New Vegetable Garden: The 3 Big Challenges

Our property is located within a valley, on the side of a hill, within a canopy of endless trees. The location we chose for our garden is on the hilltop, the only part of our property that gets sun all day.

Our house within the canopy of trees and the view looking up, at the sunny hilltop location of our vegetable garden

We built our vegetable garden from the ground up and we were so excited when we completed the project two months ago. When we built our garden, we really didn’t know what to expect in the coming weeks or months. Due to this being a new process for us we decided to plant a wide variety of seeds and wait to see what took off. The beds were made, the seeds were planted and all that was left to do was maintain it and wait for our garden to flourish, in the hopes of providing us with endless amounts of wonderful vegetables. Right? This was the hope…

These are the 3 big challenges we have encountered:

1. Temperature: In hindsight, we now think that we did the transfer from the indoor grow to outdoors a couple of weeks early. Our transfer took place at the beginning of May and the following week the temperatures dropped to below freezing. We sure didn’t expect the temperature to drop so drastically at that time of year. We’ll definitely focus more on the last frost date and keep this in mind for next year!

2. Animals: We had no animals in our veggie garden up until about a week ago. When we had first completed the garden a neighbour let us know that rabbits had previously destroyed their garden and suggested that we protect our beds. We went to work fencing in the garden beds, all but the terraced side as it seemed highly unlikely that rabbits could get in from that side due to the steep 3-foot drop. The plants and soil hadn’t been doing so well, my husband went to a nursery and bought some worm castings. He mixed this into the soil and over the following two evenings we had our first unwanted visitor. The damage it did was significant, breaking plants, digging up roots, and tossing the soil everywhere. We believe whatever entered did so on the hillside that wasn’t fenced. So what did we do? We changed our Father’s Day plans and the kids couldn’t have been happier. We constructed a new fence and cleaned up the garden. Since doing that we’ve not had any more unwanted visitors. You live and you learn, right?

3. Water: As we draw our water from a well, we have a water treatment system. Therefore, the water we were using for our garden was stripped of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, etc, and loaded with salt. This caused the plants to become dehydrated and damaged the ecosystem needed in the soil. We fixed this a couple of days ago by bypassing the filtration and softening system. The garden beds are finally getting natural water they thrive on.

The fence installation and a view of the garden from the other side (down 3-feet)
The morning after, the aftermath from our animal visitor

Each morning my husband and kids are eager to go outside, go up to the vegetable garden to check in on it. They’re excited to see if any more vegetables sprouted or if we had any of those unwanted visitors. From building the beds, to planting and maintaining- our vegetable garden truly is a family affair!

We’re now at the end of June. So far, we haven’t had any yield from the garden and we’ve run into some problems. In turn, we’ve learned and come up with solutions. My husband is very determined and in his own words “I might not win this season, but I will win”. We haven’t given up, but we’re already planning next year’s beds. We will now go into next year’s season knowing more, which means we also expect to get much better yields. We look forward to the days when we can start harvesting produce right from our own vegetable garden.

Have you started your own vegetable garden? Did you run into any initial problems? What were your solutions?

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