Continued from Part One, which you can find here if you missed it!
You might have seen in my Instagram stories where I asked for you to submit any questions you might have about our garden, and I fully expected a bunch of questions asking “why so many weeds?!”. To my surprise I didn’t get a single one of those. I’ll explain later anyway, though.
Some answers I haven’t given yet:
Q: Did you fertilize the ground before planting?
A: No! We disked up our plot, hoe’d some rows and planted seeds. I was really unsure if anything would grow without fertilizer since the ground is so nutrient deficient and dry, but look at us go!
Q: Do you spray for weeds or pests?
A: To be really clear, I hate hate hate spraying anywhere, but especially around my food. However, the weeds around the fence line were growing like crazy (like weeds) and were taking up too much time, so Griffin went through and sprayed them. This was an issue because weeds around the hot wire (which we strung along the bottom of the fence) will ground out the electricity and the wire won’t be “hot” anymore (you already know that I’m sure, just clarifying anyway).
G made sure to keep his distance from the things we planted and we didn’t turn on the irrigation until well after the spray dried and killed the weeds. As for the weeds in the garden, I pulled them over, and over, and over, and over again but before I could finish pulling weeds in the front half, they were overgrown in the back half again. I gave up after coming back from vacation in Hawaii and now they’re basically at their max height potential… It really pained us to kill them anyway, as the vast majority of them are food just like the foods we’re growing. Now we pull an armful every time we’re out there and bring them home as a snack for our neighbor’s bull.
Q: Can you two eat all that food?!
A: Yes and no! We CAN eat all the food… We’re just going to have a hard time tackling the things we can’t preserve before they perish. That means loads of food for our neighbors, friends and family!
The challenges of organic gardening
As of right now, besides the weeds, there’s really no huge challenge to organic gardening! It all comes down to prioritizing the organic factor and cherishing it over everything, even when that means you put in a little extra elbow grease. We used no -icide of any kind other than the minimal aforementioned, we put organic seeds into the ground, and used nothing to grow them aside from water. To my own surprise, these were the only requirements to being able to say this an “organic” place of growth!
How much we invested
A fresh half acre garden complete with equipment use, an entire barbed wire and electric fence, dozens of seed packets, an irrigation system from scratch, and water to run through the irrigation sounds like a pretty penny of an investment just to grow some veggies.
In total, to this point, we have invested just over $150. Griffin is a hay farmer and we used equipment from work to work the ground. We also used irrigation pipes and valves that were laying around and tapped into the irrigation already existing on the land for one of their fields (all with permission). We had to buy a couple pieces that cost $5 or so, and the bulk of the investment was for hose to run from a nearby water pump when the irrigation was shut off (which happens every month or so when they’re cutting and drying the hay in the neighboring field). The rest of the cost came from seeds and tools!
What tools we used
Once the entire garden was established we decided we’d be “real” farmer Joe and Jane and invest in a couple new hoes and a rake. We rescued an old pitch fork from our neighbor’s junk pile to use to spread straw through the garden to hold in moisture, which was really necessary in the desert! I ended up just using my hands anyway because the fork was too heavy after a while. We wore one hoe out (I did, I wore one hoe out) by using it to wack weeds for days on end. Oops!
Our plans for the harvest
Our goals with this big ole beauty were to have nearly all the food we need to feed ourselves and the doggos! It’s also really important to us to have enough to share with those who made it happen and let us borrow the land and equipment, and then we’d like to pass the joy on to family and friends. We’ll also can what we can (lol), dehydrate, and freeze what’s left. We wish nothing more than to have homegrown food through the winter!