DAILY FARM LIFE

a grown up garden

I have to say, it's really quite comical that I'm writing a post about gardening, let alone any kind of gardening advice. Because in reality this is my first grown up garden.

My gardening resume includes an impressive garden during my childhood, which as far as I can remember, I did little to help maintain–other than planting a few seeds and harvesting sweet corn in my socks. (I always went outside in socks. No shoes. But socks.) And I'm sure I put in my one hour of weeding here and there. My mom's classic rallying cry was always, "If we all put in one hour of (fill in the blank for some chore none of us wanted to do, ie. weeding) that's four man-hours of work!!!" My sisters and I especially loved when she'd use this proclamation to get us up and "motivated" on Saturday mornings.

04170

I also had a piddly half row in my grandmother's garden while we lived on her farm, and threw some flower seeds in a patch of dirt in the middle of the yard, when we moved into this house in early Summer.  Which to my surprise turned into a perky little plot of zinnas and cosmos with no help from me.

Are you impressed? Me either.

So this year marks my first grown-up garden. My first attempt at growing food (other than eggs) and possibly storing bits of it away for the winter months. Which I suppose depends on my initial success.

Our approach to gardening this year is Try it. See if it works. Learn from it.

We'll see what happens.

Over the weekend most of you know that our neighbor came by and plowed our plot. Just a word of advice (see I'm already spewing advice and I haven't even planted one seed), if you're having someone else plow or till your garden, you may want to give them a smaller proportioned garden than you are planning. Dan and I stood back and watched as each swipe with the tractor seemed to get longer and longer and longer. And we're now committed to quite a sizable plot of upturned earth.

Today, Mr. Dorsey came back with the discs on the back of his tractor and ran over it several times, breaking up the large clumps and shouting to me from his tractor that "My cookies were really good and he'll bring back the container soon!" But it still needs a good tilling and this weekend we'll put up a fence around it–an attempt to keep these curious hens from gobbling up innocent seedlings as they poke through the ground.

So what's going in this ambitious garden? Well, I'm glad you asked, because when I went to my order on the Park Seed website, I noticed that somehow half my order is missing. I must have deleted some of the order and now I need to go through it again and add more. But what we plan to plant are the following (with absolutely no reason for choosing them other than the three sentence description in the seed catalog which makes everything look perfect. And easy.) :

  • Jersey Knight Hybrid Asparagus
  • Kentucky Wonder Bush Beans
  • Everlast Hybrid Cabbage
  • Nantes Organic Carrots
  • Temptation Hybrid Sweet Corn (we had this at a church picnic. It won Grand Champion at the MD State Fair. It was the best corn I've ever had. Not sure if that's attributed to the seed or the sower.)
  • Eureka Cucumbers
  • Speckled Swan Gourds (i LOVE these!)
  • Sugar Snap Pea
  • A Variety of Tomatoes including a purple tomato
  • A blueberry bush or two.

Flowers:

  • Blue Moon Lilliput Aster
  • Cinderella Asclepias
  • Dahlia Mix (Bishop's Children)
  • Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet
  • Maya Daisy Gloriosa
  • Summer Berries Yarrow
  • VanGogh Sunflower Mix
  • Park's Pix Zinna Mix

Catalog

We'll still probably add a few more things here and there from local sources. One of Dan's customers gave us nice tomato plants last year (oh! add that to my resume). And Dan put this R.H Shumways Illustrated Garden Guide in my hands last night, which is equal parts art and seed catalog. It is lovely. And now more things are catching my eye.

But I'm always ambitious at the start. And then the heat and humidity set in and I can barely gather enough energy to get dressed let alone weed a garden.

So there's my gardening plans and/or advice. Which in truth, probably isn't worth a hill of beans.

[images from the RH Shumway Illustrated Garden Guide]

I have to say, it's really quite comical that I'm writing a post about gardening, let alone any kind of gardening advice. Because in reality this is my first grown up garden.

My gardening resume includes an impressive garden during my childhood, which as far as I can remember, I did little to help maintain–other than planting a few seeds and harvesting sweet corn in my socks. (I always went outside in socks. No shoes. But socks.) And I'm sure I put in my one hour of weeding here and there. My mom's classic rallying cry was always, "If we all put in one hour of (fill in the blank for some chore none of us wanted to do, ie. weeding) that's four man-hours of work!!!" My sisters and I especially loved when she'd use this proclamation to get us up and "motivated" on Saturday mornings.

04170

I also had a piddly half row in my grandmother's garden while we lived on her farm, and threw some flower seeds in a patch of dirt in the middle of the yard, when we moved into this house in early Summer.  Which to my surprise turned into a perky little plot of zinnas and cosmos with no help from me.

Are you impressed? Me either.

So this year marks my first grown-up garden. My first attempt at growing food (other than eggs) and possibly storing bits of it away for the winter months. Which I suppose depends on my initial success.

Our approach to gardening this year is Try it. See if it works. Learn from it.

We'll see what happens.

