Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

PART ONE: The Pretty Garden

Last September I had a visitor to the farm who walked around looking at all the vegetable gardens--the heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, herbs, Asian greens, peppers, hops, sun chokes, etc., but when we got to the end of the tour, I was asked, "Where are your pretty gardens?" Sadly, the only thing I had was the stone garden out front which had fallen victim to neglect and had been recently weed whacked to the ground. Only dried stubble remained. This year I want to completely dig out the stone garden--removing the weeds and replanting with perennials. There were already some perennials in there in serious need of dividing. When a neighbor gave me a bucket full of tiger lilies, I decided that it was time to undertake a project that I had wanted to do for several years--connect the three small round flower beds in the front yard into one large "pretty garden".

One of the workshops I attended this year at PASA's Farming for the Future conference was My Weedless Garden given by Lee Reich. He had a presentation about how they put together a large garden at his daughter's school in an afternoon. Instead of the labor-intensive methods involving sod removal, several layers of wet newspaper were laid down and covered with soil. So I decided to give it a try.
Having a tractor with a bucket made a world of difference. Moving all this dirt and compost with only a wheelbarrow would have really sucked.
The tiger lilies went down the middle as they will be the tallest flowers. On each side I planted Bee Balm, Coreopsis, Rudbeckia, peonies and some fancy day lilies. On the ends, which were existing gardens, I divided and replanted the Coral Bells and left the large bleeding heart and peonies that were already established.
Total time: 4 hours
I'm looking forward to the next phase of the garden which will connect the larger flower bed to the ring around the dogwood tree. I have a friend who has offered me more Bee Balm and Rudbeckia. Then I can move on to spading out all the crap in the stone garden and starting from scratch. And yes, I'll be able to say I once again have "pretty gardens".

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