Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Setting Up Our Vegetable Garden

Two summers ago, we started our first vegetable garden...and by "vegetable garden," I mean three tomato plants and some overgrown thyme. You have to start somewhere, right?

We had mixed results. There was a bumper crop of tomatoes, but I lost heart after the mail lady saw me in my canning apron and asked when I was due (I was not expecting) and then I went inside and my apron caught on fire. True Story. It was a super fun day.

We had good intentions last year, but every time T took a weekend off, I had somewhere to go, or he had somewhere to go. It just never happened. And then I spent the whole summer admiring other bloggers' vegetable gardens online and being insanely jealous over their fresh produce.

This year, we vowed not to let anything get in the way of our dreams of fresh vegetables straight from our own yard. It took us a couple of weeks because T hurt his back, but I am pleased to say our garden is in and we have life back there!

We started with a pretty rough Before:

Our back yard is just over half an acre, and the area to the left of our addition is the perfect spot for a garden. We can't use it for much else, as the entrance to the crawl space and a sump pump are there.

T started by marking off the area to be tilled with some stakes and leftover boards from his parents' house.

He spread some compost out over the area and then used his dad's rototiller to till the soil and mix everything up really well. Some people were really excited to watch...

T made sure to dig down far enough to place the first layer of boards, drilling them into the stakes for support.

The next layer went right on top and was also drilled into the stakes:

The girls "planted" their own stick garden.

After, with a few tomato plants from T's parents:

Soon, it was my turn to work. I really wanted to do lettuce, but it was too late in the season, so we settled on:

  • Tomatoes
  • Green, Red, and Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Two Melon Plants
  • Chives (from his parents)
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries (Natalie's personal request)

I don't have a spot indoors to nurture seedlings, so we purchased plants this year from our local nursery.

It's been so much fun to peek out the window each morning and 1) Make sure there are no rabbits eating my stuff and 2) Watch the plants grow. Our garden is really coming along....this shot was taken last night:

There are still some major updates that need to be made in our yard. I had T till up the ground in front of the fence, next to the garden. I planted some peony plants, some potted rosemary and more tomatoes, and I have two small knock out rose bushes waiting to go in as well. I'd love to have a nice border between us and the neighbors that doesn't give us a straight on view of our lovely chain-link fence. I'm pretty sure I have a window box that can hang on the fence behind the garden to grow some more herbs.

What about you?

{Do you enjoy gardening, or do you get produce on the produce aisle (where I buy my lettuce!)?


  1. What a great garden! I love the boots the girls are wearing! We started our first vegetable garden this year and I'm excited to say it's doing really well so far! We are doing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and a few herbs. We also planted a peach tree and blueberry bushes. I think it's great for kids to understand where food comes from and how much work goes into producing, well, produce. :)

  2. I have garden envy!
    With our move we won't be planting a garden this year - I'm hoping for a really nice farmers market in our new town :)
    Keep us posted when it's harvest time!

  3. Loved reading your story this morning! The beginning is hilarious...especially to me because I have those same moments! Who knows what I'll bring to a day just wind me up and let me go!

    The hubs and and I started our garden last year...and by garden I mean a Topsy Turvey Tomato plant hanging from a tree. (LOVE me some tomatos) It was such a boost to our confidence (don't laugh) we decided to start our own vegetable garden, much like your new one. We planted cucumber, peppers, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, squash and you guessed it MORE TOMATOES. We're excited to see how they turn out. I'll keep ya posted! xo

  4. This is so funny because the mail lady at our other house asked me "What I had" the other day. I must have looked confused because she continued, "A boy or girl?" I told her that I wasn't pregnant and she said, well you don't look pregnant now but over the winter I thought you were because you were wearing oversized jackets. WTH? I just had to laugh.

    Your garden looks great. Our new house garden doesn't get nearly the sun of our old garden, so it's going really slowly. I blame Ryan because he chose the garden location. (Wife of the year.)

  5. Hoopeing for rain to hold off anther couple days here so we can get our veggies in. We downsized our garden over the years. Going from 5 kids at home to just hubbie and I ment we did not can or freeze near as much. But we are now retired and plan on a bit larger this year again. Time to make sauces , pickles, and can jellies etc once again. to save a bit of money.

    Your garden looks great and I know you certainly will love the fresh veggies . Nothing beats a fresh picked tomatoe right out of the garden of a batch of fresh picked green beans cooked up with some bacon and onion.

