Home Farming Movement at Our Little House

Spring arrived at Our Little House last week and just in time to put me in the mood for gardening.

A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing a television commercial for the “Home Farming Movement,” but I kept forgetting to look at the website, until this weekend.

Turns out, it is a marketing gimmick by Triscuit crackers, but the site still has some very useful information and they have declared today Home Farming Day.

We have very poor, rocky soil on the side of this mountain, which means we would either have to do a raised bed veggie garden or container garden here.

After failing miserably at container gardening two years ago, we decided to go in with our friends and neighbors last year, who allowed us some space in their huge garden at the top of the mountain.

The problem was that I sometimes could not get up there as soon as things ripened and although it was just a little more than two miles away, still proved very inconvenient. It would be even moreso this year as I still do not have my Baby Blazer fixed from last year’s crash.

So, after going to the Home Farming Movement website, I decided to give container gardening another shot. I have had luck the past two years using two containers that came with one of those upside down tomato kits Dale bought for me one Mother’s Day.

I spent part of this weekend collecting all of my containers and emptying them of some of the old soil that may not have been conducive to my first effort.

The next step will be purchasing more soil, along with some tomato, peppers, lettuce, radishes and green onion plants and seeds. Some of these probably should have been planted already, but I think it is still early enough for the spring crops.

They are predicting another unusually cold spell for this coming weekend, so I decided to wait one more week to plant.

Our local farmer’s market is battling with the government over parking spaces on the square and rules governing non-edible food items, but it did open this past weekend. With any luck, my containers will produce some great stuff this summer and my buying at the local health food grocery and farmers market will be limited.

Have you started planning your garden yet? Do you plant in the ground, raised beds or container?

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22 Responses

  1. book says:

    Thank you for your age and I discovered recently in search of information about this topic so far is the best.

  2. For me, the hardest part of container gardening is keeping the soil moist. Because they’re above ground they dry out easily and all it takes is one hot day to really do a number on your plants. I read somewhere about tucking some old towels/rags in the base of your planter. The theory is that the cloth will absorb moisture and hold it longer than the soil. Don’t know if it works or not, but worth a try!

    Also, I think this is the link Roxanne is referring to: http://realfooddudes.blogspot.com/2011/02/straw-bale-gardening-part-1-setup.html

  3. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    Spring has finally arrived here in Greece too (usually we’d be sweltering by now but this year has been cold). I just started seeding my summer crops (late as usual). This year I’ll have over 70 tomato plants including two new varieties that I’m eager to try. We’ve enlarged our veggie patch and so can grow more stuff this year… maybe Okra and string beans too?

    Our beds are semi raised: terraced off a slope with stone built retaining walls.

    The only thing container like that we will be trying is to grow potatoes in a sack. The theory is to add soil as the plant grows and hopefully one ends up with a big sack full of potatoes!

  4. Alexandra says:

    I have a garden, with improved soil over the regular sand of Cape Cod, but find it harder and harder to garden extensively as I get older. We do plant potatoes every year, because my husband loves them so. Can you compost in your area? That’s a good way to improve soil.

    • kerri says:

      My aunt places compost over the soil here in raised beds. Our soil really isn’t soil at all, but a mixture of rock and red clay. Good luck with that garden, Alexandra. Fresh potatoes are wonderful.

  5. Frugal Kiwi says:

    My dad who lives in the foothills of the Smokies has gone fully to container gardening. The shale on the is mountain isn’t good for growing much and carting soil up the mountain isn’t worth is for him anymore.

    Here in NZ I’ve got a regular in ground garden, a glass house and will be adding some raised beds later in the year.

    • kerri says:

      You’re my hero for all things done on the home front, Frugal! 🙂 Let us know how your dad’s container garden does in the Smokies this year!

  6. I have NOT planned my garden yet. Even with the small greenhouse, it’s still WAY to cold here on the mtn. I use both containers and double-decker beds in the greenhouse, loosely based on the square-foot gardening method.

