True North is:

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Michigan, United States

Friday, August 14, 2009

Home Grown!

Garden Update:

The Garden is doing really well, at least we think it is. Since this is our first time growing anything I guess even a little success goes a long way! Melissa is keeping an actual tally of what we have harvested so when it's all said and done will post up what our overall haul was.

Corn:Right now the corn is looking good even though deer ate most of it early on. The few stalks they didn't eat have multiple ears on them, and the ones they did eat still managed to survive and are producing. Not ready to harvest yet, but I think it will be soon!

Cucumbers: I planted six hills of cucumbers; 3 normal ones and then 3 that are a 'pickling' variety. Two hills of the normal ones and one hill of the other type are pumping out a vast quantity of cucumbers. We've already been eating them and soon we'll try our hand at making pickles.

Watermelon: Like the cucumbers I planted 6 hills. Although all came up, only three are really producing. We have a couple of tennis ball sized melons and quite a few more smaller ones. The ones that aren't growing well, I believe, has more to do with getting behind on weeding than anything else.

Peppers: All the pepper plants are doing good and producing. No complaints here...we've been eating them on a regular basis!

Egg Plant: My mom had bought a few of these plants so we planted them and lo and behold we have a bunch of them producing. We just harvested one Egg Plant yesterday and fried it up. Never had it before and it was pretty darn good as a side dish.

Squash: This stuff has grown great right from the start. They all came up and we have a ton of squash growing...I'm a little worried. Next year I'll probably only plant half of what I did.

Onions: The first round of Onions we planted as seed and nothing grew. We then planted bulbs and they have been doing nicely. We hopefully will get some large onions out of them, that is if Melissa can keep her hands out of them, lol.

Head Lettuce: At first we didn't think they where going to grow, but we did have a handful come up. They look ok, but I think they are a long way till harvest. We'll see what happens.

Green Beans: They took a beating from the deer, but what we do have left are producing. I just took a handful of beans inside today. I'm not sure if we'll ever get enough to can or freeze but at least will have some for a couple of meals.

Potatoes: Plants look good and we've been doing a lot of research on when to harvest. We're not there yet but we believe its close.

Tomatoes: We've got tomatoes! Big ones, medium ones, and little ones. We've ate a couple, but most are still green. I have a feeling here in the next few days we are going to be neck deep in tomatoes. That's exactly what we want though. We've got a lot of plans for these red veges!

So that's it, but what have we learned to do and not do?

First, protect against deer. Early on, the deer came in and ate most of the corn and green beans. Although those things have survived I think our harvest would have been better had it not happened at all. After the attack, I set up a few fence posts and hung shiny tin plates from strings that I stretched between the posts. I also tied human hair (from our brushes) on the posts, about half way up. I then took some hair clippings and scattered them around the perimeter of the garden. Lastly, I used a mixture of 1/2 bottle of hot sauce to a gallon of water and sprayed that occasionally on the plants. I'm not sure what worked or if all of it did...but no deer since doing this. I haven't sprayed the sauce mixture in quite awhile nor have I refreshed the hair, so maybe the plates were enough. Next year I'll have my anti-deer defense set up early.

Bugs: Hadn't seen any sign of these types of pests until just a few days ago. While tending to the tomatoes I started notices what looked like little black poops littered around some of the plants. After a few minutes of investigation I saw the culprits. Nasty green monster worms! We found 8 of them and promptly squashed them. Now I look every day...haven't found anymore yet!

Weeding: Don't ever get behind! A camping trip and a few days of not feeling well and things got out of control in a hurry. Btw, I love weeding! It;s very peaceful in the evening...kind of like a reflection time: to think of things gone by and things yet to come.
Advise: We are getting it from where ever we can. Family, friends, strangers, books, Internet....there is so much info out there, and a lot to absorb! We've got time though and I feel we've learned so much already

We have been told that our abnormally cool summer has stunted growth this year. I can only agree. Things have been pretty hot lately and I think that"s why we have seen a growth spurt.

All in all though it has been well worth the trouble. Melissa mentioned the other day that it has been so nice eating fresh vegetables daily...and we're broke. Normally, when short on cash the fresh veges would wait. Not the case anymore! Feeling more self sufficient is always good's a big motivator. I have to say...the whole family seems to love the garden (the work included)!


  1. You are doing fabulous for your first year of gardening, Congrats! I really enjoy seeing younger families going back to the land and simple ways!!

  2. Sunny....thanks for following. Yes it has been great fun and lots of learning!

  3. Hello Patrick, I was wondering how you guys were doing... Welcome to Self reliance, LOL, you're having gardening problems all the rest of us have! Those Tomato worms are the pits, the eat both the leaves and the tomatoes. The pics are great and the garden looks awesome!

  4. Your garden looks really nice!! We've had some success this year with ours as well. Glad to see it's going well.

  5. Looks awesome. You know I'm gonna be blowing up your phone in the spring when we plant in Alabama.
    I will see you guys around the first of September so I can get some of that sweet corn...yum.