From the Ashes of Disaster

There's asparagus in there!

There’s asparagus in there!

Grow the roses of success!

Does anyone remember that song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? This lyric comes to mind frequently here at Sledding Hill. We certainly have had our share of disasters, inexperienced farmers that we were when we first got here. And we continue to have them, inexperienced farmers that we still are.

A Virginia Ctenucha Moth isn't really a pest and the black currant it is on is still with us!  Unfortunately, the gooseberries and exotic raspberries did not fare so well.

A Virginia Ctenucha Moth isn’t really a pest and the black currant it is on is still with us! Unfortunately, the gooseberries and exotic raspberries did not fare so well.

So where are the bloody roses?! Well, one has blossomed this year. Back when we first arrived in Bear River with the energy of 10 men and the ignorance of 20 (2010), we scurried all over our property planting things like 45 fruit and nut trees, 50 berry bushes, 50 asparagus plants, 200 lavender plants, hundreds of seed potatoes, and a full market garden. Before the season was out, the market garden was a total loss to pests. By the following spring, 90% of the fruit trees and lavender plants had drowned in our sodden soil, many berries bit the dust, and the asparagus was lost in a forest of weeds. We marked out the location of the asparagus patch in the hopes our first year’s energy would return the following season and we’d clear out the weeds. Alas, that never happened.

Beauty!

Beauty!

This year (2014), we decided to write off the asparagus patch and “bush-hog” (mow) the whole thing. A couple weeks later and BAM! Roses! Or more accurately, asparagus! It grew so much faster than the weeds that a good mowing was all that was needed to find it again. All 50 plants are still there and are good sized now! People who grow asparagus for a living would probably roll their eyes to read this.  The sad part is, MY FAMILY actually grew asparagus for a living for awhile and I was still ignorant of how to deal with this weed situation.  It’s no wonder that when our first food products got a little media attention back in 2011, rumours circulated through the Valley that we were big-city lawyers, just playing at farming (lawyer being the most undeserving and un-farmerly profession that people could imagine). Well, we aren’t lawyers as our bank accounts will sadly attest.  But, an experienced farmer could be excused for thinking we were, based on our competence level at farming.

lavender planting - take 3.  We may actually be getting the hang of this.  These plants sailed through our coldest winter yet and look great.

lavender planting – take 3. We may actually be getting the hang of this. These plants sailed through our coldest winter yet and look great.

No, we are just two crazy men who were dissatisfied with our lives in the city and decided to take a risk and try something completely different.  Have we been humbled? Well, I don’t think we were really arrogant to begin with. Okay, maybe a little. But, we have certainly become keenly aware of our limitations as well as our strengths.  For example, we’ve discovered that next to getting media attention, crashing and burning is a core competency for us!

But, despite the agricultural setbacks, we’re still here for some reason, and deserving or not, we are having grilled asparagus for dinner! More ashes to roses stories to follow… stay tuned.

And since I’ve planted that earworm, here’s the song – enjoy!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GND10sWq0n0

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2 Responses to From the Ashes of Disaster

  1. It is always interesting to hear of the trials & errors of others. Gardening is a lifetime of trial and error. I think you have done wonderfully well.

  2. I am being challenged this year with new bugs in the garden. There is always a new one coming along. I planted apple trees and now have an aphid enjoying the leaves! Curses be on them. I don’t want to use anything poison so we just have to struggle along.

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