Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spring Garden

I have been dreaming of having my own garden for about two years now. I'm not exactly sure what particular thing triggered that desire, but I think it all started about the time I began to seriously look at the food that N and I ate (that was triggered by this book). N's grandparents also have, or have had, gardens and seeing them spurred on my curiosity and urge to try hand at growing food.

My first attempts came in the form of a container garden at our first apartment. Really all the "garden" consisted of was a homemade Topsy Turvy tomato planter and a few herbs. The tomatoes that year were not plentiful and now I know that it had to do with the direction our balcony faced. It got very little sun, which is um...crucial to plants. The two basil varieties I planted did fine, but the rosemary suffered from the dreaded powdery mildew. Again, most likely caused by a lack of sun.

I tried again last year at our second apartment and had much better luck with the tomato plants and herbs. We kept it simple with only tomatoes and basil. I think we may have tried rosemary again and it did fine. We even tried growing two different heirloom varieties, which did not do well. The plant itself did fine, but didn't produce much fruit. We learned what we liked and what we'd do different the following season.

Well, that season is upon us and here we are in our first home! Guess, what that means? 


Ok, so I'm not actually planting in our soil. N and I decided to build raised beds, because it would allow us to work with good soil (that we purchased) and we knew that raised beds had some added benefits. Don't ask me what those are, because I don't remember. I mean I do, but I don't want to go into that. Feel free to search the internet if you really want to know the nitty gritty. Besides, I like the look of raised beds. They're pretty :-)

So, last week I got started on planting the beds that N had so kindly built and placed in our yard. Thanks love! 

Here are some shots of the process:

N had originally laid down cardboard under the bed, but after taking a gardening class, I learned that it's good to extend it past the borders of your bed. The cardboard helps in smothering the grass under your bed, which will hopefully keep weeding down to nothing.

You'll notice in this second picture that the cardboard is no longer extending past the bed. Well, it turns out that we have a gradual slope that forced us to dig into the ground about 2 1/2 inches on one side in order to level the bed. Leveling is important, in particular on a slope. Ours is very gradual, but we didn't want to take any chances. Now, I'm waiting on some mulch so I can lay cardboard around the beds. The mulch will cover the cardboard and add an extra barrier against grass that may try to grow into the garden.

I then filled our 4x6 ft. bed with some great soil that I purchased a local nursery. They make their own soil! How friggin' cool is that? Anyhow, that took about 15 bags which I filled myself at the nursery thankyouverymuch.

After filling the bed with soil, I sectioned it off into square foot plots. We are using the square foot gardening method in our raised beds. It will allow us to grow more food in a smaller space, plus other added benefits. You can read about those guessed it, the internet! I am so dang helpful!

Once, that part was done I was ready to plant. Isn't it pretty!

Here are some of the plants up close and personal:

Spanish Lavender

Dino Kale

Onions (Red and White)



Pansy (for decorative purposes)

Swiss Chard

So there you have it, our first garden!

But now here's the rub. I planted this garden last week and then this massive storm that's sweeping over most of the U.S. hits and well...this is what the garden currently looks like

I've checked on the plants daily, but I can't tell right now what's going to make it and what may not. N says it's all part of gardening. It's unpredictable.

Once we get above freezing and the temps stay there, we'll be able to properly assess the garden. I'll keep you posted! In the meantime, send good thoughts to our garden!

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