Planting my Garden ~ the 2012 edition

Yay!  It’s garden time again!  I’m excited about my garden this year, and as before, I have most likely unreasonable overly-ambitious plans that it will be a thriving mess of veggies in my back yard.  My neighbor has cool plant-growing lights and kindly shared her space with some of my plants this year.

Next, I hardened off my seedlings for about a week.  I have this cool greenhouse-looking shelf that my sweet sister-in-law gave me for Christmas:

So, last year, my garden didn’t thrive too well.  I had my soil tested, and it was fine, so I’m guessing the main problem was lack of sunlight.  Of course, the drought didn’t help either.  This year, I had a guy come out and trim my large shade tree, so there is no longer a lot of shade on the garden.  Hopefully this will help my plants!

Next up was to get our garden area ready again.  It had been run over by weeds.  I tried bribing my children to weed for me, and they did help a little, but in the end, I ended up doing most of the work.  I decided that this year, instead of planting rows that my children continue to step in regardless of warnings to the contrary, I would make more of a square foot gardening layout, with a path in the middle.  Here’s some of my weeding progress…  See that nice plant in the bottom corner of the picture?  That’s my thriving oregano.  The only thing left from last year’s garden.

My awesome brother joined me for some garden prep work again this year.  He brought his tiller (and more importantly, my cute nephew Lane), and tilled up the garden for me.

The next step I’m quite proud of.  We put a layer of compost over the garden that came from MY VERY OWN compost pile!  I actually did something right!  It was nice, dark compost.  After we sprinkled it over the top, Travis ran the tiller over the soil again.

He also tilled me a little spot for my green bean teepee.  I won’t plant the beans until March, but they have a nice home waiting for them!

The next morning, it was time to plant!  Lila helped me get started.

And after a morning’s worth of work, I had all my seedlings and seeds planted.  Well, for now.  I’ll be adding some more in March and April.

Some random notes:

I got some soaker hoses, and it seems like one side is working better than the other, so I still may need to tweak that system a little.  A friend gave me these nice garden rocks and pavers, but I need a few more stepping stones.  I’ve been having a hard time finding more, but will need them, as that path inside the garden gets rather muddy when watered.

I’m trying my hand at some companion planting this year!  I’m hoping it will provide some natural pest control.  We shall see.

So what’s in the garden?  So far, I have planted seeds or seedlings for:

  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano (didn’t plant, but it’s still there)
  • Marigolds
  • Petunias
  • Tomatoes (in the garden) – Roma, Better Boy, and Beefsteak
  • Tomatoes (in e-buckets) – Roma, Better Boy, and Beefsteak
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Nasturtiums
  • Zinnias
  • Strawberries
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Snapdragons
  • Potatoes (in a container)
  • Broccoli (been growing for over a month in a container)

I’m also going to plant the following when it’s time:

  • Green Beans (both pole and bush)
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Okra

So, overly ambitious?  Probably.  But I’m excited anyway.  Of course, I’ll keep you posted with my successes and failures.

One last photo… these are half of my tomato plants.  On the advice of my gardener neighbor, I’m going to try growing these tomatoes in e-buckets this year.  Then I’ll compare them to the ones I planted in the garden and see which did better.  The e-buckets are easy to make, and don’t cost much.  I used colanders from the dollar store, and the buckets were given to me.  You can find step by step directions HERE.  Basically, the premise is that you create a reservoir of water in the bottom and a drain hole, so it never gets too full.  You water the plant through the PVC pipe, so the leaves do not get too wet, and the soil soaks up the water.  As I said, I planted half of my tomatoes this way.  I may do 1 squash plant this way too and see how it compares to those I plant in the garden, as I have one bucket left.

So far, so good!  Bring on SPRING!

~Mama Tutu

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About Laura

A Christian wife, mother, daughter, former educator, photographer, amateur chef, pretend gardener, alto 🎶, book nerd, cancer-survivor and laundry-hater.

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