Gardening at a Distance

 

View near my great grandparents old homestead… A couple of miles away from my parents place.

Last weekend, I went back home for a quick visit. As usual, I couldn’t help but tell them all about my garden and the things I’m growing and how excited I am that this year is so warm and beautiful so early on. My enthusiasm must have been a little contagious, because my Dad gave in and is letting me grow some things at their house. Which seems like a great thing, (and it is!) but I need to choose things that can take care of themselves. Because I live 2 hours away.

I am basically taking back our old garden area bit by bit. The soil was great back when it was a cleared garden, but for the last 15+ years, it has just been grass and weeds. It has well rotted horse manure in it and once you get through the sod layer, the soil is still amazing.

 

Amazing dirt to grow potatoes in!

Taking back the garden from the grass is going to be a battle. Especially from 2 hours away. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I lined the square bed that I dug with some old feed bags and logs to help create a barrier to the grass roots. With enough determination, they will probably get through, but the potatoes will hopefully grow and take over before the grass can make it in the bed again. I would love to have dug a larger area, but doing it all by hand in a limited amount of time was not in my favour. I’m going to take a “bit by bit” approach and do as much as possible when I can go up and visit them.

I have a few prerequisites when choosing what to grow:

  • It needs to be hardy enough to just live off regular rains. Mother Nature will be the only watering these plants will be getting. If it gets really dry and/or my parents get ambitious, then they will water, but I can’t count on it.
  • It needs to be distasteful to the local deer’s pallets. And other animals for that matter.
  • It needs to be fast growing in that it will keep the grass at bay.
  • I need to make sure my dad can’t run it over with the lawn mower.
  • It also needs to be able to survive some frost if we get it, as I will be 2 hours away and can’t cover the plants with little blankets like I can in my backyard.

Given those choices, I will be growing some potatoes for sure. They are typically left alone by deer, they are relatively cold hardy. They should grow fast enough that the grass won’t choke them out. And they can usually survive without being watered by humans.

20140722-104124-38484843.jpg
Corn in 2014

I may also put some corn out, but I’ll wait until after our usual last frost date for them. I think starting them off inside and planting out actual plants will help them survive the deer. When I grew corn a few years ago they did well without much care, so it might be a good thing to try.

I’m tempted to try a few pumpkins as their sprawl may help reduce the grass’ grasp on the ground.

Do you have any suggestions on Maintenance free vegetables I can try? I’m tempted to build an asparagus bed here, but future harvests could be difficult given my distance from my crops. Also, the deer may really enjoy asparagus as much as I do. Anyone out there know if deer or moose like Asparagus?

Perhaps a few sunflowers for my little chickadee friends too.

Maybe some beans? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, Just leave them in the comments below.

I wish I was more into gardening when I was still living with my parents, because there is so much space to work with that I am kicking myself for squandering the opportunity then.


Update: my Mom had some straight-from-the-farmer potatoes that were starting to sprout some eyes, so I plunked them into the ground. I should have gotten a picture of the whole garden area before I drove back home, but it slipped my mind… But I’m sure you know what grass looks like and can use your imagination.  Look at how amazing the dirt is in that photo above!

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