Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A few summers ago, Katelyn and I went to Minnesota to visit my mom, "Nana" as she is known by the kiddos. While we were there, we helped her plant a square foot garden. It was so neat and organized and Kate loved playing in the dirt. Ever since then I have wanted to plant a garden. I love the idea of being able to walk right into your own backyard and find fresh, organic produce for so much cheaper than a trip to the grocery store.

Katelyn, a few summers ago, playing with Nana in her backyard!

In early March, I started planning the garden so we could get approval from the Home Owners Association. Most of my research came from Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It is a wonderful beginner's guide for someone like me who knew nothing about gardening. After several rough drafts, I had a plan and set to work. One morning, while Kate was at preschool, Josh and I hit Lowes to get the wood and other supplies to build three raised bed boxes. We also picked up the "ingredients" to make the perfect soil. A few stores later and we had almost everything on the list, minus some different varities of compost for ultra rich soil.

The following morning, after screwing the boxes together (thank you Nellie!) and stapling the weed barrier on, we arranged the boxes in the box yard. It was starting to come together. Another morning was devoted to mixing up to very large piles of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. It was tough work, but the result was a light and fluffy soil rich in nutrients. After filling the boxes and stringing a grid across tops, our boxes were ready to be planted.

4x4 Raised Bed Boxes

After a bit of rearranging, this is what we came up with.

My step-brother's school had a plant sale with great deals on vegetable plants. We bought peppers and tomatoes there and then hit Walmart for onions sets, and seeds for peas, green beans and spinach. The next week or two were spent planting and caring for our little plants. It was so fun for the kiddos to go out in the backyard each afternoon and see what had grown since the day before.

Just starting to grow...

The peas grew so fast!

We were surprised one afternoon to come out and find these little treasures.

It has been a few months now since we first started this adventure and we have a beautiful garden! It looks like we will have a bountiful harvest. The journey has only begun and we have high hopes for some delicious salsa once the tomatoes and peppers are ready to be picked.

The peas have since been eaten and the pole beans have taken over completely!

Long and lean pole beans!

Spicy Jalapenos... perfect for salsa!

Bell peppers

Banana Peppers

Lovely tomatoes!

We have already enjoyed peas, green beans and spinach, and they tasted wonderful! It has become part of our routine to spend at least 15 minutes outside in the garden each afternoon watering, weeding, and seeing what is new. I hope we are creating wonderful memories for our kiddos of our very first garden.


Jennie said...

Very, Very impressive!!! The boards for our raised bed garden are still sitting in the garage. My plants are all scattered along the side of the house. I have gotten a couple of strawberries(bunnies have eaten the rest) and lots of basil. The cherry tomatoes are starting to come in.

Its fun to see how fast some plants grow and how some don't do so well. Definitely a learning experience.

Tiffany Scienski said...

u have some beautiful sqft gardens!

Jenn said...

Your garden is amazing!

John Michael and Nauni said...

Aww Julie Bird! I haven't been able to visit your blog in a while, so busy with work! But thank you for posting such neat posts recently! Your garden is BEAUTIFUL and very inspiring! If I can make some time, I would love to plant a little one too. I'll have to call you for instructions! Nice work!! Love you!