Where is your garden?
Our little garden is located in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky, plant hardiness zone 6b.
We are urban gardeners living in rural America; that is, we live smack-dab in the middle of a small city (population <8000) that is the medical and legal hub for a very rural area (we have to drive over 2 hours to get to an indoor mall, y’all).
How big is your garden?
Just under 6/100ths of an acre (40 x 60 ft) in size. We also have edible landscaping around the property, including many varieties of raspberries, blueberries, and grapes. Our property is also surrounded by persimmon and mulberry trees.
How does your garden grow?
All organic and heirlooms (open-pollinated) when possible. I use landscaping fabric and plastic to minimize weeding (I work full-time and have two kids, you know!), and low tunnels/mulch in the winter.
What does your garden grow?
Like Mary, I’m contrary! I’m a huge believer in the importance of biodiversity, both in large and small scales. This past summer alone, I grew at least 57 varieties of vegetables.
We always grow the “standards” of tomatoes, beans, and corn found in most family gardens, but also plants that are not so common: cowpeas, Asian melons and greens, tomatilloes, and (of course) WINTER SQUASH!
The garden has a different composition every year, as I tend to focus my seed trials on particular crops. One year it was paste tomatoes. Another year, it was hot and sweet peppers. This year, it was melons and squash. I’ve already been swapping seeds with friends for next year’s focus: COWPEAS!
How much does your garden produce in a year?
At least a TON of produce, based on what we weighed in years 2010 and 2013.
What’s a hubbard?
A hubbard is a type of winter squash, shaped like a large football and with a hard, warty rind. There are several stories as to its origins and from where. The earliest record of the hubbard is in the following letter to “The Magazine of Horticulture” in 1857, submitted by legendary Massachusetts seedsman James J.H. Gregory:
“Of the origin of the ‘Hubbard’ squash we have no certain knowledge. The facts relative to its cultivation in Marblehead are simply these. Upwards of twenty years ago, a single specimen was brought into town, the seed from which was planted in the garden of a lady, now deceased; a specimen from this yield was given to Captain Knott Martin, of this town, who raised it for family use for a few years, when it was brought to our notice in the year 1842 or ’43.
We were first informed of its good qualities by Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, a very worthy lady, through whom we obtained seed from Capt. Martin. as the squash up to this time had no specific name to designate it from other varieties, my father termed it the ‘Hubbard Squash.'”
Elizabeth, also known as “Marm Hubbard,” is said to have proclaimed that the blue hubbard was the “best squash she had ever tasted in her life.”