How Does Our Garden Grow?
Our property is ideally suited for seed production. Ten acres in total, it is heavily treed - conifers rim the entire property, there's a two-acre wood at the back and trees & shrubs dot the remaining acreage. This has enabled us to create a dozen seed-beds scattered about the place. Tucked in amongst the trees, shrubs and wildflowers, they enable the isolation of seed varieties from each other so as to keep them from cross-pollinating. This has worked well for us for a number of years, but as our need for larger quantities of seed has increased, we've run out of pockets to plant. We love and honour the trees but they do make it a challenge to find enough large, full sun space.
Some of our raised seed beds with the perennial herb garden in the background.
Our Elfin Glade – a carpet of ferns flourishes beneath the protective canopy of the trees. (I'm quite sure this is where the faeries live.)
What to do? Use someone else's land! The opportunity came up this year to lease two acres of the neighbouring farm. Unused except for grazing for the last 40 years, it was able to be certified organic and positions us to be able to produce much more of our own seed. And, boy, does it have sun! With hardly a tree in sight, it is a stark contrast to our little bio-diverse nature sanctuary, but the space is much appreciated.
Into the Woods - The gate we made to join the two properties runs through our two-acre woods. This is looking into it from the neighbouring farm.
We're using it this year to grow tomato and bean crops, interspersed with lots of other veggies for our own home use. Squash and sunflowers are being planted to distract pollinators with their large, beautiful flowers.
The east end of the main garden next door – it's 500 ft. long. We've installed trellises for our tomato plants around the perimeter; beans are planted down the middle. This is the first time we've tried trellising our tomatoes - usually we just let them grow. We're interested in observing any differences in productivity and plant health. Note the mud – like our land, this field has a high water table and the recent heavy rains have had a significant impact. Dan keeps trenching it but it makes for tough slogging to work in it right now.
We hope that the combination of the two properties will meet our seed-production needs for the foreseeable future!