A Garden To Feed A Family – The Feick Garden

This week’s Featured Garden comes to us from the Chris Feick family located in St. Mary’s, West Virginia. When Chris submitted his garden to be featured, we fell in love with the story and the garden immediately!

I think Chris and his family represent what so many across the world want to do – grow their own food and become more responsible for what they bring to their dinner table. And wow, have they accomplished that! I think even better, letting their kids grow up in the garden sets the stage for the next generation.

This photo and those smiles say it all! The Feick family picking some tomatoes from their garden!

There is something so special about raising your own food. Anyone who has taken up gardening and gets the bug knows exactly what we are talking about. As we looked through Chris’s photos, we couldn’t help but be impressed by what he accomplished and grown in just 7 years of gardening. I have a feeling all of you will love it too.

Be sure to check at the conclusion of the article to see how you can submit your own garden to be one of our Wednesday This Is My Garden Features!

This Is My Garden has really taken off in its first two weeks, with now over 1100 subscribers. Let’s keep it growing! As we do each week, we included additional full-size photos of the Feick Garden at the end of the article.

Now lets take a look at the Feick Garden, courtesy of Chris.

A Garden To Feed A Family – The Feick Garden

From Chris Feick:

I started gardening about 7 years ago because I wanted to provide better food for my family by knowing exactly how the food was raised. We are as organic as possible, and we use no chemicals or pesticides. My children regularly go out to the garden while they are playing outside and pick food right off the plants to eat. It’s nice to not have to worry about what might be on that food. I feel good about what I am able to provide for my family to eat.

I am also now the third generation of my family to raise a garden on this piece of property. That was another important reason why I started my own garden.

I have two garden plots in my backyard. One is 30′ x 60′ and is for my vegetables. The other is 20′ x 40′ and is for my perennials like strawberries, blueberries and asparagus.

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Growing vertical in the garden

I also have grape vines and fruit trees on my property. My wife and I also make our own maple syrup from about 20 maple trees in my yard.

Last year we made around 6-8 quarts of maple syrup. That may not be a lot compared to the other stuff we can, but it’s enough for us and it works to meet our goal of producing enough to last until the following harvest.

Plus, on top of getting to eat the wonderful maple syrup, it also gives me a way to burn off some of the cabin fever I’m starting to get around January and February.

One interesting thing that I try to do is  grow “vertically” as much as possible. I build a lot of trellises for my beans, tomatoes and even watermelon. I grow my cucumbers on my garden fence. This spring, I’m going to try the potato crate method I found on Old World Garden Farms. The tomatoes love the trellises. I’ve had tomato plants over 8 feet tall on them!

 

One of our main goals for our garden is to preserve as much food from it as possible, relying less and less on purchased produce. My wife is an avid canner and we have a nice pantry stocked with various things from the gardens.

We started out by attempting to can enough green beans and tomatoes to last us the entire year until the next harvest. We have been able to accomplish that. I grow three 25 foot rows of pole beans and around 25 tomato plants each year, and most of that goes into cans. We haven’t bought fresh or canned green beans from a store in several years.

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The strawberry beds of the Feick Garden

Once that goal was met, we started branching out to other types of produce and varieties of canned goods. Two years ago, my mother gave me 5 garlic bulbs from her garden. I planted all 5 of them that fall, and took the entire harvest from that year and replanted it all last year. That harvest was 72 bulbs of garlic and so far, we are still using them.

I planted enough garlic this past fall to give us 96 bulbs for next year. Also last fall, I started a handful of potato (multiplier) onions and I intend to do them the same as the garlic until I get enough to eat over the winter and replant.

 

My wife has begun to expand her canned goods from our original staples. Now she makes strawberry, mulberry and cherry jams and she cans applesauce from our trees (when the squirrels leave us any).

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Look at those stocked, home-grown shelves of food!

Thanks to her efforts our pantry is well stocked with cans of tomato sauce, tomato soup, salsa, cowboy candy (candied jalapeno), jalapeno and banana peppers, pickles, hot pepper mustard and jelly, hot pepper marinade, zucchini relish, homemade ketchup and strawberry pie filling.

