I harvested the last of this year’s vegetables from the garden last weekend. This final harvest consisted of a couple of overgrown scallions and a patch of lettuce, all of which has been cleaned and stored in the refrigerator.
The last of the tomatoes are ripening on the vines hanging in the garage.
The previous summer’s vegetable garden was kind of pathetic. The area had been covered with grass when we bought the property in November 2009. It was spring before we were able to work in the yard and prepare a small garden plot by removing the sod and working a little compost into our poor quality soil.
Ideally, raised beds filled with good garden soil would have been a better choice to produce a higher yield of vegetables, but I wasn’t willing to spend that much money. We had some nice spring salads, a few tomatoes, and a handful of zucchini.
Since our chickens reside in a moveable coop, they were moved around the garden area all winter. We were also able to easily expand the garden area, since chickens are really good at eliminating grass.
What a difference this made to our vegetable yield!
Having a bit bigger garden helped too, but the yield per square foot of ground was so much better than the previous year, even with our poor weather this year.
We’re ending the season as we began with delicious fresh salads. In between we’ve enjoyed sugar snap peas, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, green onions, acorn squash and pumpkins. There are several quarts of green beans in the freezer along with homemade pumpkin puree measured and stored in recipe-size amounts. And there’s a basket of sweet acorn squash keeping cool in the garage.
The chickens were moved to the garden area last weekend, but this year they won’t be moved around. Fred fenced in the entire garden area so that the chickens will have the run of the area for the next few months. With our rainy winters this will be easier than pushing the coop through the mud every week. By Spring, the ground should be ready to grow more food.
I love growing fresh vegetables, and it is so satisfying to serve food that my family has raised. But it's a lot of work. Some people enjoy planting a fall/winter garden, but I’m ready for a break.