Friday, August 5, 2011

growing my first garden

Most of my growing up was on a large ranch just outside the city limits from where I live now. We almost always had a garden. We at least had pumpkins if only from tossing the previous ones out into a patch of dirt somewhere.

The last 4 years we've lived in homes with plenty of yard space for gardening, but I didn't take the time to try my hand at growing something on my own. Most of my hesitation came from having little to no success at keeping house plants or easy plants alive. I'd often forget about watering them or keep them in the wrong type of environment.

A good friend of mine has a very impressive vegetable garden and I finally decided to take a try at growing my own. We already had the raised beds, one full of strawberries that I decided to pay closer attention to this season. Of course the weather here didn't cooperate very well for strawberries and then I ran into a few pests: strawberry snails + sugar ants. I used google and surveyed my facebook friends who advised eggshells, coffee grounds, and human hair! Coincidentally I had just cut Kai's hair so I used all three and was able to save a lot of the strawberries. They turned out okay, but I've learned that ever-bearing strawberries should be moved to new spots and who knows how long those berries have been in the raised bed since they were here before we were.

On Memorial Day weekend I decided to plan veggies in our two other raised beds. A couple weeks before Ben was sweet enough to clear the beds of weeds and debris, then we worked together to add more nutrient rich soil. I planted Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, sweet dumpling squash, "slicer" tomatoes from starts, carrots, and sugar snap pole peas. I built a lattice out of bamboo arches and gardeners twine for the peas to climb. It only cost me $5 which was much cheaper than buying lattice or something premade for them to climb.

About 10 days after planting, the first sprouts started to come through. I was so excited that my garden was actually starting to grow!

6.8.11 garden

Malakai and I would go out every morning and check on the veggies. He loves helping...

6.8.11 garden helper

I was surprised by how fast things were growing, especially the pumpkin leaves, which were visibly bigger every day!

{I made markers out of a cut up milk jug}

Another week went by and everything continued to grow as I kept the weeds and pests at bay. I didn't use any chemicals, just suggestions I found through google and  knowledgable friends.


I did my best to keep up with the watering, but as our summer schedules got busier it got more difficult. Thankfully we've had pretty cool weather so nothing scorched. Ben then set up some sprinklers on a timer thanks to some timers that his dad let us have. Now we're able to water the garden automatically at 5:30am every day. On particularly hot days I turn on the sprinklers for a bit in the afternoon or evening too.

About 6 weeks after planting our garden had filled the raised beds!

{towering tomatoes + climbing sugar snaps in the background. spreading pumpkin + squash up front}

A little over a week ago it became evident that my garden was trying to take over the world...

{those tomatoes have cages in there somewhere + the pumpkin is creeping into the yard}

I had my friend Jamie come over to look at my garden and give me some advice. She was so sweet to help me out. She advised me on how to contain my tomatoes and how to tell when things were ready to pick. 

{peas + maters}

The next day I went to work on tying up my tomatoes with the gardener's twine I had from the structure I made for the sugar snaps to climb. I weaved some of the smaller branches back in to the cages and tied the heavier ones to the cages. Then I tied them up around both plants a couple times for added support. I also trimmed some of the limbs that would have just snapped from the weight of the fruit anyway. I also harvested 50+ sugar snaps. It took me about 45 minutes which ended up being a rather large and lengthy pain in the back. Gardening while pregnant isn't easy!


Earlier this week I picked another 50 or so peas and spotted a pumpkin forming! I'll be picking all the carrots this weekend + planting more in their place.


I shared the sugar snaps with our extended family and will probably have enough to pick new ones at least once, if not twice more. Now I'm just waiting on the tomatoes to get big and red while I pray that bugs + birds don't get to them first! Any tips are greatly appreciated.


I wish I could say that growing our own food has inspired Malakai to eat more veggies...but it's just not true for us yet. He at least tastes them before spitting them out, we'll keep trying!

What's growing in your garden?

Happy Weekend everyone!


  1. I started small this year since I've never had a garden. I have a hanging roma tomato plan, a strawberry pot, and a large pot with grape tomatoes, basil, mint, and cilantro.

    Everything is thriving, however my rosemary never came up. They were planted from seed and just never made an appearance.

    Next year I hope to go bigger. I'm thinking a couple more big pots :)

  2. I had all the best intentions with my little garden this year, but next year I will be setting a step back: a small herb garden. Yours looks great, you must have put lots of time and effort in it?!

  3. Meh. We are renting, gardening for me. Although next year I think I might try a little potted one on the deck!

    I guess I will have to live vicariously through your garden. What are you planning on doing with all your produce? Will you learn/do you already know how to can? I want to learn to just seems so self-sufficient.


thanks for responding, I love your feedback!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

certified site

certified site