Things That Grow


Lately I’ve been obsessed with planting a vegetable garden. I just like the idea of growing things. The truth is that I have never been very successful at growing my own vegetables on any scale that could be considered worth the investment in time and money involved. With the exception of tomatoes and basil, I have failed miserably at attempts to grow any other food worth eating. Eggplants wither and turn odd shades of green and brown, completely unlike the shiny purple beauties pictured on the seed packets. Same with bell peppers, which end up misshapen and underwhelming in size.

Bell Pepper Plant

But for some reason tomatoes love our soil. We get so many that it becomes difficult to keep up. I mean, how many tomatoes can you eat? And each year there seems to be some volunteer plant that springs up in a planter. We always let them grow just to see what kind of fruit we get. One year we got beautiful big red tomatoes that were delicious. Another year, watery yellow flavorless golfball sized orbs that were inedible.

4 x 8 Raised Garden Bed

But this year I’m ready for a real garden. Last Fall we sold the redwood play set that our children had long outgrown and I used the space to construct two 4 x 8 raised beds. It didn’t occur to me at the time that filling 18″ raised beds with soil was not an inexpensive prospect. My wife likes to remind me that for the cost of the wood and dirt we could have bought our vegetables at Whole Foods for a couple of years. But what is the adventure in that? Anyone can buy food. It takes real effort to plant, grow, and ultimately kill it.

Undaunted by my lack of horticultural skill and knowledge I bought seed packets and sowed rows of vegetable deliciousness. In November. After a few weeks, little green sprouts poked through the dirt. Our green harvest was on the rise!

Beets in the Garden

They never progressed past the point of little green buds. Months passed and there were no bushels of beets, leeks, ears of cord, carrots or green beans. Just little tips of green, afraid to venture further into the world.

I suppose I should have invested in a gardening book along with the redwood and soil.

But this year it will be different. I will not be denied my harvest! This weekend we hit the nursery and I doubled down. Beets, eggplant, basil, tomatoes, onions, leeks, green beens, peppers and more went into the earth on Sunday. And as a measure of insurance I bought a watering timer that will ensure our little green friends get a drink on a regular schedule. My wife thinks I’m nuts, which is actually highly likely.

Wish me luck urban gardeners, because I really have almost no idea what I’m doing…

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153 Comments

Filed under gardening, Photography

153 responses to “Things That Grow

  1. Hunting

    Vegetables are pretty smart; they have, after all, evolved over millions of years. If you listen to them, they’ll explain what they want….

  2. Love your post. I know exactly how you feel. Good luck to both of us!

  3. I am with Felicia….Last year Jimmie planted a vegetable garden that cost us several hundred dollars….we could have bought a lot of tomatoes and zucchini for the price. And then the heat hit and that was it…I made home made spaghetti sauce….could have bought lots of Ragu for what this little adventure cost. But Jimmie had fun….

    • Growing things forces us to get in touch with our inner hunter/gatherer. It challenges us. We all secretly wonder if we would survive as pioneers. Growing a garden is like a sailing in a pond as a test to see if you might survive the Pacific Ocean.

      So far, all tests indicate that I would probably die.

    • Try starting your plants from seeds, all of them. You will need a grow light so they will not get all spindly like when they grow on a sill. Just harden them outside for a while before planting. Other then a little soil amending, I don’t spend that much.

  4. Brian just started his gardening efforts this last week. He planted me some Roma tomatoes and bell peppers. That’s all I’ll eat. Not sure what all else is going out there….or rather it will grow or not! We’ll see soon enough.

  5. nice work – enjoy gardening! … maybe canning next?

