Sunday, April 26, 2009

Green and Frugal: Let's Get This Garden Started

Spring has finally hit NJ this week. With spring comes gardening time! My hubby has determined the sunniest corner of our yard will be the best place for our gi-normous garden. Last weekend he broke out the rototiller and created a nice area to plant our vegetable garden.

As you know, we joined in a community-supported farmer's share, which provides 5-10 pounds of fruits and veggies each week from June through November. We also invested in a food saver (on sale at Kohl's for $79.99, plus a 20% coupon), so we're ready to not only harvest, but also store our goods.

Last year, we didn't realize that it's really hard to consume pounds upon pounds of greens, squash, zucchini and garlic. Unfortunately, this resulted in some spoilage. We've wisened up this year! We plan to use the Food Saver and freeze as much as we can.

Here's our game plan (this is sort of what our garden would look like if my digital camera worked prop:

  • Build a 4-foot gardening fence to keep the deer out

  • Keep the taller plants (tomatoes, etc.) in the middle of the garden and the low-lying veggies (cucumbers, jalapenos, etc.) on the outskirts

  • We'll create a "+" in the middle of the garden using slate from our front steps that are falling apart (another summer project)

  • Lay down black weed tarp (left over from the previous homeowners)

  • Plant marigolds and other stinky flowers outside the garden for aesthetics as well as to keep out groundhogs and rabbits (you'd think our cats would take care of this!)
We're hoping to get some abandoned veggies to get us started at the end of June. My husband is a high school teacher and last year the horticulture class abandoned all of their plants after the school year was over. We adopted them and tried to grow them as best as we could. But we got a late start and our haphazard garden was overrun by deer and other wildlife. Not this year. We have a game plan.

The kids are getting involved, too. They're going to help us build a scarecrow so the birds stay out of the garden as well.

As a beginning gardener, I'm sure there are key aspects that I'm missing. What else should we be prepared for that will elicit a bumper crop, but keep costs low??

Stay tuned for my next update on our new composting bin...

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