In our efforts to be good stewards of the resources God has given us, we began a food garden at our ranch, Golden Gaits Ranch located in Wellington, Colorado.  There we began a process of learning about and implementing the practices of permaculture, companion planting, "lasagna gardening" (or sheet mulching) and sustainability. In 2015 we moved to a new property in Guffey, Colorado, at 9,000 feet elevation, where we will again learn new things about high-altitude garden. We are currently building our home, but when that is finished we'll be starting a new garden, and most likely a greenhouse will be on the agenda, too.

Our vision is to have enough food to substantially provide vegetables and fruit for the year. If we have way too much to use ourselves, we want to find ways to share our harvest with others who could use a hand. As we learn, we would like to include other families who can work together with us on our land and share in our harvest, at the same time creating a community of families who will learn "good work" together with us.

Along with our garden zeal, we enjoy our three horses, but most of all we love our Lord Jesus and really just want to seek the Kingdom of God by following Jesus...simply, without the clutter of religious activities that distract from the Kingdom. 
Golden Gaits Ranch, Wellington, CO - to April 2015

We started in 2009 with 14 raised beds, most of them around 40-50 sqft, a total of around 500 sqft.  The garden was quite successful, with over 200 lbs of tomatoes canned in the form of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, marinara, barbeque sauce, salsa, ketchup and tomato marmelade.  I also dried some tomatoes with basil, sugar, salt & pepper, which made them taste like candy.

In 2010 we increased the garden size to just over 1000 sqft and have continued to do well!  Along with the increased size came more varieties of vegetables as well as the addition of blackberries, raspberries, honeyberries, currants and four dwarf apple trees.

2011:  What's up?  Ducks!  We've added ducks to our menagerie of garden, horses, dog and cat.  Nine Welsh Harlequin ducklings and one White Appleyard were delivered to our home June 8th.  We plan to enjoy them, their eggs and their meat.

October 2011: We are adding a greenhouse to increase our fall and early spring food production.  We are keeping our four female ducks for eggs, and hope they will begin to lay before the end of this month.  This year I canned around 300 lbs of tomatoes (diced tomatoes and sauces of various types), and froze or dried other vegetables and herbs.

2012:  We added a corn, bean & squash patch in a separate area to grow these "3 sisters" where the corn won't cast shade on anything.  It worked out well.  It was a very hot and dry summer, but most things did well, thanks to our well water.  The greenhouse worked out well over the winter, and with each year's experience we will have a better idea of what to plant there and when.  We enjoyed salads all winter long!  We added two Pekin ducks to the gang, but then lost one of the Welsh Harlequins, so currently we have five ducks a-layin.

Here is a photo of the house from Google Earth taken in August 2012, showing the garden area on the south side.  The duck's pen and house are at the left of the garden, and up at the top left corner is the corn patch we added in 2012. 

2013:  No more additions!  This year, after viewing the BACK TO EDEN film, we've decided to do heavy mulching and have put away the soaker hoses we've used in the past.  The mulching should keep the moisture in the soil and we shouldn't need to water as much as we had been doing.  We are focusing on deeper watering less frequently.  The soaker hoses on timers were ok, but with frequent breakage and leaks it took a lot of maintenance and expense.  We are finding sources of free wood mulch, and adding as much as 4" to each bed.  So far, we've been blessed with some good rain, which has been sorely needed all around.  (5/30/13)

2014: Despite strange weather (much cooler than usual), we had a pretty good garden year.  Most things grew well, with the exception of tomatoes: several plants died, others didn't produce well. I was able to do some canning, but not nearly as much as usual. For the first time, we had a problem with voles in one area of the garden. They munched on my peppers, both hot and sweet. They also began entering the asparagus bed, where KK the cat found a wonderful place to sleep, keep watch, and catch some of the critters.

Near the beginning of the 2014 summer we had decided to take off the 2015 year, our seventh year of gardening, for rest--for ourselves and for the soil.

As 2014 came to a close, we purchased our new property in Guffey, CO, where we will spend 2015 planning and building. As previously planned, we will hold off on starting a garden until the 2016 season.  We will be plenty busy building a house!

2016: As of February, we are getting close to moving in to our new house, but there is still a lot of work to be completed. We will likely start a few garden beds this year, perhaps get an asparagus bed going and other perennials. 

For more about us, including our move to Guffey, please see our main Golden Gaits Ranch website at: ggranch.net

No comments:

Post a Comment