Saturday, March 21, 2020

First Full Season (2017) Recap

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Lao Tzu

The summer of 2017 was my first full season of attempting to grow my own food.  It was one giant experiment as I had never tried growing more than 10 plants at once before nor had I ever had this much space.  I tilled the ground, built my own drip irrigation system, threw a bunch of seeds in the ground, and tried to keep the weeds at bay while the vegetables grew.  Here's what happened:

Before doing anything, this is what the yard looked like (2016):

Splotchy grass yard with playset

Utilities marked and tilling underway (2017):
 I bought a small, electric tiller that works surprisingly well and since it's electric there isn't much maintenance to do on it.

Freshly tilled dirt

Drip irrigation system being built and seeds being planted (April 2017):

Drip irrigation system being installed

Plants are growing (June 2017)!!!:

plants growing

...and growing (End of June 2017):

plants growing taller

First of the harvest: radishes, chard, and beets (End of June 2017):
Yes, I definitely thought the chard was a beet (I still can't tell them apart) which is why I pulled the root of it up, it was delicious nonetheless.

small harvest of radishes, chard, and beets

Kale is so easy to grow, I love it (July 2017):
It's also pretty cold hardy, doesn't need much attention, mostly takes care of itself and tastes great.

Kale growing

Everything is still growing, there are some vegetables among the weeds (Mid-July 2017):

Overview photo showing everything growing taller

...getting taller and taller every day (End of July 2017):

Overview photo showing everything growing even taller

Start of the Squash Harvest (End of July 2017):

an assortment of a dozen squash on a countertop

Potato Harvest (August 2017):
These potatoes were so tasty and flavorful!

two mounds of potatoes on a patio table

Even the broccoli grew (August 2017)!!!
You really have no idea how excited I was that the broccoli grew, I love broccoli!

Broccoli plant growing

The sugar beets grew too (End of August 2017)!!!
Fun fact: Sugar beets were once the main crop grown in Longmont (this town was once full of nothing but farmers), there's even an abandoned sugar beet mill in town where these beets would be turned into table sugar.  As you might expect, these beets are very sweet and tasty!

Farmer man holding a sugar beet

Wheel Barrow O' Squash (End of August 2017):
People didn't believe me when I told them I literally had a wheel barrow full of squash.

Wheel barrow full of squash on patio

...still growing and growing and growing (September 2017):

Urban farm overview showing everything growing taller still

Carrot and Tomato Harvest (Beginning of October 2017):

Patio table full of an assortment of carrots and tomatoes

Kale, Chard, Spinach and Melon Harvest (Beginning of October 2017):

Patio table full of kale, chard, spinach, with a melon

Beets and Tomatoes (Beginning of October 2017):

Patio table full of beets and tomatoes

At the beginning of the season I had no idea if anything I planted would even come to fruition.  I was amazed at how easy it was to get these plants to grow in the soil that had been neglected for who knows how many years.  I couldn't have been more surprised at my bounty from this first year especially when you consider that I really had no idea what I was doing (I still don't).  In the end, I had a ton of fun with it, the food was extremely tasty as well as plentiful and I was more determined than ever to take what I learned, apply it to the next season, do some more experimentation, and see what happens in the 2018 growing season!

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