Friday, May 15, 2009

Hoping to Reap What I Sow

(credit goes to my husband, Mike for coming up with the title of today's post ;) )

Oh, how I love spring! Everything is turning such an incredible shade of green, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and there is so much work to be done outdoors in the wonderful fresh air! Every year, I've tried planting a garden and some have gone better than others. In general, I seem to learn a little more and do a little better each year. This year, I'm trying a few new things, and have received some huge blessings, and at least so far, I've never seen such beautiful gardens in my yard, ever! God is so good!

First, a friend told me recently about "lasagna gardening". She said she did it last year and was so pleased at what a lovely garden she got out of it. You start by putting down a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard on the ground. (We had plenty of cardboard so that's what I used.) You soak it really really well. Then layer your dirt, manure, compost over the top in raised beds. The cardboard decomposes, letting the roots of the plants through, but not before it's killed off all the weeds and grass that were underneath! Pretty cool! The boys helped me make three beds for vegetables. Tomatoes and sweet peppers are in the first, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, hot peppers, and zucchini are in the second, and the third has pumpkins and beans and peas (by the stick teepees). The tomato cages are here and there to give a place to clothespin a tarp to when needed for occassional cold nights here in Wisconsin. All those beautiful plants were my mother's day presents!!

Then, Mike bought a rototiller for me a few weekends ago. He taught me how to use it and let me do most of it myself! (yes, in a dress! LOL) The boys helped me stake the lines and rake it into furrows. The girls and I planted onions, potatoes, two kinds of sweet corn, and wheat. (The wheat is mostly an experiment. I want to try going through the whole process of growing, harvesting, threshing, grinding, all the way to bread.)

We have many areas on our little farm that we've named. This area, (basically a circle made by four large trees bordered by the woods at the back) we call "the secret garden". ;) As the trees fill out, it'll be more and more enclosed.

Inside the secret garden, is a hook with a HUGE fuschia plant - also a mother's day present! I have neve seen such fascinatingly beautiful flowers! They look like the little fairies in the movie "The Spiderwick Chronicles". On the lower hook (it's very hard to see in the picture) is one of my son Micha's beautiful beaded hummingbirds.

Also in the secret garden, is the little shade flower garden around Savannah's grave. Bleeding hearts and lily of the valley - my absolute favorites. And a new favorite, called a Jack Frost with tiny light blue flowers. The stepping stone was a birthday present from my dear friend, Penny. It says, "Be still and know that I am God". I added some violas and alyssum for now, hoping that the bleeding hearts and lily of the valley will fill it in more and more over the years.

And then, finally, there's the flower garden. :) It was left by the former owners, waist high dried weeds from last year, huge and unruly. A friend suggested I start by breaking it up into smaller sections with paths. We got a huge load of sawdust from the Amish sawmill up the road to use for garden paths (both here and between the raised vegetable beds). Then the kids and I took a section at the time and pulled out everything that looked like just plain grass and quack grass. My friend walked around the garden and identified many of the perennials for me that were starting to come up. Chives and tulips, day lilies and asiatic lilies, sedum and a rose bush, and lots of peonies and columbine! What a wonderful blessing perennials are! I filled it in with some liatris bulbs - then more mother's day presents: spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, lavender, celosia, basil, rhubarb - and another friend gave me daffodil bulbs and irises. I went back to our old house and dug up the rhubarb and strawberries I'd left there - and a rose bush that our old neighbor had given me after my third miscarriage (Stephen). Yes, we have more weeding to do ;) but I am so pleased with how it's come together!

When Mike took me to the greenhouse on mother's day, I was fascinated by the miniature gardens they had for sale there. I've collected dollhouse miniatures since I was a little girl so I guess it was natural that I'd love these too. They planted small things like alyssum and little hens and chicks, etc - made paths with tiny rocks like the gravel you can get for fish tanks and added miniature gazebos or arches. So cute! So I decided to use one section of my flower garden for a miniature garden of my own. The little toad house that looks like a stump with a face and the solar light that looks like a rock with snails on top were presents from Mike (the same day he bought the rototiller). There are also two little pretty ceramic mushrooms that poke into the ground. I planted the peppermint and chocolate mint in this area along with a tiny variegated sedum and some hens and chicks - and then surrounded the area with a little "hedge" of alyssum. I'm hoping to get some fish tank gravel and have Terran help me make a little fairy house. (don't mind the rhubarb that was pushed down a bit by the heavy rain we got the night before I took these pictures. ;) They are perking back up now.

That reminds me of my oldest son's comment the other day. :) Just an example of his quirky intelligent sense of humor.
We were standing outside in the garden. One of my new little alyssum plants was a bit squashed. We'd had a big thunderstorm with lots of rain the night before.
Micha asked, "What happened to that one?"
I said, "I think it was just all the heavy waters we got last night."
Micha nods sagely, "Yes, that makes sense. It's probably the deuterium that is so detrimental." I said, "Ok, refresh my memory. What's deuterium?!"
Micha says, "The second isotope of hydrogen."
I said, "And what does the second isotope of hydrogen have to do with the rain we got last night?"
Micha says, "If you make water with the second isotope of hydrogen, you get what's called heavy water." AHHHHHGH!! Gotta love it!
Hope you have a wonderful, super-blessed-by-God day!!!


  1. What a beautiful garden. Thanks for the tips for the tomato baskets. I will space mine out to hang shade cloths in the summer heat. Around July/August, the sun burns everything. I love the paths that you have made in your flower garden, and I keep reading chocolate mint, chocolate mint, oh my! Enjoy! Please send me your address. I will send you some of my seeds. They are heirloom seeds and I have too many to store so I would like to share. These seed will reproduce so you can save seeds for next year. I always lt some of my plants go to seed, looks messy but it works, and I save seed for the following year. I have most veggies. My email is

  2. The bleeding hearts are such a mysteriously lovely flower. A bit of the rainforest for everyday here in the not-so-tropics.

    We're experimenting with upside down tomatoes on our patio ~ it should be interesting to see if or how they turn out!

  3. Your farm sounds so lovely. Thanks for sharing.
    Warm wishes,

  4. What a delight to enjoy a garden tour with you. So many WONDERful things to see. I especially like your miniature garden. I have fairy gardens and wee little treasures dotted around the gardens. I just love it when the children "discover" something new. God hoped we would live all of our days in a garden with Him . . . wouldn't that have been lovely? My gardens and a prayer keep me full of hope until that special day arrives.

    I so enjoyed this sweet visit with you. Thank you. : D

  5. Hello Heidi,

    In Australia we call it no dig gardening.when we lived on our farm we used to go to the paddocks and collect cow manure and bring it home to our vege gardens. One layer of thick newspaper, hose it down, a thick layer of manure and the lucerne hay on top. This would keep our vege gardens weed fre for about 18 months, and the worms just loved it and oh what lovely veges we had.

    Blessings gail

  6. It looks like you have a lovely garden.
    I've come to visit a few times since you lost Savannah-I've tried to comment, but was using an iPod and wasn't able to get signed on correctly. :-(
    I've enjoyed reading your recent posts and seeing the pictures of you, your little ones, and the gardens. :-)
    I'm continuing to think of you and pray for you-