All of this comes from fruit trees, berry bushes and the vegetable garden on our property. Over the years, my wife and I developed a good working arrangement for the gardening: I don’t ask her to pull any weeds and she doesn’t ask my help with the canning. I grow the food and she preserves it. 🙂

In addition to the food we grow for our pantry, I also grow plenty of food just to eat because I like it. There’s nothing else like sweet corn fresh from the garden. I grow lots of zucchini and squash every year. We have blueberry and cherry bushes. My kids get excited every spring when the first asparagus stems pop up from the ground (how many 8 and 6 year olds do you know that love asparagus).

My garden has become my favorite place to be on my property. My wife jokes that it’s my happy place. I love how involved the kids are in starting the seeds and placing the young plants in the garden.

It’s so much fun to watch those plants together as they grow taller and taller, begin to form flowers, and when the first fruits or vegetables start to appear. All summer long we visit the garden and pull off fresh food to eat.

Just being there in the middle of all the green and growing plants relaxes the stress of the day away.

Share Your Garden With TIMG!

Thank you so much Chris for sharing your garden with us! I think all of our readers will agree that you and your family represent what so many people want to do!  What a great garden!

And now it’s your turn to share your garden! We want to showcase gardens of all shapes, sizes and types from all around the world. From small or unique patio and flower gardens, to fish pond gardens, orchards and more! Help make this site a great site for gardeners to dream, learn and share!

If you would like to have your garden be on one of our Wednesday Garden Showcases, you can email us your garden story and pictures at info@thisismygarden.com, or use the share my garden tab on the website and fill it out. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get our updates as well!

Feick Garden Photos

The Garden In Early Spering
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Growing vertical in the garden
Maple syrup taps and of course,maple syrup!
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The garden with a fall cover crop in place
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Green Beans
Harvesting Beans

Canned Jalapeno!

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What a photo!

14 thoughts on “A Garden To Feed A Family – The Feick Garden

  1. Beautiful pictures of great gardens. My concern is all those canning jars on shelves with nothing
    to hold them in place, thinking earthquake. Thin (cheap) strips of wood could be ‘retrofitted’
    a couple of inches above the jars, easy to do and still provides easy access.

  2. Correction!! Should have said strips of wood above the base of the jars, not above the jars. You need to have enough room to get the jars in and out, but prevent them from jiggling off the shelves.

    1. Over the years my two inch planks have taken a significant bend. If I were doing it again, I would put a piece of plank in the middle of each row. Lovely produce.

      1. Yeah, some of mine are bending under the weight. I’ve been adding some metal brackets attached to the wall studs to sure them up.

  3. What a beautiful garden! We are setting up our garden this year following OWG principles and I cannot wait to get my daughter (2 yr) involved like your children are.

    Thank you again for sharing your story with us!

    Sam

  4. Would you be willing to sharing your recipes for salsa, kechup, zucchini relish, tomato soup and hot mustard? The internet has a gazillion canning recipes and it makes it easier to start with a tested recipe rather than just picking one blind. Thank you.

    1. You’re right about there being lots of varying recipes on the internet. My wife has experimented with a lot of them. I’ll talk to her about submitting a post to this site with the ones that have worked for us.

  5. Great garden. Last year I tried tapping one of my maple trees and making syrup for the first time. It takes a lot of sap to make 6-8 quarts of syrup so I am impressed.

    1. So far our experience has been that it takes approximately 8 gallons of sap to get 1 pint of syrup. So yeah, storing sap until we have time to cook it down has been the biggest challenge.

  6. Nice work. According to my Maple Syrup making friend, you can put one tap for every 9″ diameter of tree trunk. He pulls over three hundred litres of sap every year. That’s a BIG maple you have there. Go for it!

    1. So far, I haven’t done more than one tap per tree because I have so many trees. But this year I think I’m going to put multiple taps in the trees that have produced the most sap and skip the slackers…😀

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