The East Garden

East Garden


This is my east garden which, in 2010, was a fallow hay-field with miserable pale brown soil that grew daisies and stunted grass. Since them I’ve added tons of moldy rotten hay, biomass from vetch and rye cover crops, and bedding with manure from my sheep sheds. The soil is still stony but the texture has become crumbly and the color much darker, sure signs of increased organic matter.

The view in the picture is looking south at the winter squash trellis and the Painted Mountain Corn. To right of the corn is a strip of yellow mustard, buckwheat and vetch planted to feed pollinating insects. In the foreground and out of focus are other crops: more squash on the right, shell and drying beans, tomatillos, mixed varieties of beets, amaranth, and Zebulon sunflowers.

The garlic has been harvested and in their place I have transplanted most of the broccoli and cauliflower, about 75 plants so far, that I started earlier. Once the onions are harvested I will be transplanting more broccoli and cauliflower and some small cabbages that might do better if they had some room. There is also a potato patch about 100 feet long by 12 feet wide and strip of Kamut wheat. Along the east side of the garden is a wide strip of vetch planted for the bumblebees and other pollinators and as a larval food plant for the clouded sulfur butterfly (Colias philodice) and the alfalfa butterfly (C. eurytheme).

Everything is growing wildly this summer from a combination of warm weather, rain, and soil improved by organic methods. Just today silks and pollen appeared on some of the Painted Mountain Corn only fifty-four days since planting.

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