Making the Garden Bigger – Again!

        Several years ago, I told my husband that my vegetable garden was too big and too much work and that I wanted to make it smaller.  A few weeks later he asked if I thought I could grow enough vegetables and fruits to keep us alive throughout the coming year if necessary.  So, of course we made the garden bigger.  Three years later we moved.  We made my new garden much smaller than the old one.  But every year since, I’ve expanded it, and next year it’s going to be half again as big as it is this year. 

        My garden is located a half-mile from home in the middle of an unmown field.  My dad is kind enough to mow the drive to the garden and a couple wide swaths around it to keep the weeds from encroaching on it. 

        The garden is fenced because deer, rabbits, ground hogs and other critters are problems.  Every time the garden is expanded, the fence along the south end needs to be straightened out along one of the new sides or the other.  The entire fence is a hodge-podge of old snow fence, chain-link, chicken wire, wood-framed wire mesh, and plastic mesh. The fence posts are just as varied.  You might think from the description that it doesn’t look very pretty with all the variety, but it works and looks just fine when the vegetables and flowers are abundant in summer. 

        To expand into the new area, I first scythed down the tall weeds and cut some small shrubs flush with the ground.  Then I placed big sheets of overlapping cardboard over the weeds and weighted them down with cinder blocks, bricks and gallon jugs full of water.  The cardboard will smother the weeds and will eventually disintegrate into the soil.  You would be correct in thinking that this stage doesn’t look pretty at all!

        The next step, still to be done this fall, is to cover the cardboard with shredded leaves and grass clippings that my neighbor kindly provides. 

        I’m trying to expand the garden without spending any money on the project.  I have a small pile of soil that I will spread over the leaves but not nearly enough so I’ll be on the lookout for more.  I don’t yet have a definite plan for the additional fencing that I need but it’s looking like it will be a mishmash of fencing types just like the current fence.  I need some cinder blocks or bricks to edge raised beds because the new part of the garden is a low spot in the field and they will be under water after heavy rains unless they are raised.  I need wood chips or something else for the paths between the beds.

        Lots of things have yet to fall into place but from past experience, I am confident that all the missing pieces will somehow show up before it’s time to plant next spring!

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