It’s spring and the garden fever at the cottage is high! With everything going on this year (at the time of this writing, we’re in a Pandemic emergency), we’re focusing on vegetables more than ever.
The health benefits and cost savings are what we’re working toward. But of course, I want my garden to have Farmhouse style, and be easy to take care of!
I’ve included the video tour of our garden start up for you.
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Starting the Vegetable Garden & Ravenous Deer
We purchased our greenhouse/ cold frame off of Amazon a couple of years ago. We added stock tanks for raised beds. We picked these up at Tractor Supply. Links are below.
I have to say that it was a bit of a learning curve to garden this way. We originally went with this set-up for two reasons. I wanted to extend my growing season. We’re in zone 6B. We usually have mild winters with an occasional snow.
But the main reason was to keep the deer from chewing to the ground every last plant!
Permit me to rant for a moment, or just skip this part. I’ll never know you did.
But if you have deer eating your plants, you might relate to my frustration.
The first couple of years that I had a vegetable garden, we put in some wood raised bed gardens. They were located in our very sunny side yard, out in the open. I would just plant various herbs and smelly flowers like marigolds in among the veggies.
This worked like a charm for two years. UNTIL my neighbor started feeding the deer bags and bags (and bags) of corn! Now, I don’t like to get into other people’s business. It’s a free country right?
But honestly, the deer turned into ravenous beasts! My vegetable garden was toast. So was my other neighbor’s Cottage flower garden, that she had nurtured for over a decade!
All this to say, we now have Zombie hoards of deer all around our yard at night. Most days also.
Sometimes when I pull into my driveway, there are twelve (or more) deer just grazing around, where my garden used to be. It would be amusing if they weren’t so destructive!
So we had some six foot high privacy fence installed, which was a pricey option. We added a four foot high, galvanized wire fence across the back, where our yard meets the woods. Not the prettiest option, but definitely more budget friendly. We added Clematis vines at several intervals to eventually cover it.
Then came my greenhouse idea. I wasn’t sure if the deer would jump the shorter fence to get at my beautiful vegetable garden!
I’m happy to report that after two years of the fence up, no deer have attempted to come into out back yard!
So at this point, the greenhouse is only necessary to extend the growing season. We’re adding in wood raised beds behind the fenced area this spring also. I’m back in business as a veggie gardener and I couldn’t be happier about it!
If you’re thinking of getting a garden started, or even expanding the one you have, I can highly recommend stock tanks like we use. We drilled holes in the bottom. Since these are so deep, we added branches, logs and leaves to the bottom half of the container. Then we topped it off with soil and compost.
Be sure that you have a regular watering schedule. Like most containers, these can dry out quickly. I find that the metal container heats up in the sun, adding to the dryness.
Some of you may be a lot cooler than I am and set up an automatic watering system. I collect rainwater for my water cans, and use the hose to water manually, once a day in the spring.
Once summer gets here, I’ll likely need to step it up to twice a day.
Now for the tour. I added some lights into the greenhouse for a little glow in the evenings!
I’ve started so many seeds this spring. Some containers are recycled. I made these from newspaper and they work perfectly!
I like to grow Heirloom vegetable varieties when I can. I’ve had some good success with saving seeds from my mature plants. I plan on doing just that with these new plants.
I’ve planted mostly vegetable seeds. of course I included some flowers and herbs. Summer isn’t complete without them, in my book!
I keep a water sprayer in the greenhouse filled with rain water. It’s handy for a spritz of seedlings with it. There are a few houseplants in here that are transitioning to the outdoor life. They often get a rain water spritz too.
The radishes are already being harvested, by my grandkids! They love to visit the greenhouse, pluck out a radish and eat it.
The lettuce is prolific. This is my first time growing Romaine lettuce. Let me tell you, it doesn’t taste anything like what you buy in the store. Makes you wonder what the heck is in the store?
The Mesclun salad mix is in a large planter pot. We’ve had several delicious salads from this little planting. We cut some leaves off and they just keep growing!
I hope you enjoyed the tour of our container garden. Maybe there is some inspiration here for you to start or expand your own vegetable garden.
Growing your own food can be simple, inexpensive, and so rewarding.
Even if you only have a balcony with some sun, you can do this. All it takes is a bit of effort and creativity.
We’re even tucking edibles into our landscape beds. Why not use every space we can?
If you have any questions, leave it in the comments, email me, or comment on my YouTube channel.
Thanks for visiting Free Range Cottage today. Until next time! Tanya
Tractor Supply stock tanks: