Gardening on the Homestead
In addition to the cherries, strawberries, and rhubarb that were already here, we grow cool weather crops such as spinach, kale, cabbage, and fava beans. We also grow carrots, beets, onions, and potatoes, from baking potatoes to naturalized varieties grown by the region's Natives, such as Maria's (Tlingit) and Kasaans (Haida). In the greenhouse we grow peppers, tomatoes, and squashes, including pumpkins.
The main garden and adjoining greenhouse provide the bulk of our vegetables.
We found a substantial garden area and a lovely greenhouse that had not been used for a few seasons and had overgrown with weeds.
Our first task was to dig out the tree roots that invaded every inch of the garden. We dug out amazing amounts of soil that the previous owners had carefully created, right down to the large rocks that form the base of our beachfront garden. We then lay down landscape cloth and sifted the soil back into the hole, taking out roots, weeds, rocks and various buried plastic toys as we went. It took two springs to reclaim the original beds.
Since then we have cut trees to let in more light, enlarged the fenced area and built raised beds. It's an ongoing project.
Our challenges include winds, normally cool weather and limited light. We have learned to create windscreens with Lexan, keep row covers when needed for warmth, and hope for direct sunlight in the morning hours. Thank goodness for our very long days during the growing season!
We take advantage of seaweed that washes up on the beach, and compost for fertility. We have learned a lot about crop rotation. Our yields increase each year.
In 2011, we built an archaeological style sifter, which has really helped process compost humus and garden soil. You can order plans for building your own here.
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Mark Zeiger ©2012