|Peppers and Tomatoes at the Bethlehem House|
|Bread for the Farmers Market|
Speaking of the online farmers market, now is a great time to become a member if you aren't already (conway.locallygrown.net - CLG). Currently, you can still get your fill of summer greens, pork/beef, coffee, baked goods, and you can purchase transplants for your own garden beds! Soon, there will be a plethora of summer fair that you definitely do not want to miss out on! Personally, I can't wait for the fruit because it means I can add fruit pies to my sales list. ;)
I definitely recommend starting your own garden this year, whether you have had one in the past or not. I've read several books lately touting just how much produce you can grow in small garden plots. I plan to extensively record my production this year so I can have a first hand account for you all. In the interim, I suggest visiting the Faulkner County Library, which has an extensive collection of books on gardening. My recent favorite is "Mini-Farming; Self-sufficiency on 1/4 Acre" by Brett Markham. He lays out the numbers for you and proves that you can replace one spouses income with farming on your own land. Considering how agricultural Arkansas is, I can imagine that this would be quite feasible for anyone who is interested. Especially if you really invest in the small things, like utilizing the free soil tests that the Ext. Services offers to find out what your soil needs to be at optimum nutrient levels. The results of this test even tell you organic options for correcting your soil.
|Wayne breaking ground on our large plot.|
|The large plot now.|
|Our raised backyard bed, so excited for garlic!|
One tomato plant can produce 10-15 pounds of fruit or more per season (currently only $3 for seedlings from CLG).
A 10-ft row of beans produces about 5 pounds of fruit (trellising will help you save a lot of space!).
A 10-ft row of cucumbers produces 8 to 10 pounds of fruit (trellising also necessary).
A 10-ft row of lettuce produces 5 to 10 pounds (lettuce grows better in blocks though and can be grown closer together if you don't mind slightly smaller plants).
A 10-ft row of onions produces 10 to 15 pounds of bulbs (walking onions are a perennial plant that I recommend you invest in. You can eat the bulbs or the greens and they multiply exponentially.)
A 10-ft row of peppers produces 2 to 8 pounds of fruit (in my experience, you can get much more than this).
A 10-ft row of squash produces 20 to 80 pounds of fruit (if you can be diligent about killing those pesky squash bugs).
I feel like these statistics are actually a little low for Arkansas conditions, but they are nonetheless encouraging. Think of all the money you can save by growing your own food. Plus, you will encourage the growth of the local wildlife, including birds and bees. The best part of growing your own food is the ability to pick the ripest fruits (the most nutritious) and know exactly what went into the growing process. If that's not something to feel good about, I don't know what is.
|One of the beds at the Teaching Garden.|