Tag Archives: vegetable garden

Yes! My Garden Grows!

So happy to report that my garden is growing well for now. We’re starting to get tomatoes and zucchini. Home grown produce is such a treat.

My one wish is that we could grow more things. It’s the trouble with renting that there are only limited areas we can use as a garden. But at least we have some areas. The landlord never did put much into the perimeter of the back yard, despite the brick border creating a growing space, so we’re taking advantage. The few existing non-weed plants we’ve left alone, but there’s still space for a small garden.

We also have a volunteer sunflower coming up, but that’s still well away from blooming. Loads of pumpkin plants from the pumpkin we allowed to break down in the garden, so those will have to be thinned out. A few family members have expressed interest.

I really hope my zucchini plants produce in line with their reputation. I like giving excess away, especially as I have a few friends who I know are on very, very tight budgets. I also want the cheap excuse to play with the dehydrator I inherited from my grandmother.

We should get a nice excess of tomatoes, although those never seem to end up in excess because the kids snack on them quite a bit, particularly the smaller varieties my husband loves to plant.

I don’t know what it is about us and bell peppers, but those never thrive for us. Our sole surviving pepper is slow to grow, although it does have a few blooms, so we’ll see how things go.

I hope the basil goes well this year. I love making pesto when I have enough basil, and the freezing the excess in cubes, to be used over time. I’d say throughout the year, but that overstates how long my frozen pesto lasts until I use it up.

Just for pretties, we have some nice flowers growing too. It’s fun seeing what comes up, since we mostly bought mixes. Some are even local volunteers that simply appeared last year. We spread seeds from those when they go to seed, so each year we hope to see more local flowers. I’m hoping the bees appreciate the flowers.

It’s not much of a garden, not nearly what I’d like to have, but it’s certainly better than no garden at all. I hope some day we can have our own place with more room for gardening, and especially fruit trees.

Spring Means It’s Time to Get Your Garden Going

The cost of produce right now is pretty awful in most places. I saw tomatoes here for $2.49 a pound, cucumbers at $1.29 each. It’s pretty painful finding decent fresh produce to feed my family. On the plus side, it’s spring and time to get serious about gardening.

Just what you can do for your garden depends on the space you have available for it. You don’t have to have a back yard – a porch or patio will do for some container gardening, or even just a sunny window to grow some herbs.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what will grow well in your area. The easiest way to do that is to check with your local nurseries. This is important even if you’re going to order heirloom seeds so that you can save seed for next year to keep your garden going. You want to know what will grow well in your area, and it’s often easier to speak with someone in person than it is to find accurate information on a shopping website.

Soil is a big issue where I live. Ours is very poor, and drains quickly. If you have similar problems with your soil, I suggest you go to the nursery to find out how to improve it. A local professional will know what local conditions tend to be and what to do about it.

If you have a compost pile, you may already have some natural improvements to mix into your soil. Your compost must be well broken down or it won’t be sufficiently beneficial to the plants you’re planning on growing. This can be much better for your garden than chemical fertilizers.

What to Grow?

Deciding what to grow is an important part of any garden. I prefer a garden that is mostly vegetables, although the occasional fruit such as watermelon is always welcome. For us, tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers are basics.

This is a time to get your children involved. Allow them to pick a few favorites to grow. Sugar snap peas are always a fun one, as are green beans.

If you have the space for a fruit tree, think about dedicating some space to one. It’s a long term plan and you may not get any fruit this year, but in future years you could have more than your family can handle. The plum tree my family had when I was growing up produced more than we could easily give away some years. I miss that tree.

Protect the Garden From Kids and Pets

While you should have your kids involved in planting the garden, I strongly suggest that you fence it off somehow to keep them out of it when they’re playing. It doesn’t matter if they can get in and out easily, so long as there’s something to protect the plants from accidental incursions when the kids are playing.

It can be even more important to limit the access any pets have to your garden. Dogs can dig up your garden or just walk all over the young plants. You usually can’t keep a determined cat from using nice, soft garden beds as a litter box, but you can make it a little less appealing by having a fence they have to get over .

You don’t have to get too fancy with a fence, especially if the garden is a very temporary feature for your yard or you intend to move it around. Get some posts and some lightweight fence material, pound the posts into the ground and attach the fence, and you have some basic protection for your garden.

Be Efficient With Water

Especially if you’re living in an area with watering restrictions, you need to be as efficient as possible when watering your garden. A good quality soaker hose will allow you to water your garden with minimal water use.

Watering early in the day is usually best, so the water can soak into the ground before the sun gets hot enough to evaporate most of it. You can set up a timer so that you don’t have to remember to water first thing in the morning.

In my area, I’ve found that two short watering sessions a half hour to an hour apart are more effective than a single watering session. This allows the soil to get wet enough to easily absorb the water, but also lets the first watering soak in deeper before more water is added. Our soil dries really quickly on a single watering, and this is a big difference for us.

The upfront costs of starting a garden can be a bit painful, especially if it’s your first year and you need all the supplies, with nothing left over or reusable from previous years. It does get better, and the quality produce you can grow on your own should be worth it.