August 25, 2010

Harvesting in the Ozarks

School has finally started, the winds have cooled and the baskets of produce are overflowing.  The past few weeks have been brutally HOT, which caused us to have to water early every morning.  We are ever so grateful for the cooler temps!  To give you an idea of where our garden began this spring, I must start with telling you how much work it takes
to garden in the Ozarks.  Our soil, doesn't seem like soil at all unless you find a rare vain of good dirt.  Most of the ground is red clay and rock.  I marveled at my inlaws yard after they had a Bio Heatpump installed.  The drill machine produced what looked like lava fields of red clay all over their beautiful yard.  We could've packaged it and sold it if we had a mind to do it.  All of this to say, that in order to have a nice loose black soil garden, you must create it.  One cannot simply go out into the yard and begin tilling.  We live on the side of one of the many rolling Ozark mountains, so our first attempt in Ozark soil, at gardening (a few years ago), resulted in a few tiers down the slope.  The results weren't very good regarding tomatoes, but this year the tiers have worked great for potatoes and peppers, much to my joy and amazement.  This spring we decided to start fresh and create a large raised bed area by using concrete blocks and filling with good soil that we had trucked in.  It needed very little amending so we were able to begin planting right away.  We coiled a soaker hose through the rows and then covered it with soil.  The walkways are covered with black plastic so there isn't any weeding (there hasn't been a single weed to pull all summer) and then the plants were surrounded by straw.  Through out this entrie summer I have only needed to turn on the water and walk away.  No standing in the heat and watering carefully to keep the water off the leaves.  I can tell you that the tomatoes are over 8 feet tall and we haven't had much trouble with them except for those terrible hornworms, but even the hornworms have a use......our turkey loves them!  Above is a picture I took of this morning's harvest that consisted of Pink Ponderosa, Striped Cavern, Arkansas Traveler and Yellow Pears, just a few of the many varieties we grow and sell seed from.  We plant only open pollinated organic heirloom seed and use no chemicals or pesticides, no GMO's (genetically modified organism)  are allowed on our property.  We fertilize with only fish emulsion products and save our seed according to the seed saving practices of the Organic Seed Alliance.  You may find our seed at local greenhouses or soon at our new website  There will also be links on this page also.  If you have any questions about our garden and our gardening practices, please feel free to ask them in the comment section :o) 

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