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How We Garden—Preparing Terrace Gardens

These last few weeks we’ve really caught Spring Fever!

Daffodils
Mini daffodils in our flower bed along the driveway

Daffodils,

Crocuses,

Tiny green shoots poking up,

And even the green briars twisting around on the hills,

All of these and more signal the arrival of that glorious time of the year called Spring!

“Hey, Mommy–can I dig up some of your flowers?

Say WHAT? “The ones you’re not using?”
Me: 😳

Yes, it seems that everyone around Ridge Haven has caught the gardening bug, even if that means robbing Mom of some of her flowers!

But no worries! I can enjoy my flowers here or there, so go ahead and dig them up, if you want to, Adam!

Gardening on Steep Slopes

At Ridge Haven Homestead, we own 26 acres of 99% rocky, wooded hills! The other 1% is the flat land we have carved out for our house.

Obviously, this provides some serious challenges for gardening.

Yet, we are determined to garden anyway!

So…one of our first projects after purchasing our acres was to create garden terraces. We used a track hoe to carve out the terraces, three very large strips on the side of one of our hills.

In the busyness of this homestead, those garden terraces have patiently waited, filling up with thorns and briars, while we worked on other areas. Until now.

Not to worry–my husband owns a skid steer!

Skid steer
Greg loading the leaves!

This is one of those times when I am very grateful that Greg runs his own tree business, complete with tons (see what I did there? 😉) of heavy equipment. What would be almost impossibly daunting, even with a great rototiller, which we do own, becomes no problemo with a skid steer, big ol’ dump truck, and bucket truck. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have connections with the leaf disposal crews in town, too, to get free leaves for the garden! Sweet! 👏🏼

Skid steer

Check out the leaf pile!

Skid steer

Dump truck

I drove this load!

Greg hauled truckloads of last year’s leaves up to our hill. And I hauled one load too! 👏🏼 While I can’t say that that was a completely seamless process (try getting stuck up to your axles in mud at 10:30 pm), we did end up with lots of good, rich leaf mulch. Enough to spread 1-2 feet over all the garden beds.

Working together to get unstuck

Greg used the skid steer to smooth out, fluff up (ok–aerate), and level the terraces, then he spread the leaf mulch. In these terraces, we will plant potatoes, corn, and veggies that take up a lot of space. We have some other small terrace beds for things like onions, greens, and I don’t know what else yet.

I have to say that we are excited about our terraces!

Here’s a sneak peak of the large terraces, not yet planted! Two out of three are mostly ready, and once we add some gypsum, which we picked up yesterday, they will be good to go!

Every step feels like progress! 🦶

Little by little, inch by inch! 🐛

The Boys and their Terrace Gardens

Andrew and Adam have worked diligently to create their personal terrace gardens. I’ve been impressed with their zeal for preparing the ground, adding soil amendments, and planting their gardens. So far, they’ve just put in some onions (and those borrowed flowers), but the ground is ready.

Terrace garden

Adam’s terrace garden
Garden terraces

Garden terraces that the boys leveled

Garden terrace

Terrace with onions planted

This week, we will hopefully put out potatoes in the large terraces. Locals swear by planting potatoes on St Patrick’s Day–and who am I to argue with a local farmer? ☘️ So…weather permitting, that’s our goal–taters on St Paddy’s Day! We have 50 lb each of Yukon Gold and Pontiac Red seed potatoes ready to go. 🥔

Blueberries, blackberries!

I’m happy to report that our blueberries are looking good this year! The Pink Lemonade variety are thriving the most so far, and it looks like we will get a little harvest. This will be our first real harvest. The other varieties haven’t all leafed out yet. It’s so hard to wait–we went from a blueberry farm of around 100 thriving bushes to here, starting over again! We will have to wait several more years to get a really good harvest, but every year they grow just a little bit more! There’s nothing like a freezer full of berries to make a girl feel rich! 🥧

Pink Lemonade Blueberry buds

Pink Lemonade Blueberry buds

An unexpected blessing this week is: blackberries! A co-worker is thinning her patch of thornless blackberries, so we win again! My mom used to make us go pick wild blackberries in the summer. It was a traumatic experience for me, as I was terrified of Japanese beetles. And those thorns! But…eating warm blackberry cobbler kind of made all of that trauma worth it–almost! But you see, I haven’t forgotten those days! I’m so glad for thornless berries! Now to do something about those horrid beetles! 🪲

And our wild huckleberries are just about to burst out into leaves too! 👏🏼

So…

Here we are, gardening again after dark! Anything to make the best use of our limited time!

I’m sure we aren’t the only ones hit with the Spring Fever Bug.

How about you?

What’s going on in your garden?

Just remember, whether it’s a basil plant on the patio or a big field of corn, growing your own just makes it taste better!

Dandelion

Our big dandelion

2 Replies

  1. Wow, what an incredible project. I have a little bit of hillside near my home that we are slowly terracing. I’m going to quit whining now. 🙂

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