My dear husband is so supportive of my gardening addiction. I think he's a little addicted too because he's always coming up with ideas to make things better and bigger. Really, the garden would not have happened without him hauling dirt, spreading dirt, digging in dirt and pumping water. He still lets me call it my garden though, even though I get the fun part of picking through seed catalogs, watching the seeds sprout, and sticking them in the ground. I think he knows how good it is for me to see things coming to life when it's still cold and gray outside.
Here's a picture of his hard work.
I thought I'd share how I garden in this climate. I'm still experimenting with different things. I suppose my garden will always be a work in progress. This year my husband decided to build me a hoop house. We found some plans that called for 1" pvc. It looked great. It was nice and warm inside, even with the snow outside.
But then we had some very heavy snow, followed by some very strong winds, followed by more snow and more wind. The hoop house collapsed. Several times. I'm sad about that.. I really wanted it to work. We learned that 2" pipe is better in this climate and that the weak points are where the connectors are located. A complete 20' long 2" diameter pipe would have probably stayed standing. Live and learn I guess. We have lots of ideas for a new, improved hoop house someday.
A few weeks ago, I abandoned the hoop house idea and reconfigured the pieces into smaller tunnels.
Please ignore the mess. I'm still working on other projects with the remaining pieces. On the left, you have the "tomato house" with some squash and the eggplant that my three year old planted. I can't believe it survived this long. In the middle, under the cloth cover, sweet corn just started coming up. It's late, I hope it makes it. On the left is the "cucumber house", also with a few squash. We'll see how this works out.
And here is the garden in all it's glory. I love reading about and seeing pictures of beautiful kitchen gardens and pottagers. Mine will probably never look like that. I'm just trying to get these plants to survive. I use plastic covers, agribon row covers, wall-o-waters, even tires to keep my plants warm.
The black metal frame thing in the back is the melon house, but my daughter's cantaloupe just isn't going to make it. The funny looking blanket in the middle is more corn. You can't really see the potatoes or salad beds, but they are there behind the corn. The long low tunnel has just about everything in it. Summer squash, tomatoes, cucumber, and beans. They are doing quite well under there. To the left, inside the tire chunks, is a pumpkin and a butternut squash. I got that idea from the deliberate agrarian blog. We'll see how it works. I built a pea tower out of willow sticks, but only three peas came up. However, the willow branches have come to life. They all have leaves.
Many of my neighbors thing I'm crazy for trying so hard to garden at this altitude. Really, we can drive an hour or so and buy all the produce we could want. Why am I so determined? I don't know. I just feel the need to learn how to grow my own food. And seeing the first blossom on the "mystery squash" (it came up next to a tomato seedling-no clue what it is, but it's doing great) somehow makes it all worth it.