The Makings of a Beautiful Salad–June 2012

Ah the garden, how I have missed you fresh salads!

Last year was our third summer in our first home and finally the right time for us to start a vegetable garden.  We moved at the end of May so the first year was out only because I thought it was too late and we had so many other renovations to do, year two was out because I was VERY pregnant with twins (due in September) and so year three was our time!  I won’t go into the details of last years gardening attempts but we ended up half tilling by hand then completely tilling by rototiller a 22 x 28 area for the garden.  I utilized about 1/3 of that last year and had very good success in spite of the multitude of rocks (pebbles through softball sized!).  I’d learned a couple things growing up with a mom-gardener but I learned a TON from a book called The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible  (love that guy and love the book) but I really learned the most from actually DOING it… which led me to the new ideas for a new year.

Looking back the garden was a real mess for most of the growing season last year.  I learned A LOT about gardening.  I tried to incorporate my new knowledge into how I planned for the next year.  I cut down on the seeds I purchased (I spent $50 in seeds last year, over half of which never got planted!!!) and made sure I planned out WHERE everything would go (at least vaguely, I changed my mind a lot) so I didn’t waste seeds again.  I also didn’t buy anything that needed to be started indoors because, having twin toddlers and being halfway through my third pregnancy in January I wasn’t confident I’d have the time/energy (I didn’t).

So, 2012 rolled around and I began to plan.  Being in my second trimester I couldn’t do as much of the garden renovations as I wanted so I had to wait for a “free” weekend before we tilled (aka my husband tilled).  Next was building the raised beds!  I’d found a great plan for cheap raised beds because cost is always an issue for us.  I went (with all three kids in tow) to find the supplies I’d need for the project.  Turns out Home Depot doesn’t carry loose fence pickets so I went to Lowes where they only had pine instead of the cedar (which acts as a pest repellent), oh well!  I also didn’t have the same kind of saw she had so I had to find another wood to use for my corners.  I chose a cheap railing wood, turns out it was VERY soft and cracked often when we screwed them on… well, it was soft and we were using screws that were way too thick (I’ve learned so much this year!).

It took many many weekends to get everything organized and finished.  I was now in my third trimester and needed my husband to do the sit-on-the-floor-and-screw-things-together work because I just couldn’t manage it.  But finally–FINALLY–they were done!  We made four 3×6 foot beds. I’d planned on either building more if these turned out to be easily assembled (not so easy with my pregnancy as a hinderance) or just building up our “regular” beds with extra dirt for the season.  My father in law had other ideas. He bought us two (very expensive) cedar raised beds with two 4x4ft sections each!  He also bought and delivered top soil for all the beds!  Yes, I know how incredibly lucky I am, don’t worry, he backed over one of our raised beds causing it to fall almost completly apart.  It’s still waiting for repair (it’s the first week in June already!) which is the only reason my entire garden isn’t finished yet!

The corner joints of our raised beds, pretty simple.

So, in addition to raised beds I also wanted to make sure my trellises and supports were functional and nice to look at.  I think I’ve had some pretty good success so far though I have my doubts about how at least one of them will actually function through the season.

Okay, here are the pictures of my 2011 garden and this years beautiful beginnings! (click on the first picture to see it larger and be able to read my long captions more easily!)

As you can see I’m really trying to keep things organized.  Last year things were way out of control and not very beautiful. This year I’m working on containment and making all my support systems nice to look at.  Punkin has already commented how “good” our garden looks.  Kinda fancy and professional (especially when compared with last year!) and hopefully it will produce even more this year because of the better care and attention I’ll be able to give it!

9 responses to “The Makings of a Beautiful Salad–June 2012

  1. Nice! I didn’t know that about the tomato plants (buds in the joints). Is that in the Garden Bible you lent me? I’ve been reading that every night and am learning so much!

    • Yes it is. Be careful with that book, though, you’ll feel like you’ve got ten thousand things to do!!! This year I focused on containement (obviously), at the end of the season and into next year I’m going to focus on fertilizer cause i’ve never used ANY!
      as for the tomato nipping you HAVE to do that (read his whole section on tomatoes) or you’ll end up with what I had last year: beautiful leafy plants that weren’t producing and ripening fruit (at least on the big tomatoes). I need to add a link to that book, I LOVE it!

  2. Amazing. I am so jealous. I wish my garden was half as nice. Think I might copy you! Thanks.

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  4. Gorgeous!!
    I’m in a holding pattern with our garden because we are reroofing and Ireally don’t want to plant a lovely garden to have it all wiped out by shingles and work-folk. :-/ Its supposed to be going up this week [1 month later than planned due to the glorious rain that we have needed so much], so guess what I’ll be doing next weekend… 🙂
    Do you know where your FiL got the top soil? I’ve seen some places in Ellington that I was going to check out but figured I’d ask.

    • I don’t know but I didn’t love it. My friend Becca recommended Boticello’s in Manchester it was $29/cubic yard. The stuff my FIL got was 22 but it had a lot of debris including pebbles–but nothing compared with the rocks I already had!

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