  6. Excellent post (I can so relate!) How gratifying to see those first little green sprouts!

  7. Inspirational! I can’t even keep a cactus alive! πŸ™‚

  8. I can identify with that! I have been trying to grow a few vegetables on and off in decently large pots. The eggplants let me down after a few pretty flowers (I have a lingering suspicion that it was in fact me, who let them down in some way 😐 ) However, basil and green chillies have always turned up pretty well. In fact I have a nice number of green chillies hanging from a 20 cm tall plant which I am desperately trying to convince mom to use in her kitchen, before they change color. It’s more fun plucking them fresh from the plant and using in your food than storing them πŸ™‚

  9. canuckmusic

    My husband and I are burgeoning urban gardeners. Tomatos and basil are also our two best successes so far, and thankfully our two favourite summertime eats! Another forgiving plant for us has been the super chili (if you’re into hot food this is delicious). Each year we learn from some failures and make changes, and this year we’re experimenting a lot more with growing straight from seeds indoors and transplanting in a few months.

  10. Reblogged this on LifeDelicacy's Blog and commented:
    This is a season for growing, as well as planting!

  11. The raised beds look great- good luck with the project!

  12. I would love to start a garden; I just didn’t get my act together this year. With all the tomatoes you’ve gotten, you ought to learn how to can. That way you could have all kinds of tomato products even after the plants have stopped producing for the year.

  13. When I was 10, I used to love growing bean plants. Take lima beans, plant them in a cup of dirt, and watch it grow. Just seeing the neck of the sprout protruding was a thrill. I grew dozens of them. Thanks for sharing. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

  14. Yes, where is the adventure! πŸ™‚ You are so right. Anyone can buy food- it takes real courage to try to grow it! I’m doing better on the starting-from-seeds route, but I thank my lucky stars I have a supermarket back-up plan. Lovely photos!

  15. Thanks for all the kind words everyone. Happy to report that the garden is still alive! This is my first post to go “freshly pressed” and I wasn’t quite ready for the amount of emails in my in-box!

  16. I started an urban kitchen garden last year and now its a social enterprise and i am my helpers are just making it up as we go along. Tell me about raise bed we are going off to repair one tommorrow with nails and yet more wood glue. Pics are lovely. I will post some of mine v.soon

  17. I started an urban garden in London last year and now its a project a social enterprise bringing community together and i was not a gardner amazing were passion can take you. Love the work want to know about bees as I plan to put those in, in the Summer.

  18. Hello — and congrats on being “Freshly Pressed.” It’s an overwhelming honor! First, as for your gardening talent, there’s nothing wrong with tomatoes and basil –just add some mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. Yum! But if you want to go further, you can check out some other amazing resources. There’s one called Blotanical, which is a search engine of sorts for garden blogs. There is a link on my site, as well as links to some of my favorite gardening blogs. Cheers!

  19. I worked on a farm and I still have trouble with gardening…sometimes it’s so easy though…I think it depends on your expectations and how much time and knowledge you have to put into it…getting some professional(or amateur) help might be worth. Sometimes though it’s the idea that counts…when it comes to kids I think it’s good to just allow them to have the experience, which is why I suggest giving kids seeds to plant and a container to use as an “Easter basket” on my most recent blog.

  20. Reece Fowler

    Growing your own is always better. Especially fruits like strawberries. Strawberries in the shops are varieties bred for shelf life rather than taste. You can grow the tastier varieties at home, and they don’t need shelf life. Shop strawberries are also harvested before they are fully ripe, as is the case with many fruits. Home grown ones are ripened fully on the plant and they taste much better. The food you get is also fresher than you get in the shops.

    I got an allotment this year, and I’m growing lettuce, cabbage, brussell sprouts, potatoes, broad beans, strawberries, raddishes and a blackberry bush. It isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s quite easy when you get the hang of it.

  21. Liked it! Good luck with your gardening.

  22. mackerelskies

    How funny, I logged in today just to triumph over my very first *successful* attempt to grow something. Allow me to share my little triumph: http://i.imgur.com/Q46q5l.jpg – not much for some people but a whole flower all on my own is a big fat headrush for me!

  23. Great post – I love growing things and watching new life spring from the brown earth. Wishing you a Happy Harvest ahead of time πŸ˜‰ Namaste~*

  24. Bee

    Congratulations on being FreshlyPressed.

