In My Garden: Front Street Farmers
Roommates Mike Minnix and Brandon Hulett have been working on their garden for about a year. The house they moved in to had a large in ground pool that had been filled in with dirt. The space makes a great place for a garden! They needed to add a few deposits of soil to it to level it out and improve the soil composition. Originally they had only planned on gardening about a quarter of the space, but once they started, they were hooked and did it all.
Their organic garden is arranged neatly and most everything they have planted (except for onions) has grown really well. They had some problems with raccoons and groundhogs getting in to their beds. Most of their watermelons were ruined. To correct that, they had to put up a fence around the entire garden. Birds have been getting into their fruits, eating blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, which was a disappointment. The strawberries were especially sweet and delicious treats.
Early on, they had tried using a soak hose for watering, but that has not worked very well and will be removed for next year. The garden takes about an hour of time a day, but each of them love being outside. They have a pathway through the garden made with leftover pallets from Mike’s company Eartha Limited. They also use the Earth Machine (available from Eartha Limited) for composting and also have a liquid compost going.
“The best part of having a garden is sharing with other people,” said Brandon. In August, the pair donated some kohlrabi to Market 65 which used it to make “roasted, locally grown kohlrabi and fish stew” for their soup of the day.
Brandon is a teacher and has spoken about his garden to his class. Some of the kids have really taken an interest to learn more about gardening. Brandon loves that he can inspire kids to be interested in learning more about gardens.
In addition to the fruits mentioned, they have also grown squash, swiss chard, banana peppers, Thai chili peppers, poblanos, habaneros, mint, sweet corn, popcorn, lettuce, redskin potatoes, lavender, cilantro and other herbs, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, Hungarian wax peppers, green bell peppers, Caribbean hot red peppers, and the hottest pepper in the world – the Bhut jolokia also known as the ghost chili pepper. What do you do with ghost chili peppers? A friend came over to see if she would be able to withstand eating one – she bit the tip of it and it was too much! They will probably end up drying them for decoration.
They have been canning many of the peppers and making pickles out of the cucumbers. Many of their tomatoes have been made into spaghetti sauce and salsas.
The garden has really become a focal point in their yard and they have worked to clean up the rest of the property. They cleaned up the brick patio and now have plenty of seating for friends. Getting out the deep fryer and experimenting with food right out of the garden is a fun and entertaining way to spend time with their friends. Watching people enjoy eating what they grew is really rewarding. Even though this is the first garden either of them had grown, they are both sure that they will always have one.