Getting Started is the Hardest Part

Chris and Ross graciously agreed to join Gary for the inaugural "Boys Planting Weekend" in Monroe Wisconsin May 7-10, 2009. 

They arrived late on Thursday evening and began bright and early Friday with a drive to Jamie's farm in Blanchardville to get large round bales of old hay to be used for mulch.  The plan was to utilize the mulch as a weed barrier and to kill the sod.  Family members were skeptical that we would be able to grow anything the first year without using chemicals to kill the sod in order to get the garden started.

Feeling very frustrated that we wouldn't be able to harvest any produce the first year, Gary, Chris and Ross had a brainstorm that produced a workable plan. This was accomplished while enjoying some beer, burgers, and the traditional Midwestern "Fish Fry" at the Suisse Haus on Friday evening.  They decided that the best approach was to remove as much of the sod from the surface of the ground with a weedwacker and a lawn mower.  Then they placed black landscape fabric over the mowed sod and planted the seeds in holes created with a drill.  In the end, Chris drilled over 1,000 holes.

Crops for 2009 included: corn, green and purple beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, gourds, watermelon, herbs, cantaloupe, purple carrots, and asparagus.

In addition to the time spent in the garden, they completed fence repairs that would be needed to keep the steers from escaping and running all the way to Browntown (10 miles away).

Awe and Wonder

During our 14 hour drive to Wisconsin, (after celebrating Memorial Day with our wonderful Colorado Springs neighbors and friends) we wondered, "would anything be growing in the garden?"

We drove straight to the garden and were delighted to find that the garden was already better than we could have imagined. The plants were already starting to peak out above the black landscape fabric.

Summer 2009 proved to be a very wet and cold summer. We wore jeans and sweatshirts throughout most of June with rain falling regularly. With the cool temperatures and plenty of rain, the garden was up and growing.

We visited the garden daily and watched with awe and wonder as the garden flourished. It was fantastic to see lettuce, squash, cucumbers, and beans appearing despite all the warnings that "it couldn't be done".

We estimate that we harvested and donated approximately 300 pounds of chemical-free produce.