Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Can it be a raised bed garden if it is about a 1/5 of an acre? Maybe but not....

Our garden has always been an endeavor of love.  The acre we live on is a nice square, and I mean square piece of property.  It was lost in a divorce to one of the parties so it was perfectly cut out of a bigger tract of land in the 70's.  We originally owned the property adjacent to it, we bought that property in 82 but with many an up and a down along the way we ended up with the acre we are now on.  Our youngest biologically child, Mokie and her family live on the adjacent acre and 1/2 we once owned.  It is a nice set up in the overall, we get to see our 3 closest grands as a daily part of our lives.  But I digress.  The property we live on is exactly 207 by 207 feet and appears flat but for the one corner that goes up the rise of a small hill.  Basically it was a flat square plain when we moved on to it.  We later found when we had the foundation put in and pour it is not flat in reality but only appears so to it's surroundings.  We decided early on that we would like to build up a garden in the raised corner.  We had had a junk yard before we moved on to this property and had a bunch of tires left over from the last crushing of cars that we had to get rid of.  We had roughly 200 tires, a mountain so to speak, and no we did not want to pay 5 plus dollars each to take them to the dump.  We decided to use them as a wall to build up the garden we wanted to have, but we had no idea where we would get the back fill or actual garden dirt to fill behind the tire wall.  The neighbors that had just moved in at the time were digging a large hole in the hill behind them, so we asked them what they were going to do with the dirt and they had an equally big problem of what they were going to do with it. So because God never send coincidences, but only his plan that seems incidental to us at the time, he had had a plan for both our neighbor and us all the time, at hole to build in and a garden to provide food were the answers. 

They brought dump trucks of dirt over to our yard, smoothed it a little and Poppie on his little lawn tractor went to smoothing the dirt in behind the tire wall as I built the tire wall.  Our little Yogie was about 18 months and she rode on the lawn tractor with Poppie as he smoothed and smoothed hour after our.  It finally came together into a sort of flat giant raised bed with a tire wall around 3/4's of it.  We planted strawberries in each tire to hold in the dirt, and for the first 2 to 3 years had the biggest and best producing strawberry bed in the area.  We gave them away by the 5 gallon bucket.  But as the dirt, which was mostly clay set and hardened the strawberries died out because we didn't want to compromise the structure to by digging and putting softer dirt in all the tires.  Alas we no longer have the strawberries there but we do have a good strong wall that bears the wait of the garden.  Back to the garden, the neighbor brought over two dump trucks of cow manure and horse manure to cover the garden the first year. Brother rolled all the dirt with his tractor and plow, Poppie used his lawn tractor to till, we had a great garden the first year but the weeds were horrific.  Over the years Poppie has added, leaves, more manures, goat and pig more of late, but it has been a growing endeavor all along.  We added rhubarb plants, fruit trees, a table and benches, at green house, we have had great years where the garden was fabulous and some not as good.  The year Poppie landed the tree on himself and shattered his leg and spent 3 months on bed rest not so much.  Three years ago we grew two hundred pounds of cucumbers and almost none have grown since.  The garden is ever changing and evolving and we have had no answers  as to why one year he can grow a 107 pound pumpkin and can't grow small ones the next, well there is one but it only weights around 40 pounds, but only one out of all the plants grew a pumpkin.  We have decided it is time to make more amendments to the garden but were unsure how to proceed at this point.

I happened to be at the local hardware store to pick up my jars lids when I noticed on the shelf a ph test kit for gardens.  I bought it and brought it home and we tested the soil, we now know that we need more manure, who would have thought with all we put on it, we need leaves, and we knew we needed sawdust or some more organic matter but now we have a way to go and can effectively help our garden grow.  We have a raised bed garden but when it is a 1/5 of an acre big no one sees it that way.  Poppie has decided that because of all of his disabilities that he wants to add more real raised beds and at least one more green house.  Our garden does grow and grow and change but it is and has always been a work in progress. 

Genesis 3:18-19  18"Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

God has a plan in our lives that we work for our bread.  This life is not meant to be easy or a vacation, life is hard and has many a problem, with ups and down.  God wants us to work and toil in this life.  He sees to our needs but our wants we must work for.  He gives us eternal life if we but believe him and his word.  He gave us his son to believe and if we do we are gifted salvation and ever lasting rest from the toils of earth.  We can go to glory and live with him forever as a gift not of our works but as a gift for having faith and belief of his word.... tomorrow.

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