well the last week has been pretty exciting in our backyard garden. we’ve gotten a lot of rain in the last month or so and it’s made all the difference. we got our first banana pepper! and we’ve already picked about 5 tomatoes with at least 20 more on the vine. our herbs are thriving and thanks to the trusty plastic owl we installed, no pests or critters to mess with our bounty. this girl’s first garden is turning out to be quite the success.
our cucumbers were getting a little out of control so we decided to use a lattice fence to have them tendril up, so they didn’t dominate our peppers (before and after pictured above). our okra is still growing, but it doesn’t seem to be producing anything yet, so we’ll see.
i’ve really come to enjoy the morning ritual of watering the garden each day, especially on the weekends when i can just kick back with a cup of coffee and appreciate the little oasis we’ve created.
last night we had a little indoor picnic (the mosquitoes are too much for al fresco) to celebrate our first harvest, featuring caprese salad with our fresh garden tomatoes and basil. i’m telling you, this basil is out of this world delicious. store bought may never cut it after this, i’ve been forever spoiled. it’s been so much fun watching our yard transform over the last year. we’ve already decided to double the number of garden beds as well as line our fence with some fruit trees. it makes me long for a bigger yard, but we’ll work with what we got and be happy about it.
i’ve been dreaming of a vegetable garden for years and this weekend we finally made it happen. the first step was to build garden boxes which was surprisingly easy. we made two 4 x 6 boxes a few months ago and got them situated in the yard after leveling the ground out and allowing for about 18-24″ of root depth. the whole process probably took about 4 hours.
a few tips about building garden boxes:
don’t use pressure treated wood. you don’t want those chemicals getting into your soil.
don’t make raised garden boxes larger than you can reach. if you plant veggies in the middle, you want to be able to reach them easily.
the height of your garden box should depend on the types of veggies you’ll be growing in it.
it’s always good to reinforce the corners of the box well.
i think our biggest obstacle was not knowing anyone with a truck. that seems impossible when living in texas, but it happens. so we rented one from home depot and headed out to the natural gardener (aka the happiest place on earth). i could spend hours just walking around here with my little red wagon taking in the sights and smells. the herbs section is heavenly. they also have a garden pharmacy where you can walk up with any question under the sun and get a friendly, comprehensive answer from one of their gurus. perhaps the best part is the unique soil blends they have for your type of garden that are sold in bulk. this saves lots of money. don’t buy 25 overpriced bags of low quality soil, just find a truck and get it here. the bag of soil above was how we learned the hard way how much soil was required.
we spent the afternoon wheelbarrowing a LOT of soil from the truck to the garden boxes, which is why it’s fun to enlist a little friendly help and put on some good music. i also highly recommend taking a sno cone break at some point. we went here for ours.
we had a mix of seeds and plants and the actual planting process is easy. in fact we questioned whether we were doing it right because you literally just dig to the specific depth required for that plant and then put them in the ground. the hardest part is actually planning your beds out. some tips that i learned about gardening were:
taller plants (tomatoes & okra) should be at the north end of your garden.
water with a soaker hose or drip irrigation and avoid wetting the leaves if you can to avoid any potential plant diseases.
it’s best to group plants with similar water needs together and perennials should be grouped together if possible.
if you’re going to grow summer squash in this area, do tatume squash. it’s the only type that is resistant to a particular type of moth that can take out your squash in less than 24 hours.
try companion planting! might as well plant herbs and veggies that can be friendly with one another. this is a great resource.
our garden consists of tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, banana peppers, slicing & pickling cucumbers, lavender, sage, rosemary, basil and thyme.
we decided to build a fence around it to keep the pups out. we plan on extending our garden eventually so we chose a very temporary fence design for now. now we wait for results.