The first year that I asked for a bigger garden, in my head I had planned another 20′ x 20′ plot of ground to grow a few more things for my family. My husband had other ideas. He figured that if he was going to take the time to break the ground he might as well make it worth the effort. That is how I got my first acre garden.
Now most people, myself included, cannot visualize an acre. Picture the average lot in town, house included. Multiply by three. That is just shy of an acre. When I first looked at what my husband had done I wanted to cry. There was no way that I could plant even a fraction of what he dug up, let alone weed, water, and pick it all. But it was there and I was determined to use it. So off to the store we went to look at seeds and plants.
At this point I had planted very few things; tomatoes, beans, carrots, a few cucumbers. I now had a chance to plant anything and everything that our limited growing season can produce. I picked out squash, pumpkins, cabbage, alien looking things called kohlrabi, corn, melons, summer squash, onions. The list goes on and on. It took days to get it all in the ground. Then I waited. And waited. Shoot, now I forgot what I planted and where I planted it. Oops! That first year was a year of surprises. I’d walk through the garden and find something that I had forgotten about and some things that I didn’t even remember planting at all. Did I mention that I wasn’t used to planting a large garden? Do you know how many butternut squash you get from 15 plants? The average person would probably realize that it’s more than one family can go through. Not me. I’m a little dense sometimes. I now had an abundance of produce. So much that I couldn’t even pawn it all off on extended family and friends. What would I do with it all next year? Most people would downsize the garden. Not us. Which leads us to the farmers market.
Sitting in the first meeting I was nervous. Did I have enough to be a market producer? Would I fit in with the other vendors? Would my crop grow this year? I quickly relaxed after meeting the other vendors. Hearing how they had grown over the years and how some had just stayed small. It was a variety of people old, young, middle aged, from town, farmers, and a few that didn’t garden at all but just sold crafts. The first year of market was a time of learning. What people want and how much, costs and table arrangement. How to fit in 40 hours at a normal job and then another 40 hours for my garden and market. It was exhausting but rewarding.
The following year started out the same. Then my husband and I decided that it was time to quit the stable 40 hours with benefits job and go full time into the unpredictable world dictated by weather, bugs, and market fluctuations. I was able to do more home preserving, weed a bit more, and spend a little more time with my kids. It was the balance of work and home that I had been missing the past year. Now my children can come with me wherever I go. This is not always seen as a plus by them but we’ll save that for another day. I was also introduced that year to some people who did a CSA. It sounded like a good fit for me so here I am.
This year we will break another acre of ground and try some no till methods on another 1/4 acre. Brining my garden to 2 1/4 acres. I look back and am amazed at how far I’ve come. I look forward and get a little anxious about how far I still have to go.