When I decided to start a vegetable garden on our rural property, I invited my neighbor over with his backhoe. It took a few hours to flatten the prospective garden site: our land is hilly. The newly stripped dirt billowed mushrooms of dust as deer wandered by, eager to devour every green thing they could reach. It seemed impossible that any seed could resist blowing away, let alone grow into something edible, but this 25 by 35 foot space now supplies most of my family’s vegetables.
Located in Idaho at 5,000 feet above sea level, my garden can freeze anytime between September and June. During our bitterly cold winters, I cover a third of the space with an unheated hoop house and continue to harvest fresh salads, carrots, and herbs (see my post here for more about winter gardening). During our hot, arid summers, I irrigate with driplines to minimize our water consumption. I use organic growing techniques and compost to avoid adding any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
Before I settled down to garden, my love of plants took me a bit further from home. As a field botanist, I explored the flora of the Grand Canyon’s north rim region and the San Fransisco Peaks in Arizona. I lived in a tent on an uninhabited Aleutian island for two summers while studying plant-insect interactions for a master’s degree in Biology. I ventured into the wilds of a high school classroom to teach science (including botany) for four years.
I started growing vegetables in 2008. Here, I explore vegetable gardening techniques and a bit of the science behind them.
Please feel free to contact me, I love to talk gardening.
All pictures were taken by me or a family member unless otherwise specified. Please do not replicate them without my permission. Thanks to George Rudebusch for the picture of snowy Slate Mountain.