    And good luck with your vegie gardening. It is more than worth it once you work it out and start eating your very own food.

  25. good luck, nice blog!
    internetfavs.com

  26. Janet

    Bless your heart.. … you deserve healthy growing plants! It is a mystery about the skimpy growth…. no animal is ‘watering’ your plants? Watch and see if a pup or cat is being active in your fresh smelling dirt….
    also , I hear (and have proved it on flowers) that used coffee grounds sprinkled on soil is good for plants… also crushed egg shells.
    Good luck…. there is nothing like a plucked warm ripe tomato right off the vine…. oh so delicious! You’ll never find one in a store that could equal that taste!
    A previous commentator told you to ‘sweet talk’ your plants… that is so right… it works.. tell them how wonderful they are!!!

  27. Growing food can be very rewarding and easy. The most important part is having confidence in your ability as a facilitator of your garden. Reading can be very helpful, but ultimately practice will offer the most benefit towards progress. I’d suggest experimenting with a wide range of plants, as it seems you are doing. Some will do well, some won’t, due to a range of variables such as your soil composition and sun exposure. Make sure you’re planting the right things at the right time of year. Some annuals like early spring, some winter, some summer, etc. Another important thing is to make sure you have a good seed source. Find heirloom varieties that are from the area where you live. They will be more adapted then mail order seed shipped from the other side of the country.

  28. Nice photos and topic…. timely too with Spring upon us. Thanks for sharing

  29. I enjoyed your post and agree with you 100%. Everything is an investment, why can’t you have fun fulfilling an adventure? Enjoy and have fun!

  30. Enjoy your garden! Loved your post and know how you feel. Good luck this year.

  31. Mishellow

    If I had a 4’x8′ place to plant stuff that would be heaven~ All I’ve got is a balcony.

    Hopefully yours will turn out better than mine. I re-planted my seedlings three times already this year indoors and they pretty much grew to be 2″ weaklings then died. -_-

    It feels sad that sometimes it happens this way………

  32. Setting up the planters takes work and some money, but onces you have them you are good to go. I love growing food for my family, I love letting my kids plant their own seeds, water them, watch them grow, then eat them all summer long! I really think we all need to reconnect where our food comes from.

  33. integrityisyou

    I can’t wait to see what your garden looks like this year! I have always wanted to plant my own garden and eat fresh veggies. But I do not have the green thumbs that my parents both seem to have. Good luck,

  34. And I know exactly how it feels. How good it is to see those little tender sprouts of your sown seeds. Oh, what a feeling! It’s somewhat, maybe similar, if not exactly the same excitement as watching your own kiddos grow in time… πŸ™‚ Best of luck!

    Maricel

  35. viviennemackie

    Congrats on being “freshly pressed” and good luck with the garden.

  36. Good luck on all of your gardening adventures! There are few things that feel as gratifying as eating something you started from seed. Check out my blog to see photos from my garden last summer, you may enjoy them (it was my first year).

  37. I wish you alot of luck in your urban garden. I have tried to have one for the last 7 years of living in the city. Soo many squirrels and all kinds of other critters. I had a great garden in the burbs. No squirrels at all. The larger varments control the smaller ones apparently. That is my biggest problem is them getting to my food before I can. I tried some things in pots on the deck, they pull the plants out by the roots for some reason. Had to put netting around the base soil. Threw sheer netting over tomatoe plants once to stop them taking bites out of all the tomatoes before they could ripen on the vines. They wouldn’t eat just one or two, they filled up on taking a bite or two out of each fruit, how squirrerly!

  38. I just attempted my first vegetable greenhouse garden! Good luck this year!!

  39. It’s an investment and an education. You may come to rely on future harvests from this beginning. And the rising cost of fuel may mean we come to depend on these little personal plots for nutritional variety! I am growing a little half barrel of lettuce and herbs in a shady spot, and yes it’s expensive now and I’ve made big mistakes. But it’s all gain to me.

