Monday, August 10, 2015

Planting a garden + what I learned

I knew I wanted to garden, but never had the space to do it. Condo living, doesn't allow for a backyard, so I found a local community garden that I could purchase a plot for a low fee. It was all new, never gardened in soil and tons of work. I had to build my own plot, with wood with no help and hand till the ground up. I put in tons of time, but eventually got everything planted.

this is how we started

Tip for soil, ours had a a lot of clay so I mixed in several bags of peat moss and organic compost. There are certain plants that prefer certain climates/temperatures and the best way to find out is to do a Internet search. We planted our garden a little late, next year we will plant soon after the last expected snow fall.

This year we planted:
Kale, this plant is a machine! You start snipping the ready leaves at the bottom and new ones will start popping up on top. 
Carrots, are a little tricky to know when they are ready. Hint: They take a really really long time. Like almost all summer, we harvest our first batch a few weeks ago and the new row won't be ready till fall.
Cauliflower, another very very slow growing plant. Its been in since early Spring and still has no vegetable on it. Hoping in a few more months
Butter lettus, is so good. Grows fast and can keep planting till fall
Radishes, one of the fastest growing plants. We have planted and harvested three times this Summer
Chives, easy to grow and good on baked potatoes
Parsley, is another machine. You trim the outside only and leave a nice health thick middle. I have been harvesting tons all summer and drying them out for herbs in bottles.
Cilantro, didn't work for me. They went to flowering the same month I planted them. Not good for full sun gardens. They need shade. 
Tomato plants, we have large ones and cherry tomatoes. They are slow growers as well, these I like to keep trimmed and keep the suckers off of. Kinda like you have to keep giving them haircuts. They need cages and stakes to hold the produce off the ground. If you don't they will get rot.
Squash, we just planted our winter squash and these little buggers grow fast! Ours has blooms already and we just planted a few weeks ago.
Bell Peppers, these are the funnest plants in my opinion. I never would have guessed that this little plant knee high can hold 10+ green huge bell peppers! We love looking for them hidden under the leaves.

I also planted borders with Yellow marigold flowers to try and keep some bugs away and bring in the bees for pollination of my tomatoes and peppers. At one point this summer, I had a ton of flowers on the plants but no vegetables. So I hand pollinated the blooms with a vibrating toothbrush, next week tons of tiny tomatoes everywhere! 

Our garden is 100% organic, no pesticides are used. I used a clay mixed with water and drop of organic vegetable based soap in a spray bottle to keep the bugs at bay. I also used 100% organic fertilizer, worm castings. 

This has been so fun and rewarding and a lesson about how food is grown for my son Caleb who is 8. We both like being active in a our community garden and to be part of like minded group who appreciates growing your own food. I have saved over 200$+ dollars in growing my own food this year. Seeds are only 1-2$ a pack and it yields tons of fresh food. Next year we have decided to expand and purchase a second lot for corn and beans, can't wait!

my son helping the community garden plant 

our garden a month ago

My son has loved this entire process so much, he finds so many bugs to play with and to actually get his hands wet and dirty is awesome


  1. I'm so jealous! I wanted to get growing this year but dropped the ball, it was hard to fit it in. Like you said, it takes a lot of time and it's a lot of work to amend soil and grow your own food. your garden is gorgeous, though :) I can't wait to get back to it.

  2. nice garden! i really enjoyed the photos especially the carrot =)

    mary ann

  3. Wow, you've really been working hard this year! I admire people so much that put effort into gardening and planting. I bet you will have some super tasty meals, and what a wonderful thing to grow up and take part in as a child. It's awesome that you saved so much money too, I really need to be on the ball next year for growing some food. :)

  4. Wow, great job K! I knew of course you had a son but didn't realize he's the same age as my Oliver. Yours looks like such a little man in that shot in the garden with the pinwheel. Your amazing gardening will be a memory for him forever. Teaching children how to grow and cultivate their own food has got to be one of the greatest gifts we can give them. Great post!

  5. I'm so glad you're having so much fun gardening! I have a small garden of my own, and it is very rewarding to be able to say "I grew this!"


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