Cottage Vegetable Gardens

If you are like many cottagers, you have a little vegetable garden at your cottage, or you are thinking about starting one. Vegetable gardens take some work before you reap what you sow, but there is nothing like tender, fresh yellow and green beans, carrots and potatoes you grew yourself, all cooked in the same pot as what we call a late summer hodgepodge!

At our cottage we’ve got a little garden in the septic field to cut down on the need for fertilier….just kidding…I wanted to know if you were paying attention…

Actually our vegetable garden is behind the cottage, close to the edge of the little woodlot that borders our property. We carved it out of mixture of dirt, clay, roots, rocks and tree stumps many, many years ago. We did it the hard way…with shovels and pitchforks and picks. But it has proven to be worth the trouble as we still grow a small assortment of vegetables every summer.

For me, the garden has always been more work than anything, but that is because when you are younger, gardening just seems well…kind of dull. But as I grow older, I can appreciate it a little more every year, and look forward to tilling the soil, making the rows and planting it again this year.

The garden is the first thing I check as soon as we get the car unloaded on Friday night. I want to see if the plants are up, and growing, as well as look for deer tracks in the soft soil. By late summer, when the garden is in full swing, we’ll have a whitetail deer or two pay us at least one visit to check on the crop and see what we have on the menu. No matter how many years it happens, it’s still a little thrill for me to see the deer tracks.

We’ve got an old garden tiller at the cottage, it’s a big old thing, but it still works pretty good, although I know it is only a matter of time before I have to shoot it or drown it in the lake….(just checking to see if you are still paying attention) It will soon be time for us to get a new garden tiller and when that time comes I am seriously considering one of these Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller’s like the one shown here.

It’s lightweight, capable of tilling my small garden, easy to store and quite versatile, considering you can purchase about eight or nine attachments for it that turn this little machine into much more than a garden cultivator. It’s affordable too, at about $300 dollars give or take, substantially less expensive than some of the other tillers. I am particularly fond of the idea that I can store it so easily. I use the old tiller we currently have once or twice in the spring and once in the fall. In the meantime I move it, trip over it and curse it all summer as it takes up a great deal of space in my barn.

I admit it is a little on the small side, compared to my current roto-tiller and will make tilling the garden take a little longer, but considering my garden is not that big, and I do enjoy running the tiller, if it takes me a little longer I can live with it.

Speaking of tilling the garden, here is a thought for the cottage fishers among us…dig some worms and put them somewhere safe while the garden is being tilled. You can put them back afterwards. Otherwise, you might find it a little difficult to get worms for fishing after the garden has been tilled.

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