Bit by the gardening bug

I’ve been working on honing my gardening skills for the past four years. In 2005, I participated in a couple community garden plots with a group of friends. That’s where Ava and I got our first taste of gardening. We liked it and we wanted more. :)

How’s this for a blast to the past?

In 2006 and 2007, not yet ready to commit to my own garden plot either in a community garden or my own backyard, I did some container gardening on my patio.

By 2008, I could stand it no longer and had to put in a “real” garden, so Jody and I cleared out a patch of grass in the backyard and I got to plant my first real garden on my own. I grew strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and green beans, as well as feverfew, sunflowers and chamomile. I planted everything way too close together because I was working with a very limited amount of space and totally underestimated how big everything would get. Still I got quite a bit of produce and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

This year, once again feeling the next to expand, I was hoping to find another patch of space in my yard that gets a decent amount of sunlight to convert into another garden. (It’s both a blessing and a curse that most of our backyard is shaded by the large trees that grow back there. It’s great because I don’t have to worry about the kids getting sun burned, but it’s a pain because there’s very little space to grow anything that requires sunlight.) After much deliberation (and cursing as we kept running into large tree roots), Jody and I decided on putting in two raised garden beds. Jody built the beds for me using both new and used wood. It would’ve been nice and significantly cheaper to get all used wood, but we didn’t have time to search for it for that long.

As of tonight, I have three little gardens in my yard (woohoo!) – the one that was already in place, and two raised beds, as well as some potted plants. So far I have planted seven varieties of tomatoes and two varieties of eggplant (all started by my friend Julie), basil, strawberries, five raspberry plants (but only 2 are currently growing), as well as cucumbers, yellow crookneck squash and zucchini that I planted from seed. I’m still itching to plant more (like green beans, carrots, greens, and watermelon at the very least), but I’m not sure I’m going to find the space for them this year, though I may be able to figure something out to sneak of few of them in. ;)

Today while Jody and Ava wheeled dirt to fill up the second garden bed, Julian and I collected worms (as I had done with both kids earlier in the week) to add to the dirt. My kids love worms and had no qualms about retrieving them from the compost bin (where hundreds, if not thousands, live).

Digging out worms: Yes, the kids are saying “Ewwww,” but only because I told them to. ;)

And now, for those of you who are curious, here’s a little tour of my garden. :) (FYI – These pics were taken with my iPhone so they aren’t the best quality.)

A view of my first garden (that we made in 2008), as well as the clothes line and compost bin.

Inside the garden this year: strawberries and feverfew (and raspberry plants growing in the pots outside the garden)

Inside the garden this year: more strawberries and cucumbers

The new raised garden bed: tomatoes and basil

The second raised garden bed: eggplant, tomatoes and squash

More pots on the patio with raspberries, volunteer dill and a yellow pear tomato.

I’m quite pleased with all that we’ve managed to get in this year and am thankful to Jody for building my raised beds for me. All of this digging in the dirt has been really good for me. I remember having this feeling last spring/summer too – gardening is very therapeutic. Now that the gardens are in we can again focus on finishing up redoing the backyard – a project we started about a month ago and still have a fair bit of work to do. It will be wonderful when it’s completed and I can sit back and enjoy it, of course while still getting my hands dirty as I dig out weeds.

Gardening is one of those things that seems to be in my blood. My mom always had a garden when I was growing up and I remember helping her pick green beans and eating some of them right off the plant. I hope my kids have fond memories of gardening with me (and playing with worms) someday too and decide that gardening is something they want to pursue and share with their kids as well.

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24 thoughts on “Bit by the gardening bug

  1. Looks like you have found a fantastic use for your new truck! And I can only imagine how wonderful your strawberries and tomatoes will taste – all with the help of your kids and worms, of course! This is the first year in ages that I have had a veggie garden – it is profoundly satisfying to eat what we have grown. Can’t get more local than that!

  2. Looks absolutely wonderful. And the pic of the kids gave me a chuckle. They look like they are going OOOO this is fun, not EWWWW, this is gross – even if you told them to say ew, they are obviously having a great time. LOL

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  4. I love the raised beds! I have been gradually expanding my garden every year, too. I have my eye on some raised beds in the next year or two. It’s amazing how quickly you can become hooked by all that digging in the dirt.

  5. Awesome. I’m having a go too. I have 2 community plots and a container garden. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying learning as I go along. And it’s educational for the kids. We do everything from seed, which is extra special I think, to watch it all grow from something so tiny. It’s amazing.

  6. looks gorgeous!!!! i am so impressed and a teensy bit jealous. this year i went from 3 pots to 5 and we’ve had a lot of rain so i’m hoping that will bode well for my tomatoes etc….maybe next year i’ll move into raised beds…can’t wait to see more:-)

  7. Love your garden! Thanks for sharing the photos, now I’m itching to garden. I had planned on doing one this year but late pregnancy made me far too lazy. LOL I wonder if it’s too late to get a few things going now.

  8. It’s looking really good, Amy! It is in the genes because your great-grandpa (my grandpa) George Cutler had a huge garden on Clyde Park in Wyoming, MI and, with 9 children and 40 grandchildren, there was a lot of sharing going on(and not just the vegetables, but the work too).

  9. looks amazing – we are partaking in a CSA this summer – but one where we do alot of the work and it’s amazing but also a wee bit overwhelming – my girl is learning all about where food comes from which was one of the main reasons we joined.
    cheers!

  10. i’m going to get some raised beds this year too! stupid moles keep disturbing my root systems and i’ve been planting things in plastic pots in the ground as a stop-gap measure :P

  11. Good for you! We started gardening last year with great success, and like you, have expanded this year. My son who is almost 4, really loves helping and seeing all of the foods grow, more than anything the fun part comes when we can pick things to eat.

  12. there is nothing as great as the success of a garden – not just one that makes fruit or food… but one that grows and looks more spectacular than expected…

  13. Nothing tastes better than eating food from your own garden. Good for you for using as much space as you can. I wish my yard was bigger, and I wish for a greenhouse. I think EVERYONE should have a garden, even if it’s just a few pots. Think of the difference it would make in our world if we all gardened just a little bit!

  14. I started my first veggie garden this year but I’m sure how much I grow is going to grow (haha) every year!!

    It’s addicting!

    I’m very jealous of your backyard by the way. :)

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