Over the past month or so, my husband and I have been working diligently to cultivate a plentiful vegetable garden. Our hope is that we can cut our grocery bill significantly by eating from our yard. I’m planning on learning to can this summer so that we can enjoy our bounty all year around.
HOWEVER, this is only our second garden that we’ve planted together. And neither of us know anything. That being said, our whole gardening experience has been quite comical.
We had a group of boys from the school where my husband works dig the garden plot for us. I was sick to my stomach about it initially because the over-eager (but wonderful) boys made the plot too big. On top of that, the excess soil didn’t get raked back into the garden, so it looked more like a mud pit than a garden plot. After several weeks of turmoil, my husband shaped it back up for me.
Between my husband’s long hours and caring for Bug, gardening has been a challenge. I frequently have to dash outside and do my work in quick spurts while Bug naps. During the weekends (when we aren’t off running around), Jesse and I tag-team the gardening and entertaining Bug. We bought several starter plants from the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville (check them out–super great organization!) and then planted some seeds leftover from my father’s garden and ours from last year. We honestly didn’t think our old seeds would grow because they were old…but they did! Our starter plants struggled at first and I thought I’d lose them…but now they’re HUGE!
A couple of weekends ago, Jesse and I set out on the task of creating a bamboo lattice to support our tomatoes and beans. It was then that we realized our problem. We had been so excited to just plant a garden that we didn’t plan it out! Everything was scrunched together and about half of our produce wouldn’t be accessible for harvesting without stepping on other plants! After digging up and moving half of our plants (TWICE) and then digging out and doubling the size of the garden (those boys had it right the first time), I think we have the garden set up to be functional.
The comedy continues. When I sowed the seeds, I dumped multiple seeds in the same hole. In the case of our butternut squash, I discovered our seeds were moldy so I just buried them all in one spot thinking they wouldn’t grow. THEY ALL GREW! I had at least ten squash plants growing in one clump. All the beans had 3-4 plants growing from one spot. Needless to say, I had to dig them up and space them out better. Ohhh, meeee.
We initially put in eight tomato plants that we bought. My father then donated eight more to us. Then a staff at Jesse’s school donated tons of starter plants. He brought home 16 more tomato plants. We’re going to be rolling in those tomatoes this year!
We’re still in the process of putting up a lattice for the beans and new tomato plants. Our garden has grown from one small plot to a large plot plua two additional long stretches for ground vines (and we haven’t even put all our pepper plants in the ground!). We’re currently growing tomatoes, dinosaur kale, spinach, broccoli, basil, snow peas, green beans, a mystery bean, yellow summer squash, cucumber, butternut squash, zucchini, watermelon, cayenne peppers, and bell peppers.
There’s nothing better than harvesting your own fresh food!