Painted Sky Farm
Painted Sky Farm
The Country Farm Garden
Owning considerable land would appear to make producing one's own food a relatively simple matter.
However, doing so in the country is somewhat more difficult than having a small garden in the city.
For one thing there is the increased problem with weeds, garden pests and disease.
In the country weed seeds abound by the millions. Whereas in the city they are much more under control.
Also using natural manures as fertilizer, actually plants undigested weed seeds in the garden.
There is a similar problem with garden pests. In the city with lawns maintained, and so much land consumed by buildings and pavement, garden pests are kept to a minimum. Additionally, many municipalities have programs to spray trees for such pests. The city gardener indirectly benefits greatly from such spraying.
The same is true of other problems such as fungus and mildew.
Then there is the increased population of animal damage caused by mice, rabbits, squirrels, racoons and possums.
The racoon will monitor a corn crop and destroy a stand of sweet corn at the exact time it is ready to be harvested.
Another issue in the country is there is not the “warmth and shelter” of the city to moderate spring and autumn temperatures. A late unexpected frost in spring can destroy an early setting of tomato plants.
Once a garden becomes large enough to totally supply a household instead of supplementing its food supply, all these problems become more difficult to deal with.
Supply of adequate water becomes another critical issue.
Now the garden area must be prepared. The space is too big to prepare by hand,
and small enough to make maneuvering tractor pulled implements difficult.
Perennials such as fruit trees and grape vines need constant attention.
Annual crops require planning and advance preparation.
Some crops are planted directly in the garden. This must be done at the right time.
Seeds are sometimes saved from last years crop and others must be purchased.
Many crops are started from seeds indoors or purchased as young plants.
Doing so ensures a higher success rate as well as lengthens the growing season.
The garden must be laid out based on things like soil condition, daily sun exposure,
and need for moisture. Also, certain plants are known as companion plants and should be planted near each other. Others have a “dislike” for each other.
In addition to fertilizer, lime needs to be used to control PH levels.
We also use ashes from our wood burning stove to increase the PH level.
Manures produced by our chickens, goats and other animals are used.
Additionally, composted hay gathered from our winter cattle feed area is used.
This not only contains the composted hay, but large amount of cattle manure.
We are constantly seeing the ground level of our garden area rising.
During the growing season a garden requires constant attention.
Weeding, spraying, watering and harvesting all must be done with diligence.
Once crops begin to be harvested, they must be dealt with.
First choice is to consume them fresh.
When supply is greater than can be immediately consumed,
they must be processed either by canning, drying or freezing.
Some crops can be stored in our root cellar fresh, although we have had limited success with this due to temperature and humidity requirements not easily maintained.
This calls for organization and planning. It is no bargain to process food one will never eat.
Once enough is processed for the year, crops are either given away of used as animal feed.
The videos on this page will show much of the activities described above.