Monday, May 28, 2012

Garden Expansion 2012

Thanks to the hardworking helping hands of Mr. Patton, my garden wish has come true! We more than doubled the size of our garden this year, expanding so that I could plant lots of veggies. Hurray!

This is my third year to have a vegetable garden and I'm still working on obtaining what I would call a bountiful harvest. We really worked hard on improving the soil this year, so cross your fingers for me! Here's what got planted last weekend for 2012:
  • 6 tomatoes (Big Boy and Better Boy)
  • 3 cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100s)
  • 3 eggplant
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 cucumber
  • 5 bell peppers (red and green)
  • Jalapeno pepper and chili pepper
  • Fresh herbs: basil, rosemary, parsley and mint
  • Strawberries...yet to come
Seriously! We really got all that into our new, compact, urban garden without taking up the entire backyard. You're looking at 2 partially in-ground beds that are 4x10 feet and a smaller bed that is 4x4. We were also able to add 2 smaller boxes, 2x2 each, between the bigger beds by adding just a board in between. We don't have a fence around our backyard, but what we do have is TONS of deer. Boy do they mess up my gardening plans... During garden year number 1, the majority of our plants were eaten by these deer, so last year we got smart and put up a fence. That was a winning decision, so the fence now encloses our entire garden, which is about 50 square feet total.

I've really grown (no pun intended) to love gardening; needless to say, that's why I've been expanding each year! Check out last year's garden here. I started as a beginner with just a potted tomato on my deck, and you can too. It's very rewarding, and not to mention tasty, to watch your own food grow from a tiny plant to something you put on your table. In the summer it means heaps of fresh, inexpensive produce, fewer trips to the store and some built-in exercise. It's a terrific teaching moment for the kiddos too--they love to watch their plants grow! Plus they might be able to do your watering :)

If you're considering the idea of growing your own garden, it's not too late to plant. Start with a cherry tomato in a pot on your deck or patio. If you're thinking about going bigger, try a small, raised planting bed. It requires a little sweat equity, but it's an easy, inexpensive weekend project. Whether you live in the country or in the city, we can all grow our own food. I encourage you give it a try! Gardening can give you a greater connection to the Earth and the food you eat.

I'll let you know how things turn out for me and my "light green" thumb this year. Keep your eyes open for some new fresh-from-the-garden recipes this summer!

Why do you love gardening? Any tips for newbies?

Don't forget about my Father's Day give-away! Contest ends June 6. Visit RDbyyourside on Facebook to enter. More details here.