- Guest Post: Joyce Wulf
Gregory County's own "Jorassic Park"
I'm Jo Wulf and I—along with help from my husband—grow vegetables and fruit to sell at the Farmers Market. I grew up in Hills, Minnesota, on a farm and moved to South Africa in 1976 where I lived for 18 years before returning to the States. All three of my children were born there. In 2001, I moved to a ranch northeast of Herrick along with my husband, Floyd.
I started my garden in 2011. Deer are a huge problem in our area, and I decided from the beginning that I would do whatever I could to keep them out. So we erected a 10 foot high fence, 683 feet in parameter, enclosing an area just short of 1 acre. I reckoned that ought to take care of the problem! To further dissuade pesky varmints, we also put up a rabbit fence (dug 6 inches into the ground)...oh, and also an electric fence about 1 foot off the ground on the outside of the fence. I hate to report that I have already had rabbits, possums, skunks and raccoons in the garden so far, but I'm sure there would have been a lot more and there were NO DEER!
The name of my garden "Jorassic Park Gardens" was the result of a comment from our neighbor who told us that he had taken his daughters around to see the local "Jurassic Park". I asked him where that was, as thought it might be fun to see it myself. Turned out he was referring to my garden and the tall fence around it – hence the play on my operation name and the famous movie! And, of course, when I saw a metal garden sculpture of a T-Rex, I simply had to have it to complete the picture. Thus, "Rusty" joined the garden. I usually drag him along to Farmer's Market and the children especially take delight in petting him!
You will have probably noticed the bath tub "flower garden" that Rusty is posing by the entrance to the garden. This is kindly on lend from a local artist and has a beautifully painted scene of a herd of Hereford cows and calves on it. Rusty also guards the giant pumpkins I raise every year!
In the garden I have fruit trees including cherry, plum, apple, pear, peach, apricot and mulberry – some of which are just starting to produce. I also have strawberries, raspberries and blackberries finally becoming established, and I may even be able to sell some this year! My largest vegetable crop is asparagus, which unfortunately is all done producing by the time Farmer's Market starts, but next year I will advertise to sell when it comes in season. Other vegetables include the usual corn, onions, shallots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, summer and winter squashes, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon, rhubarb, garlic and dill. More unusual are eggplant, kohlrabi, ground cherries and gem squash (a South African small round squash resembling a cross between an acorn and zucchini squash). Later on in the season I hope to offer a "boxed meal" featuring a South African menu (incorporating the gem squash) so be on the lookout for that.
I do not use any chemicals, other than organic, on my fruit and vegetables to help control pests and diseases. I love to weed so no need for chemical control for that! I also incorporate a heavy bean stalk mulch for weed prevention, and eventually compost, purposes. This has proved to be highly successful and also helps keep the moisture in the ground.
I really enjoy the Farmers Market as not only a venue to sell my produce, but to engage socially with the public and other vendors and am greatly looking forward to doing so this year. See you there!