Friday, May 11, 2012

Gardening 101

I am still making my way in the gardening world, and I still have a lot to learn. A lot! 

Besides my family, my plants bring me so much joy. 

It is definitely cheaper than therapy, and there are days when I need some therapy and I just go out and work in my beds. I always feel so much better.

 I feel that eating and putting up fresh vegetables is also good for my family. I am always excited to pull things out of the freezer in the winter to enjoy the blessings from our garden. I also go to the farmer's market if I need more to can or freeze. Our little garden can only produce so much, and I like to share with our neighbors. 

So here are some things that I have learned so far:

We used the raised bed method, and I really like it. It provides good drainage. I wish however, that I covered the grass underneath with a thick layer of newspapers to prevent grass from growing. Not a huge deal, but it would cut down on my weeding. 

Growing from seeds is really easy with some plants like squash, zucchini, bush beans, and okra. I am sure there is more things you can grow from seed plants, but this is what I planted.

Bush Beans

Salad Bowl Lettuce


I went to a local nursery, and got "scoops" of seeds for $1.00, and still have plenty for next year. 

With the left over seeds, I was instructed to leave them in the paper bags, place them in a freezer ziploc, and freeze them for next year. 

I sketch out my garden plans ...

         and laughed when Ken was helping in the garden and asked me, "Where is your sketch?" Oh, how that man knows me! I think sketching and reading helps you figure out how you need to plant your garden. Last year, I thought it was good to put about 20+ tomato plants in our raised beds, but learned that really did not work well. 

So this year I only have 14. :)

It is probably easier to buy tomato plants than growing from seed. I did try the growing kits last year, and most of my lived, but the maintenance was a little much for me. This may be easier for you, but I prefer to stick my tomato plants in the ground, and watch them grow. 

Also, it is good to pull off the "suckers." This would be where there is branch that forms a "Y" and in the middle of the "Y" there is another branch growing. Just pluck that one in the middle out. You can root it for another plant or you can toss it. 

Soil is important, but I have yet to do a soil sample. However, I recently read to do soil samples in the fall so that in the spring, you can be ready to garden. Right now, I just try to use compost and I get a few bags of garden soil from Lowes to mix in with the rest. 

And with plenty of water and fertilizer, your seeds will be sprouting in no time! I use Miracle-Grow on  my plants and vegetables in the past, but this year, I am using a nitrogen based fertilizer.

Hi-Yield Garden Fertilizer 8-10-8 - 4 lb. Bag

So if you are planting what are you growing and do you have any tips? 

What are your fresh from the garden vegetables? 


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