  40. Most of us learn to garden by killing plants. It takes years of practice to know how to kill certain plants. The harvest, no matter how feeble it can be, is always worth the effort.
    Gardeners also stop looking at the cost factor. Buying veggies is too easy. Eating your own home grown yields a pleasure that is difficult to describe with words, it takes a smile after the bite to give it meaning.
    Stay with it, you will prevail, and the harvest will become bountiful beyond your imagination.

  41. Reblogged this on sweetdreamzztextiles and commented:
    The family plan tomorrow is to start on our vegetable garden so will be following this blog.

  42. nowwhatsmyname

    i will start my home garden this month for the first time. well, we are going to move there first.

    good luck to your desired harvest!!! thanks for sharing this… πŸ™‚

  43. Just planted my garden too. Best wishes.

  44. What a fabulous adventure. I too experienced an “epic fail” with my bell peppers. Although they were tiny and not good to eat, they were certainly great for a laugh and many smiles.
    Amazing that I did not think of buying a good gardening book.
    Heirloom tomatoes did well anyway and so did the romaine lettuce. I did discover that if you harvest random lettuce leaves rather that the entire head you eventually end up with a lettuce “tree” that flowers. Who knew!

  45. Julio Eiffelt R R

    Nice., I’ve been growing a soybean in my house for small scale like u did. but, i was doing that on polybag. green curtain also a another option to make our garden more beautiful , because can be used to protect from heat of sun, specially on tropic region like in Indonesia.
    Great Post. πŸ™‚

  46. Evs

    Neither did we when we started, but still things grew. You are going to love the fresh veggies!

  47. I like your setup. I’ve always wanted to build the garden that way, but we pretty much just plant in the ground for now.

    My mom had a garden in the back yard when we were younger and I loved it. So now I love doing it again, but I realize I know less about it than I thought I did. I usually do okay, but I have completely lost my tomato plant due to all those tiny holes in the leaves that I later realized were some type of bug nibbling away at my plant. My strawberries are nowhere near sweet, but they’re growing. And everything else seems to be okay (for now) so I can understand what anybody who has lost plants is going through. I think it’s a learning experience, but well worth the effort in the end. So even if things die, or don’t produce really well, I don’t think it’s a fail because you learned and had fun in the process. Plus if you do it with family it gets in some quality family time.

  48. Thank G. Finally some down to earth (…) realism in GIY (grow it yourself)!
    I have the seeds and the books and have still not started (thanks to the free range hens, duck, guineafowl, dogs (slugs, frogs, foxes, etc.etc.). They say it is easier to grow berries; need less attention.

  49. I know exactly how you feel. I do the same as you now and you know why some veggies are cheap and some are more expensive:p

  50. I always say that most of what I know about gardening was learned by trial and error – emphasis on the error! The book that I always recommend to my students (yes, I teach people how to grow veg) is The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch. For a backyard garden, it’s the only book you’ll ever need. Good luck and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  51. Kelly

    We’ve just finished building our raised beds and are ready to fill them with lovely dirt and then seeds – thanks for the inspiration!

  52. Since I moved two years ago I don’t have a garden anymore but i am trying to grow herbs in window boxes (not that successful right now)

  53. Good luck with the growing. I felt the same as your wife when my Hubby bought a huge greenhouse. I calculated the volume of produce the cost could buy too! I am now a complete convert and this year we are really enjoying the benefit of a huge green house.

  54. christine

    Believe it or not, I consistently kill of basil and tomatoes too! Wishing you a bountiful harvest with minimal teasing from your wife. πŸ™‚

  55. I have had similart experience you have. It was almost a year back. I summarised my experience with the veggies in my home garden through a blog post on my site ‘Wonders of Pakistan’ You can read this by taking the link.
    http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/good-soil-good-harvest-2/
    I intend to put up few other posts too on this subject. Next in thes eries is going to be ‘The Seeds’. And I fully agree with Anthropogen when he/she says that:-

    Growing food can be very rewarding and easy. The most important part is having confidence in your ability as a facilitator of your garden. Reading can be very helpful, but ultimately practice will offer the most benefit towards progress. I’d suggest experimenting with a wide range of plants, as it seems you are doing. Some will do well, some won’t, due to a range of variables such as your soil composition and sun exposure. Make sure you’re planting the right things at the right time of year. Some annuals like early spring, some winter, some summer, etc. Another important thing is to make sure you have a good seed source. Find heirloom varieties that are from the area where you live. They will be more adapted then mail order seed shipped from the other side of the country.

