Gardening 101

Our first "big" harvest :)

I’m calling this Gardening 101 because this is a new hobby for me and I’m no expert, but I’m loving it! I want to share with you because I’m hoping after you read this, you will want to plant something! And for those of you experienced gardeners, please share your knowledge

I was inspired to garden because of my sweet 70+ year old neighbor. And when I say sweet, I mean just about the sweetest lady around. Talk about neighbor jackpot. In the fall of last year she started a raised bed garden with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, all types of lettuce, etc. We loved watching everything grow, and my oldest loved picking the lettuce and eating it straight from the garden (my middle liked picking it and tossing the veggies aside). Our neighbor, Kathy, always takes time to explain and educate the kids on what is growing. Now, I’ve always had the brownest thumb around. I think part of that reason is we never really stayed in a house long enough to have a landscaped garden, where I could really see the fruits of my labor. So, everything died. But watching my neighbors garden flourish, eating fresh salads, and seeing the kids enjoy being in the garden, made my husband and I think about having our own garden. Plus, I had the benefits of a garden expert right next door 😉 We finally started landscaping our yard at the beginning of the year so, we had a clean slate to work with (and please bear with me as it is still a work in progress. We need ground cover, etc). We chose a sunny spot so the veggies would thrive!

garden before
Our “lovely” clean slate

My neighbor has very long and large garden beds, but that seemed too overwhelming to me. How would I know how to arrange everything in such a big bed?! So I decided on 4 square boxes. We filled it with soil we purchased from our local plant nursery. Our soil is like clay, so we bought a sandy soil and some humus (a mature compost). You can also buy bags of raised bed soil…the correct soil makes all the difference. If you are choosing to plant straight into the ground, look into adding some amend, sort of like a soil conditioner.

From talking to my neighbor and doing some research I decided what spring vegetables I wanted to plant (see below for a list of things I planted). I started with plants because I didn’t want to wait for the seeds to grow (impatient), and because I felt like planting seeds was more advanced. I know now that planting from seed is really not difficult. I also decided to do some “flowerscaping” in my garden beds to add color. So I started planting and…got overwhelmed. Can the onion be planted by the tomato bush!? Then I felt like I should to all this research to make sure everything was strategically planted…but I don’t like spending that much time researching!! Do you know what advice my neighbor gave me? “Girl, we are just doing this for fun (except she really is a garden expert), so what if something doesn’t work out…we spent a buck on it! Just go for it and have fun while doing it!”  And that was just what I needed to hear.

Planting day!

After we started my garden we decided to make our kids their own little garden boxes so they could plant, dig, and water however and whatever they wanted!

Everyday I go out to my garden to water, inspect, remove dead leaves, or pick a little something to eat! It takes me about 15 minutes and its so relaxing. Plus, its fun to go out and see what has sprouted or flowered!

1 month from start date!

2 months from start date!

2.5 months from start date!

This has been such a great hobby for our family! We are still experimenting and have work to do in our garden area, but we are having fun while doing it! I love that we can use this as a way to educate our kids on how things grow, how to take care of things, and then…enjoy the fruits of our labor!

I will write posts here and there to keep you updated on our little garden! Please let me know if you have any questions about starting a garden, and if I don’t have the answer I can run next door and ask my neighbor 😉 Do you have a garden? What are your favorite things to plant?! I’d love to hear!

What I planted: Carrots, lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, thyme, radishes, squash, cucumber, zucchini, a variety of strawberries (so we can decide which one is our favorite!), green beans, snap peas, green & red onions, and then I added some snap dragons, white pansies, & poppies just because  🙂