Lessons from the Garden

In my post on January 7, I gave a vision for the garden at Easton Mountain. It has guided my work and the work of others for the past three months. Here is a report on our successes and failures -- and what we've learned from both.

Assembling the cold frame

Last November, I ordered a cold frame. It arrived too late to be put together and used before snow blanketed the property. It was assembled on March 17. Almost immediately a strong gust of wind blew it over, necessitating fastening to stakes in the ground. [Lesson One: Stake down any cold frames.]

Staked Cold Frame

We planted seeds in small containers made of newsprint during the week of April 20-27. It was a cool wet spring, which meant that many of the seed were slow to sprout.

Some seedlings when they first sprouted.

Some seedlings when they first sprouted.

During that same week, we planted seed potatoes. Right now they are the largest vegetable plants in our garden.

Planting Seed Potatoes

Planting Seed Potatoes

By the end of May, the plants that had sprouted in the cold frame were ready to go into the garden, even though they were not as big as the plants being sold in garden shops. [Lesson Two: Start plants indoors and in cold frames a little earlier.]

We then found that the mulch that had covered the beds was often too thin to keep down the weeds - necessitating prepping the beds by pulling out the weeds. [Lesson Three: Mulch the beds at the time you plant the seeds in the cold frame.]

We prepped the beds, transplanted the seedlings, and then found it difficult to put the mulch around the plants. [Lesson Four: Mulch before transplanting, then pull the mulch aside just enough of put the plants in place.]

We augmented the corn, beans, and some other vegetables by directly planting more seeds. We also learned that some of the plants (like kale) that we direct seeded could have been started in a cold frame. [Lesson Five: Get another cold frame.]

When you come to one of our summer programs — Gay Freedom Camp, July 3 - 7;Gay Spirit Camp, July 29 -August 4; The Tantra Experience, August 6-11; Sun Clad, August 21-25; or Bear Your Soul Summer Camp, August 29 through September 2 — visit our garden. I'll be glad to tell you about other gardening lessons we've learned.