Friends’ and Clients’ Gardens: My Brother’s Garden
“I prepared my bed, just as you instructed when we discussed preparing my garden. The soil was in pretty good shape already so I simply raked-out compost I prepared over the winter and then spread straw on top of that to keep down the weeds. When I planted my vegetables, I sprinkled the bunny and alpaca manure you provided me. The tomatoes were about a foot high when I planted them and the cantaloupe was a volunteer. For years, I broke my back tilling and augmenting the soil and I never got much output from my garden. I now have a huge bounty of vegetables from my small plot, thanks to your help!”
This was written (unsolicited) by my brother E.
My brother has been a great gardener for just a couple years less than me, mostly owing to the fact that I have been on the earth for slightly longer. We all (my brother, sister and I) grew up outdoors around our father and the gardens he tended in our yard. Us kids mostly just played nearby while our father worked his gardens and turned his compost, but we were always neck and neck and neck for first taste when the time came to pull something out of the ground or off of the plant. We may not have cared for the store bought peas we had to eat off the plate before we could have dessert, but if the vegetable came from my father’s garden we loved to eat it raw off of his knife blade at the harvest, and how ever it was prepared for our dinner later.
My brother and his wife did some apartment dwelling, and for a while rented a house in Seattle, but once their children were on the way my they moved east to be closer to family, acquired a piece of land in Zone 7b near the Chesapeake Bay and began growing food shortly thereafter. Their children are growing up the way we did, playing around the garden, digging earthworms, and eating lots of fresh home grown vegetables.
My brother has an amazing resource for leaves. There are deciduous trees all over his property. My brother his wife and kids are all mad composters, no kitchen vegetable or coffee ground goes to waste at that house. When we visit there I bring a bag or box of manure which he often adds to his compost, or to his gardens during his preparations for new crops. When we head out for home we take as many bags of leaves as we can fit in the van. My brother depends heavily on his leaf compost which is very rich black and denser than mine. These days he grows in the no till no dig way.
Like me he always did pretty well with the gardens he turned, but he is having far better results in the garden by leaving the soil alone, saving his back, and just piling on his home made compost, leaves and straw.
My brother is my northern connection for summer vegetables, and I am his connection for summer vegetables in the winter.
Check out the story about how he took a Florida tree frog home to Maryland in a bag of fresh home grown lettuce, and what happened to Lettuce the Frog.