    Nayyar Hashmey
    http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com

  56. I love gardening its rewarding to watch what you planted begin to grow and thrive because of what you did to help it!

  57. At least Tomatoes and Basil go really well together! :] xx

    • Yes, they do! I actually thought of making mozzarella just to complete the circle (seriously!)

      • And then you could get on board with growing wheat and making your won pizza bases and pasta… maybe even move to Italy and open a restaurant, although… you may find that suddenly all your chard and beet leaf start to flourish and your tomatoes go down hill, also, moving to italy might not be convenient. haha. However, growing and making your own food is great! Keep up the trying, and I hope you get some succeeding. :] xx

  58. I love the light sense of humour you used throughout the narration of your horticultural experiences! It sure made me smile πŸ™‚

  59. The Wandering Photographer

    Great post! I have been wanting to build raised bed gardens for a while but it does tend to be expensive.

  60. Good luck! I planted my first garden (in wine boxes) this year and it’s been so fun!

  61. My aunt and uncle live on an island and trade vegetables and animals with the people in their community. One thing they grew really successfully was celery. Have you tried that? Also because they lived on a slope they found it really challenging to keep nutrients in the soil as it kept washing away so they started terracing their garden with recycled lumber, as well as composting and they got a couple of chickens (both for the eggs and the manure). Their true ingenuity shone through when they were trying to grow potatoes. They went to the island rubbish dump and various building sites and rescued old bath tubs to use as planters for the potatoes. That way they could really control what kind of soil the plants were growing in. Why not try to use what you have around you? You’ll save yourself some money at the store and you can build your garden by working with recycled materials and seeds gathered from friends or from last years crop — that’s the real challenge.

  62. my grandfather was pretty involved in horticulture……he used spend tym watering them…n….all…….he had a connection with their soul……n thats the thing i beleive too……plants hv soul.gr8 blog.

  63. Last year was my first attempt at gardening…it is so much fun to eat what you grow. Happy harvesting!

  64. DebBee

    If you have any questions maybe I can help….don’t hesitate to ask. No expert here but love gardening and always have. Best of luck…be patient and never give up – gardening is nature at its finest & there really are no rules. Just enjoy!

  65. Those little plants are so lovely! And so full of promise!

  66. Lisa

    My husband and I are trying tomatoes and strawberries this year. We haven’t ever tried to grow anything before, so this is an adventure. We are both students with a passion for food so it seemed like the perfect time to try. Good luck with your garden!

  67. Love this post! Made me literally LOL, especially this part, “Anyone can buy food. It takes real effort to plant, grow, and ultimately kill it.”

    I wish I could contribute some knowledgable advice about gardening but I am far behind you. When we move back to our home in CA (currently in TX while the Hubs is deployed) I plan on creating an above the ground garden as well. (Might as well do something with the mini-desert in our backyard.) I’m nervous but at least if I can get tomatoes to grow my husband would be happy, he’s the only one in the family who likes them.

    Enjoy your weekend and great job on committing to a successful garden this go around.

  68. I too had the same problem until I read about vegies needing nitrogen. I used chicken manure last year in order to supply this and I have had wonderful results. Good luck with the garden, it is a noble hobby!

  69. good story. personally, I love to plan rose garden.

    • When we bought our home over 15 years ago the 96 year old lady had a selection of roses randomly planted around the garden. Even though we tore out the entire yard and started over, we saved those roses and planted them in their own little rose garden. I just couldn’t live with the idea of killing them!

