49 articles in category Garden / Subscribe

If you would have told me several years ago that the chicken field would become our main garden area, I probably would have laughed. The pallet garden was the first large space we planted and it was done with a boat load of wood chip mulch. While that is beginning to break down into some good soil four years later, it still has a ways to go. The chicken field, on the other hand, has had a lot more organic matter mixed in over the years and now contains some of our best garden soil.

Fava Beans

1-5-17-2016 198

About half of the chicken field is now being taken up by fava beans. They were planted last fall, overwintered well, and are producing beans now.

1-5-17-2016 178

Stewart is around 5’11” as a height comparison. We’ll pick from these for the next couple of weeks and then this area will, Lord willing, be planted with sweet potatoes.


1-5-17-2016 203

We have two areas in which cilantro is planted plus more within the fava beans. A good portion of this cilantro was self-seeded from last fall and survived the winter here.

1-5-17-2016 182

Needless to say we’re going to be trying to save seed from this batch.

1-5-17-2016 180

Remember when Annie planted tomatillo starts? Well, this bed is doing very well and these pictures are out of date as just yesterday the plants seemed about twice as large with small tomatillo papers hanging from the plants.

Green Beans  1-5-17-2016 183

The boys each requested a spot in the chicken field to plant. Beans were most needful so we gave Abram a bed big enough for a double row and a package of Kentucky Wonder green beans and sent him on his way.

1-5-17-2016 184

This is what they look like now, except in real life they are nearly twice as big and are flowering. Note the spot where he ran out of seed and decided it wasn’t important enough to mention. :)

Sunflowers and Asparagus Beans

1-5-17-2016 187

Elijah’s bed is a long row of yard-long asparagus beans planted with sunflowers to use as a living trellis.   The beans are now climbing upward but not all of the sunflowers are strategically placed for bean climbing. So I hear Elijah is working on some cedar trellises today.

Summer Squash

1-5-17-2016 201

The final element of the chicken field is a half-dozen or so summer squash plants. These are also now at least twice as big as the picture. I really ought to get you some up to date photos but it rained buckets again last night so I suspect even yesterday’s garden is not today’s.


Back in the fall, after the intensity of summer, we started to work in the garden again. Generally August and September are survival months, moving through the hottest of days before we can begin thinking of fall gardening again.

So once October and November rolled around we were ready to get back to it. This last fall we planted garlic, as we do most years. This time we did several long rows in the chicken field. We didn’t have seed garlic left from last year’s harvest and just ended up picking up some grocery store garlic. This particular variety produced garlic scapes which we also harvested for various dishes before we picked the garlic bulbs themselves.


One day, among a string of rainy days, the garlic was discovered to be fairly large. We were expecting a lot more rain and so we decided to pull it before it could get water-logged. Stewart was working and I was busy inside with the little ones so we put Abram to the task.


He began to lug bucket after bucket brimming with garlic and just a bit of soil into the house. After a while it became evident that there was more garlic than I had expected. As Abram brought in his bucket loads, we began to spread it out on the kitchen floor as we awaited a more permanent space to be decided upon.


Eventually a third of the kitchen floor was covered in garlic several heads deep. What a blessing! We still have some in the pallet garden from seed given to us by a neighbor. That harvest will, Lord willing, come a little later.

We’ve started to eat this batch of garlic and Stewart said that raw it may be the most pungent he’s tasted. I’ve been grating it into salads and other dishes and of course cook with it continuously. Besides all of the general eating, I have plans to ferment some and then we’ll try to save some for seed if we can.


Growing garlic always reminds me that the increase is given by the Lord. So many crops we have tried and failed at and not without a fair amount of effort. And then we put garlic in the ground, the Lord brings the rain, and multiplies a single small clove into a large head of goodness.

In terms of the garden, once the garlic was pulled, the boys each planted a section of beans. I believe two of the rows are dedicated to good old green beans and the third is climbing asparagus beans with sunflowers planted as a living trellis. Golly, I love this process.

What’s happening in your garden?