Once upon a time, back in February of this year, my husband and I decided that the best thing for our family was to buy our first house 6 days before I was due to deliver a baby, clean and paint the entire house that next week, move in and unpack on Feb 14th, and then for me to go into labor that next evening. It actually was a pretty great plan, and one that went exactly as we hoped! HAH. After having some great help from extended family and friends, we were moved and mostly unpacked all within 36 hours. I then decided that it seemed like a good time to go into labor, so I did, and then delivered our wonderful baby at 8am the next morning. We were able to bring her home to OUR home and it was so special to be a little family in a little house that our little budget could afford.
I’ll post on some of my favorite features in the house later, but my favorite right now is a huge 54 x 10 foot garden bed that runs along the side of the house. 540 square feet of black goodness, just waiting for plants to go in….well, after I spent two weeks digging out entire root systems that have been there for yeeeeears. It seems as though the previous owners/tenants had some good ideas and planted some cool landscape, but they let everything go to seed year after year and controlled nothing. So, my maternity leave consisted of digging pounds and pounds of weeds out of our garden to get it ready for this summer.
I love to garden, but I wouldn’t say I always know exactly what I’m doing. I know generally that root vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes etc) need to go into the ground before the last frost, and lettuce, spinach, beans and peas, and brasicas (the broccoli/kale family) are cold weather seeds as well. But other than that, I add a little compost and make my little rows in ways that make sense to me, and plant away.
I think I may have gotten a bit carried away this year for our little family of three. We have: three different types of carrots, beets, spinach, marigolds, chives, black-eyed susans, two different kind of green beans, peas, onions, zucchini, seven tomato plants, six bell pepper plants, thai peppers, basil, oregano, cilantro, sweet peas, strawberries, melons, and cucumbers. Whew. If all goes well we will have enough to can and get us through the winter too.
Lots of people talk to me about being a black thumb, and say that anything they try to grow, dies. There is still a chance for you! I believe it! You only need 4 things to succeed:
1. Sun – Most plants need full to partial sun, so pick a spot where it gets plenty of it. I think this is where most people try to fudge and end up trying to use spaces that simply don’t get enough light; that’s gonna make for some sad sprouts.
2. Soil – Pick a good (I like organic) potting soil and fill a pot or container that has a drainage hole in the bottom. You can also buy plastic storage containers and drill some holes in the bottom. Remember that the soil is what holds moisture, so if it’s a small container, it will dry out quicker.
3. Seeds/Seedlings – Certain things are easy to grow from seeds, but if you aren’t sure, start out with a small plant that has already been sprouted. You can get these (especially this time of year) at most nurseries and even some grocery stores.
4. Water – This is what most people forget! Most vegetable plants need water at least once a day, and sometimes twice a day if it’s very hot or in full sun all day. Here are some tips for remembering:
– Put sticky notes somewhere in the house that will remind you.
– Plant MORE plants rather than less; bigger investment = harder to forget!
– Fill a large watering can when you do remember and put it right next to your container so it’s convenient and easy.
– Set a daily alarm on your phone.