  70. nice post, I hope the passion for planting and nurturing it will not leave you. better luck next time. gardening is like Love which is necessary for our existence. if you wishes to love someone, you should try admiring and planting things like vegetable. it softens the heart.
    http://www.trueloverelationship-advice.com

  71. I have always bought flowers on the pot and would put it in our guest room, not just forgetting to water it,yes, I would get lazy sometimes and not do it, the plans always die. I mean what am I suppose to do, I am humane, I forget things. But seeing the plans die, I felt guilty, so I would always water them, but no result. So I stopped buying plans eventually.

  72. I’ve not grown plants in anything but pots for the last 26 years – since I’ve lived in Hong Kong. But, to my complete amazement, plants seem to thrive, even though the pots don’t seem that big. We have trees of 20 feet high that flower each year, and even non tropical plants, like honeysuckle and wisteria, seem to do well. Someone once said that plants are ‘great survivors’ – clearly, he was right!

  73. Love this post! Made me literally LOL, especially this part, β€œAnyone can buy food. It takes real effort to plant, grow, and ultimately kill it.”

  74. Nice read. Congrats for being freshly pressed.

  75. Good luck to you! Gardening can be fun (when you get nice, shiny veggies), but it can also be very frustrating. I’ve had those puny eggplants, but guess what? They still taste good πŸ™‚

    You will find what works for you – and be all the more proud because of it.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  76. Loved your post!
    Plants like specific soil ph and other growing conditions. Most of all they love a soil which isn’t too sandy, or contains too much clay. Add plenty of compost, and mine are usually pretty content. Compost and water, the rest sorts itself out eventually. Enjoy your garden and listen, after harvesting the first few batches of veggies your wife will agree that this was a great idea after all. There is nothing quite like growing your own food and harvesting it fresh, as you well know. Besides you know exactly what is and isn’t on it. I don’t know how hot it is in your area, I live in the Midwest and I grow lettuce in my tomato containers first, and then, once that’s all eaten up we add plenty more compost, some manure and grow tomatoes. Keep a garden diary the first two years or so and record what and when you do what. That helped us immensly. Bon Chance!

  77. Good luck with your garden, it is soooooooo worth it, beyond the financial investment.

  78. lijiujiu

    Excellent post. I like green too and good luck with your gardening.

  79. Good luck and keep us posted!

  80. I really love gardening. its great hobby.

  81. Gardening is so amazing and enjoyable. One of the most important things to know, however, is that there is something called “hybrid” and “heirloom” seeds. Hybrids produce seeds that either produce an unrecognizable plant or a plant with unrecognizable fruit. These plants don’t reproduce and are sold at all the stores. Heirlooms are a bit harder to find, but not impossible. These plants have not been genetically modified, and will reproduce as long as you can keep them alive. They usually taste better than the hybrids. Also, look out for diseases and bugs! Our whole garden got blight about two years ago, and it spread like wildlife. The entire garden died. Of course, after we got rid of the disease, we started another garden with our new knowledge and actually did pretty well. It was fun.
    Anyway, your post is wonderful. Good luck with the garden!

  82. I’m sorry about your eggplants – they are the kings of my summer garden and absolutely beautiful. DId you give them tons of sun? Does it get really hot where you are?

    • It does get very hot here in the summer, but I think the demise of my previous garden was inflicted by me, not mother nature. I am hoping the raised beds, watering timer and a full hive of bees for pollination will turn things around this year. So far, so good…

  83. Congrats on FP! I’ve recently become interested in planting, growing and killing my own plants as well, so I really enjoyed your post – it made me feel like I’m not alone. lol! Good luck with this year’s harvest! Keep us posted on how it works out… πŸ™‚

  84. = )
    You’ll do it one day since you are working on it, God willing.
    Keep on learning and discuss the problem you face with experienced people.
    Never give up, hope you the best : )

  85. jamieaaron03

    Hope it all works out, I’m about the same way but I hope this is my good year too! You can always make spaghetti sause when you have to many tomatoes, it takes a ton of them!