    We might eventually add raised beds outside, but this year I might try squash and a couple things planted in bales of straw. I saw a post about it on Attainable Sustainable, but now I cannot find it to link.

    • kerri says:

      Oh, please let us know how it goes if you try the straw gardening, Roxanne. I’ve heard many good things about it.

      • Monty says:

        My wife and I have been doing straw bale gardening for the last 3 yrs. It is the easiest way to plant when your soil is poor. We use raised beds sized to fit the bales, so it’s easy every year to replace the old bales with the new ones. We leave the bales planted in the prior year in place and remove the dead plants after harvest and allow the bales to overwinter. We then in the spring remove the old decomposed bales and use it for mulch around the raised beds and shrubs. We prep the new bales and plant 10 days after. We have used both methods of prepping(fertilizing with store bought pellets and more organically with chicken manure, etc) If need more info or would like to see some pics just let me know, glad to share.

        • kerri says:

          Thanks for the info, Monty. What kinds of things do you plant in straw? Do some crops work better than others?

          • Monty says:

            We’ve had great success with tomatoes and squash. Peppers, cukes and gourds did so-so but I’m not sure if is was because they didn’t get enough sun or just don’t do as well in the bales. Going to try again this year in a sunnier location. I will say once the bales are saturated you only have to water once a week with a gallon of water around the base of each the plants. I was amazed that our plants never even wilted even on the hottest day or from not being watered more that weekly.

            I think that is the biggest advantage over container gardening– which is how we did it for years. The containers(we used 5 gallon sheet rock buckets)had to be watered daily because the soil dries out very quickly in them. Another disadvantage was not being able to produce enough composted dirt to go in the pots every year. We always had to buy some to amend and plant yearly. If you all want to see some pics I’ll give you my wife’s blog- we have pics up from the last couple of years on it.

            The bales run at our local farmer’s supply for $4.75 and you can get 2 tomatoes per bale.

            Give it try, you’ll be sold!

          • kerri says:

            Thanks again, Monty! Yes, please post a link to your wife’s blog. I’m very interested in looking at the photos!

          • Monty says:

            Here you go http://simplelifesforme.blogspot.com Check out years past pictures as we are just starting to ready the bales for this year. Leave us a comment if you need any more info. Good Luck!

  7. Margo says:

    Wow Kerri! I didn’t know you could grow container Beagles! That’s awesome! 🙂

    This year is my first attempt at “real” gardening. With the help of a local volunteer group (The Green Corn Project), I was able to put in a 4 x 12 foot double dug bed. After 2 1/2 weeks everything is growing like crazy. Seems like my biggest problem is going to be keeping it watered. . .we’ve already got restrictions on watering! I just love the extended growing season in south Texas!

    • Kerri says:

      Yes, Margo, growing container Beagles is a real fad here! 🙂 This is Buddy, our foster from last year. He got tired of sitting on the deck, so decided to curl up in one of my pots. Good thing is was before I planted last year!
      Oh, water restrictions, good luck with that. Good to hear you’re already in the gardening full swing mode!

  8. I have a raised bed and I love it. I still have some issues with some vegetables that I need to study up on, but I did get good tomatoes, lettuce and radishes last year.

    We had a freeze last night so planting may not take place here until May.

  9. kerri says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets mixed results from container gardening. I’m really going to concentrate on sending good mojo to both of our gardens this year, Olivia! 🙂

  10. Olivia says:

    I have always planted in the ground but would LOVE raised beds. Two years ago, when I did not have the new garden ready, I did container gardening and successfully grew lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, green beans, yellow beans and tomatoes, and herbs. Everything did brilliantly except the tomatoes – I don’t know what happened there because I am usually smothered in tomatoes. Last year I had the new garden – put some lettuce and spinach and herbs in containers and none of them did well!! The garden did well, however.

    Go figure. I guess I’ll just stick with the garden this year . . .although we won’t be planting around here for another month and a half or so.