How Does Your Garden Grow?

Look at our beautiful garden! This summer we decided that we wanted to have a small raised bed in our backyard to grow some vegetables. It's a project that we had been debating for a long time, but we either didn't have the space OR we were not going to be home enough to take care of it. Well, this was our year- 2010 is The Year of the Garden! We built the bed out of pieces of wood from our old deck that we tore down last fall. We did some research first to make sure that the chemicals that were used on the boards wouldn't leech into our vegetables and kill us. Turns out that because they were so old, there would be no harmful chemicals present in the wood anymore. Safety first.
Onward and upward.

A raised bed is a great solution if you have a small space for gardening. It also helps keep weeds and grass out of your garden and its nice that you can control the type of dirt that you put in it, unlike your yard, where you just have to deal with the dirt that Mother Nature gave you. A raised bed also puts the plants up about a foot off the ground, which makes working in the garden, weeding, etc, much easier on your back.

After we built the frame (we used the tutorial from The Pioneer Woman and adjusted it a bit) we just needed to fill it in with soil.

Well, come to find out, surprise...dirt is kinda pricey. You know the expression "dirt cheap"? Don't believe a word of it.
We were waiting to save up a chunk of change to buy our dirt but soon after building the bed, my parents ended up coming to visit us and surprised us by bringing a HUGE load of topsoil with them! Pay Dirt. YAY! I never pictured myself being so excited about dirt.

After we got our topsoil, we went to a garden center and purchased seeds and plants for our raised bed, which we call "the garden spot," because that is what my Daddy calls his garden. His garden spot is much, much bigger than ours though. We planted corn, squash, green beans, and onions from seeds in the raised bed. We also planted teeny weeny baby tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, and a cucumber in large pots around the raised bed.

...And it all grew and grew! We harvested enough vegetables to last us through the winter!
Just kidding.

We are not prepared for a winter without Kroger, but it did grow and we have gotten to eat some yummy home grown vegetables. It was certainly not the bounteous cornucopia of goodness that I had pictured in my mind, but how many things turn out like we plan them? Not many. Overall it has been a sweet and faithful little garden and that's about as much as anybody can ask for!
See look how pretty...

These are all little baby garden pictures...

...when all the plants had just begun to flower and produce produce. Good one, huh?

These jalapenos are H.O.T. I picked some the other day and then scratched my ear before I could wash my hands...Holy Hot Ear Batman! Not good. David had to put milk and cornstarch in my ear. I won't go in to all of the ramifications that putting milk in one's ear has on a person. Let's move along.

I love the color of these cherry tomatoes as they ripen. Amazing.

We are not disappointed with the our "little garden that could." It's been a lot of fun and we are happy with the fruit (er, vegetables?) of our labor. We had the best luck with the jalapeno peppers and tomatoes, and we are still getting a few of those everyday. The corn was a no-go and our squash was attacked by chich-worms. Yeah, you heard me...Chinch Worms. They are ruthless killers. The rest of the vegetables were all just so-so.

We made a couple of mistakes in the garden that we hope to remedy with our fall crop:

  1. We over-crowded the bed. Since we planted seeds, we really underestimated how big everything would grow. Next time we will leave more space.
  2. Some of our pots were really too small to grow vegetables in.

  3. At the first sign of pests or disease, we really should have used some sort of pesticide or fungicide or whatever the case may have warranted. We are a low cost operation, though, and didn't want to shell out the dough. What can I say?

  4. We need to get rid of our dogs, kill all the squirrels in our trees, and move our garden to a place that is not 120 degrees in the summer.

I guess we can't fix all of those, but we are making the necessary and possible adjustments for our fall planting. We have pulled up all of the plants that are no longer producing and David already has some small squash and zucchini coming up. Beware chinches. We are coming after you!

So that's our Summer 2010 Garden Spot. We'll keep you posted on the fall planting.

This is me with my first garden harvest! It is small but I'm so proud. You don't have to look nice to harvest, right? My grubbiness just shows how hard I was working...or how I just woke up...I can't remember which. Well, I'm sure it was the working hard thing. Let's go with that.

Soon I'll show you all of our summer herbs that we planted on the deck and how we use them in the kitchen almost everyday!


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