  86. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Spring time is growing time. I relate to struggling to grow things.

  87. Devon Begg

    haha, I like your sense of humour! I consider gardening to be a sort of meditation (maybe an adventure too). Good luck with it – I’ll be waiting to see your results!

  88. I can relate so much to the part about not having been able to grow anything worth eating, yet. I’m sending positive vibes and hoping you see great progress, then perhaps I will be re-inspired to try again in my own little urban garden!

  89. My parents both have green thumbs. If you need any help; of the internet variety; just ask.

  90. Pingback: Green « No diet forever lifestyle

  91. Great post! I am about to start growing tomatoes and I don’t know much about it, so we’ll see how it goes. πŸ™‚

  92. Talking With Bees

    Great blog. It is also worth considering plants, flowers and herbs that are bee-friendly. I have been researching this and have a page on my blog to encourage people to use Bee-Friendly Plants.

    Also, as you are an Urban Gardener, looking for the good life, you might also be interested in Urban Beekeeping. It’s another great way to enjoy living in the city or suburbs. The page I have linked to gives some details about what to consider. Urban honey is also of great quality due to the plant and flower diversity.

    There is also a new type of beehive in the UK which is suitable for suburban beekeeping. I have written a bit about it – Beehaus Review. It makes beekeeping a bit more accessible.

  93. I’m actually glad to see someone else who shares my madness! My husband thinks I’m nuts too, something to that I suppose! (the world needs diversity anyway)! I have big ideas every year and start imagining months early, what I will plant, and how amazing everything will turn out. When reality hits, not everything turns out as best as I dreamed up in my head! But…but…I keep trying. This year I am vowing to get a good cantaloupe crop! (fingers crossed). I hear fish leftovers ground up and added to water give a great boost to the plants. Good luck and keep us updated!

  94. A few suggestions:
    Pay close attention to your planting zone and weather reports. Both are crutial to successful crops.
    Good choice with the cedar raised beds…and drip hoses.
    A good book to have on hand is “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” by Edward C. Smith
    Gook luck this season!

  95. YWS

    The very best of luck! Gardening is an absolute joy when things grow – I would also advise doing some reading. That way at least you’ll sort of understand the time-frames, eg. when to sow seeds, when to plant out, when to harvest etc. Then you can base your planting patterns around that which will be dependent on your weather and what region of the world you live in. We recently planted two fruit trees, Victoria plum and Concorde pear – although there’s a bit of a wait until we can have any hope of decent fruit…

  96. Not that you need yet another comment to read. But I would check out Mike McGrath’s program on your local IPR station. He used to be the editor for organic gardening magazine. My dad’s garden took off like crazy after he started adopting some of their basics. And he believes in saving money so you’ll know the difference between experience and a snow job with your local retailer.
    Good luck!

  97. Keep trying!! Love raised beds, they seem to work the best for me. I just wish I had more!

  98. its like a breath of fresh air when someone tries the unknown. anyone can go to their local supermarket and buy things they need, but not just anyone has the courage or desire try something new; to make their own way without
    relying on anyone else to provide. gardening is almost a lost art, I would love for it to be revived, it can be done! good luck with your adventure

  99. Good luck with your garden. I hope it is fun and rewarding for you. Last year I started my first garden but keeping it alive during the Texas drought was difficult. In the end it would have been cheaper to just buy the veggies at the store with the amount of water I put on them. I haven’t yet decided whether I should try it again this year.

  100. Betsy

    I am obsessed with growing things too! Unfortunately, I’m a student and that is just not going to happen with all this homework I have going on. But all those fresh veggies…! It’s fun to dream. Good luck on your gardening adventures. πŸ™‚

  101. Good Luck and Great Post!

  102. James

    I am planting my first vegetable garden this year. I am planting garlic, onions, and potatoes outside. I plan to plant strawberries and tomatoes in inside my house with those hanging upside down planter things. I hope your garden is fruitful this year. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am personally good with rose bushes and trees but this is my first time trying a vegetable garden.

