Our adventure in gardens continues with Stephanie and Dan Sherwood’s large and bountiful Garden of Eatin’ in Linden. When they purchased their home three years ago, they were pleasantly surprised to find out that it also came with quite a bit of land. They were not strangers to having a garden – they had previously lived in Somerset and had a 900 square foot one. However, their intentions proved to be too much as that garden became too much work and was not very successful.
For their new garden space, they decided to start small and utilized the square foot gardening technique. The first year they had 2 4′x4′ garden boxes. That was tripled in the second year and again in the third. Their garden produced lots of food for them, the best this year being their tomatoes and their basil. Dan has a running challenge with his mother Janet Dee, an expert gardener, to get the first red tomato of the season. This year Dan was the winner. Janet has been a wealth of information, teaching them how to save seeds and offering advice.
The beds in the garden have been made from reclaimed wood from a friend’s no longer in use children’s playhouse. The containers for the potatoes are an inventive reuse of old tires and very inexpensive.
Stephanie and Dan are working to make their homestead as sustainable as possible. They use organic methods, a 4 barrel rain collection system that Dan designed, heat their home with wood and make their own household products such as laundry detergent, hand soap and shampoo. Composting is something they are working on. They tried worm composting using One20 Farm’s methods and would like to resume doing that.
Some of the vegetables they are growing include: loofah, potatoes, tomatoes, black krim tomatoes, red okra, purple bell peppers, kale, salad blends, broccoli, eggplant, strawberries, mustard greens, chard, a wide assortment of herbs, watermelon, sweet corn, popcorn, pole beans, rainbow carrots, Lebanese white bush squash, pattypan, zucchini, artichoke, spinach and mulberry trees. They have also added a grapevine this year and blueberries. Some of their favorite recipes to make include: pickled okra, peach jalepeno barbecue sauce, tomato soup, salsas and ketchup and baked kale.
Dan and Stephanie are quite busy people – after-work they often practice with their band, Coal Fired Bicycle. Stephanie is also a board member of the Columbus Artmobile. They have also been having meetings for artists to collaborate and share through the group Columbus Artist Alliance. So, the size of this garden is about as big as they can handle right now. Next year they hope to have a bigger sweet corn crop, plant nasturtium flowers earlier in the year to combat spider mites and aphids, and do better with succession planting.