  • Strawberries – total harvest 750 grams
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes – total harvest 2 kilos Big Rainbows
  • Zucchini – total harvest of 16.1 kilos

Herbs we’re growing

  • Basil
  • Bay laurel
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Garden projects we’re working on

  • Greenhouse – 80%
  • Raised Beds – 100% (excluding weeding which an neverending garden task)
  • Side Beds – 60%
  • Drip & sprinkler irrigation for raised beds from well water – 65%
  • Remove ivy from barn – 100%
  • Clay Oven – 0%
  • Rain water collection barrels – 50% (Need to drain and move the tank now. Then we’ll hook it up to the gutter so it collects off the HUGE barn roof.)
A few of our raised beds and the greenhouse

Raised beds on the other side. Closest bed is all strawberries now. The second awaits the new occupants. There are raspberries growing where the wooden frame to the side.