  103. I laughed out loud! This sounds like my garden last year. Huge beautiful tomato plants with no blossoms – due to the heat?? Who knows. Finally in September, it started to bear fruit and I had tomatoes ripening for the rest of the year. My best success has been with swiss chard. It comes back every year. My kind of plant. I moved from the good earth of Nebraska to the Ozarks – our main crop is rocks!

    • I understand! I’m trying to convince myself that the dandelions that grow with vigor in our yard are actually perennial salad greens.

      • Funny, I was just talking to my Mom about making Dadelion Wine!! Or at least use them for salad greens. It would give me something that I could point to with pride and say, “I grew that!”

  104. Good luck! I suppose you plan to make us up to date with your harvest? Tell us how your growing things are doing in new pleasant posts. πŸ˜€

  105. see how the platns grow is a passionate job…
    you need to be patient and very meticulous.
    Also is so amazing how you plant your own vegetables is more healthy and a good hobby
    amazing job πŸ˜‰

  106. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Your garden is lovely, as is your blog.

  107. alliumstozinnias

    I recommend Square-Foot Gardening. Your library might have a copy (was a PBS show ages ago, apparently, but the book has been re-released since then). And some others from my reading list are here (includes someone else’s recommendation of the Vegtable Gardener’s Bible):
    http://alliumstozinnias.wordpress.com/our-reading-list/

  108. Sarah D.

    From one black thumb to another: Good luck! My skills have improved marginally, but you’re being more active about this than I am, so your possibilities are still there!

  109. wishing you all the luck I can give. πŸ˜‰ Last year my little garden didn’t do so well. this year I made it a point to do whatever Munster and I can do.

  110. kelseywood

    Planting veggies in November isn’t that crazy. Hardy greens and members of the broccoli family will survive the winter. They won’t grow much with the short days and cold temperatures, but they’ll be the first to flower and fruit come springtime. Last summer, I planted chard, arugula, broccoli, and cabbage, which grew nearly to maturity by late fall. All fared well over the winter with just a layer of leaves to keep their roots protected. As the days have been growing longer, the broccoli has developed beautiful flower heads which we ate for dinner tonight. The first harvest of the year!

  111. Good luck to you in your garden! I have been gardening for about 10 years. I started with a little 5 by 5 plot (a spot of lawn my landlord let me dig up). Now I have 7 raised and 2 non-raised beds that I plant in. It is one of the most rewarding things I do. It is all about trial and error and talking to other gardeners in your area. I have learned more from my gardening neighbors than any book has been able to teach me.

  112. I love those raised beds they look great. And if you do happen to get those yellow/green tomatoes again, then I highly recommend you try making ‘green tomato chutney.’ I made this last year from the unripe tomatoes we had left at the end of the season and it was surprisingly excellent πŸ™‚

  113. I have had amazing success growing peas in a pot on my third story fire escape. They sprouted almost instantaneously and now resemble “chia” hair. I can’t wait to see them entangle themselves around the metal hand railings.

    Other than peas, I’ve had my ups and downs starting plants from seed. Somedays I wish I could just set my ego aside and buy grown plants, but that would ruin all the fun. Oh gardening!

  114. I love it! I would give anything to have the space to build a vegetable patch!!!!

  115. Best of luck! Gardening isn’t easy (though a lot of people make it sound like it is!) Are you starting with plants or from seeds?

  116. Good luck! I think you’ll find that you will learn LOTS from experience, what works well for you, what you like to grow and eat. A word of warning though, collecting seed packets and plants is a bit addictive πŸ™‚

  117. Ah growing things is the key to sanity, along with taking beautiful photographs! Janine

    • So far I’m happy to report that all of the little green things are still alive and doing well, with the exception of the basil, which is somewhat ironic. I’m thinking that the basil is anti-social and it wanted no part of being in a raised bed with all the other plants.

  118. Reblogged this on Sammi 457 – Pondering & Procrastinations and commented:
    Another newbie gardener full of hope ! – fingers crossed for him !

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