This summer my farmer decided we needed one more thing on our plate. A farm garden at the “Orchard”.
The Orchard is a property that is mostly tillable land (tillable land means land that is farmed... as in there are cornfields there). However, the Orchard also has acres of non-tillable land, which means there are acres of tall grass, fruit trees, an old barn (that we are renovating, finally!), along with other old & cool (that’s the nice way of saying falling down & old ) farm buildings that are easily 75+ years old, and have been untouched for close to 50 years.
As part of the Orchard barn renovation this spring, we had to transport wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of 100 year old cow manure, dirt, decayed wood etc.
Who do you think got recruited for this job?
Me of course.
Why not? We were in the middle of a shelter in place mandate, so I was happy to get out and do something.
Thankfully, due to a certain pandemic, I hadn’t had a manicure in a long time and had browsed barn renovations on Instagram and Pinterest until my brain was ready to burst with ideas, so I was ready to get my hands in there and get started.
im somewhat shocked as I re-read that, I was actually excited to shovel ancient cow poop.... for a garden...that I had no clue how to start.
The area to be emptied was the basement of the barn. Lucky for us it’s a walk out-basement type of set up (the barn is built into a hill). The garden area was maybe about 50 yards from the barn, so after a number of wheelbarrow filled drop offs, the garden spot was full of loads of rich, dried up and ancient goodness.
The boys and I took over this garden project as the farmer got deep into the spring planting season in May.
It started out nice and pretty.
We planted seeds and seedlings of a variety of things. However, we had no idea what we were doing, even though I thoroughly exhausted my research assistants Mr Google and Ms Pinterest.
We planted things too closely together, not in proper straight rows, did not properly mark what was planted, planted too many varieties and did not take proper weed precautions.
I blame the research assistants.
Much to my dismay, i had to bring in the big guns.
The weeds had to be taken on by the farmer.....He is the master at controlling weeds. He got in there with some sort of rototiller type of machine that ate them up.
We then were tasked with pulling weeds until our backs hurt. We used various sorts of weed block material, staked down in between rows of little seedlings, and did our best to control the weed garden we had created.
The boys loved using the old school, rusty hoes we found in the barn and with time, our seedlings turned to plants and suddenly the weeds diminished and we had a garden!
We even had to put up a fake owl to scare away critters. We named him Harold, and he seemed to work!
My garden taught me something good after all. I had that feeling finally... that feeling farmers feel when they harvest their crop.
It’s a feeling of accomplishment.
It is a feeling of accomplishment in working hard and working with your hands to produce something.
It’s a thrill to go out to the Orchard Garden and see the zucchini, pumpkins, cucumber, acorn squash, decorative squash, Brussels sprouts, watermelon & sweet corn grow.
I’ll admit even the critters won’t touch some of it because it’s rotten or no good.... . but by golly, it grew!