  6. We're doing our first garden this year... I'm doing my best to document it (mostly for my Mom!) on my blog! :) So far we haven't harvested anything (too early?), but everything is still growing, which for me is a HUGE success!!! I bought 4 tomato plants (I thought my husband liked tomatoes- after 6 years, I should know right?!?) but he doesnt, so I'm thinking I'll be canning LOTS of sauce!

  7. Wow, you are going to have a bumper crop this year. Those zucchinis will get so HUGE, watch out, they may take over your garden. Now the fun starts, looking for bugs and diseases on the plants :) growing a garden is so much fun, but also so much work, but I love it.

  8. Fun! I haven't yet taken the splurge to raised beds but I do have a cute bed with strawberries and tomatoes. (None of the produce makes it into the house...I usually treat myself when I'm working in the garden!)

  9. Your garden is looking great! Can't wait to see pics at the end of the summer. And the girls are so cute with their stick garden :)

    I don't have a garden yet, but we subscribe to a CSA box so I get local produce all summer long! (If you're interested, I rave about my CSA box here:

  10. Wow! It looks like it's doing well! I want to have a garden and flowers and grass SO bad! We just got moved in though, so that's one of those things that has to wait!

  11. Craig does the gardening around here. The first year was definitely a learning experience; hopefully we'll get a little more out of it this year. We've already had some lettuce (sorry!). I have high hopes for sugar snap peas soon!

  12. HOW FUN!!! And I LOVE the picture of your daughter watching in her little pigtail braids and overalls, PRECIOUS!!!

  13. So funny!!!! I would like a veggie garden and lots of colorful flower all around the backyard. I'm not really a great gardener (actually not at all, I can kill a pot of basil in no time!) but my hubby likes it (good for me!) so when he has time he likes to take care of the front yard.

  14. I love fresh veggies! Fresh cherry tomatoes are the best. :) That said, though, I'm not convinced I have instincts to grow living things? I'm cheap, though, so maybe that will be the fire under my butt that makes me plant a garden.

    That's too funny about your apron. Hooray for having better success so far this year! :)

  15. I'm so jealous. I bought 4 tomato plants and left them outside because I hadn't had a chance to plant them. I asked dh where they were and he said he didn't know. We have figured out that Sawyer must have thrown the plants away being a "helper" and cleaning up. So, I don't think we will be doing a garden this summer. LOL

  16. What a great garden you have and also a great husband for setting it all up! My husband just built our tiny raised bed yesterday. This is our first year having a garden so we are excited! I hope it works out :)

  17. That is awesome Amanda! I planted a few flowers recently so I know how much work y'all have done! I tried a potted herb garden, but only the basil is doing well- I don't think the rest got enough water.

  18. Love your garden!! Come on over to my blog and check out my garden too!! I love planting stuff and watching it grow!! Awesome job!

  19. You have the perfect spot for a garden. I'm jealous of your flat backyard, too! I'll bet you'll like your chain fence once you have plants growing in front of it. I'd take your fence anyday over those big wooden ones. Wonder if you could train some climbing roses to grow on it? That would be so pretty!

    I just got our garden in last weekend. My friend gives me plants and I had to wait until he offered them to me. I love watching them grow!

    Happy Gardening!

  20. Woot!! Your garden is in! that is super and it looks great! Can't wait for the future photos that you will be sharing! garden yet. We can't plant. Winds too high! 50 to 60 MPH everyday for weeks now!!
    And no rain since January!! Sigh.
    This may be a garden-less summer for sure.
    Enjoy yours

  21. Luckily for me my parents,and hubbys parents/grandparents have huge gardens, I'm talking at least 10 rows of yummyness. Usually we get a lot of fresh veggies from them. This year though my mom scaled her garden way back so I'm not sure how much she will have to share. We did plant a small garden in the back so we will see how well it does. You can read about my curb appeal and garden here.

  22. Amanda, It will be such a fun activity for your girls this summer! We have a veggie and herb garden as well, along with some blueberry bushes. I love using all the fresh goodies in our summer dishes!

  23. Your garden looks great! We planted a really small {2 tomato plants and 4 strawberry plants} garden this year. Next year I would love to do more, but we have to figure out how to keep the critters from eating everything first!

  24. What fun! The girls look too cute in their boots. I need to get my granddaughter some of those. :) I planted a garden last year and only my cucumbers thrived. I really don't feel like doing it again this year though. I hope your garden grows well this year.

  25. Ooh, how exciting! Good for you for giving it a try again! Looks great. I know NOTHING about gardening, but I decided to plant some cucumber, zucchini, and green beans a few weeks ago. I just planted seeds, not really expecting them to even grow. But they sprouted! It's amazing how fast they grow. I just hope I can keep them alive!


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