Over the weekend most of you know that our neighbor came by and plowed our plot. Just a word of advice (see I'm already spewing advice and I haven't even planted one seed), if you're having someone else plow or till your garden, you may want to give them a smaller proportioned garden than you are planning. Dan and I stood back and watched as each swipe with the tractor seemed to get longer and longer and longer. And we're now committed to quite a sizable plot of upturned earth.

Today, Mr. Dorsey came back with the discs on the back of his tractor and ran over it several times, breaking up the large clumps and shouting to me from his tractor that "My cookies were really good and he'll bring back the container soon!" But it still needs a good tilling and this weekend we'll put up a fence around it–an attempt to keep these curious hens from gobbling up innocent seedlings as they poke through the ground.

So what's going in this ambitious garden? Well, I'm glad you asked, because when I went to my order on the Park Seed website, I noticed that somehow half my order is missing. I must have deleted some of the order and now I need to go through it again and add more. But what we plan to plant are the following (with absolutely no reason for choosing them other than the three sentence description in the seed catalog which makes everything look perfect. And easy.) :

  • Jersey Knight Hybrid Asparagus
  • Kentucky Wonder Bush Beans
  • Everlast Hybrid Cabbage

  • Nantes Organic Carrots
  • Temptation Hybrid Sweet Corn (we had this at a church picnic. It won Grand Champion at the MD State Fair. It was the best corn I've ever had. Not sure if that's attributed to the seed or the sower.)
  • Eureka Cucumbers
  • Speckled Swan Gourds (i LOVE these!)
  • Sugar Snap Pea
  • A Variety of Tomatoes including a purple tomato
  • A blueberry bush or two.

Flowers:

  • Blue Moon Lilliput Aster
  • Cinderella Asclepias
  • Dahlia Mix (Bishop's Children)
  • Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet
  • Maya Daisy Gloriosa
  • Summer Berries Yarrow
  • VanGogh Sunflower Mix
  • Park's Pix Zinna Mix

Catalog

We'll still probably add a few more things here and there from local sources. One of Dan's customers gave us nice tomato plants last year (oh! add that to my resume). And Dan put this R.H Shumways Illustrated Garden Guide in my hands last night, which is equal parts art and seed catalog. It is lovely. And now more things are catching my eye.

But I'm always ambitious at the start. And then the heat and humidity set in and I can barely gather enough energy to get dressed let alone weed a garden.

So there's my gardening plans and/or advice. Which in truth, probably isn't worth a hill of beans.

[images from the RH Shumway Illustrated Garden Guide]

41 comments on “a grown up garden”

  1. Good for you!!! Looks like you are off to a good start Molly. I ordered a few things from Park Seed too. Although a few of our seedlings got “bitten” last night with a little unexpected chill.

    Can’t wait to see it in full glory this summer!

  2. Cherokee Purple tomatoes are SO SO SO SO GOOD.

    And I love the R.H. Shumway’s catalog! That and the Fedco catalog are my favorite bathroom reading 🙂

    I can’t wait to watch your progress! And as crazy as it sounds — I can’t wait to have a garden someday too.

  3. Yes! I was actually going to email you about that because I feel like you are a canning pro. I’d love to get together and can. Really. We must. I need your expertise.

  4. I completely follow the try it and see if it works approach…and I’ve been grown-up gardening for years. Even if you get one veg from your garden, its a miracle! Keep that mentality and you will never be disappointed!

  5. WoW! You are ambitious! I grew stuff, for the very first time ever, last year. And my mistake was too many tomato plants and we had them coming out of our ears. This year, i am going with a little more variety, but just a few more, and I think I should learn how to can and preserve things. Baby steps…

  6. lisa i’m so glad you left a comment b/c i was going to send you an email, about eggs.

    didn’t you tell me that you don’t have to refrigerate eggs until after you’ve washed them? or did i make this up?

  7. good advice! I will now set my gardening expectations extremely low. 🙂 But I know what you mean, seeing anything come from your garden does seem miraculous and makes it all worth it.

  8. i made a similar tomato mistake last year, too–except i put my tomato plants too close together and Dan built our tomato cages and they were too small. it was a very tight and overgrown mess.

  9. we’re fans of the “try it” see if it works method too! 🙂

    i love reading your gardening plans. hope you’ll share your planting adventures as you guys go along. (we’re doing our first purple tomato too but a different variety – i’m really curious to see how it’ll do). i bet your flower beds will be beautiful! cheers to fresh cut backyard bouquets!!!! good luck with it all, it already sound like lots of good family fun.

  10. If it has the words “Kentucky wonder” in it, in must be good. Right?

    I know nothing either, but we seem to have a small but steady supply of produce. My hubby (knew nothing of gardening) keeps trying stuff and enough works to keep us excited about it!

  11. We have a teeny garden going this year with tomatoes, eggplant, pattypan squash, yellow peppers, chocolate peppers (that do not taste like chocolate), jalapenos, and some carrots. That sounds like more than it is. We also have an herb garden in which everything is flourishing except the rosemary. I need to figure that out, since I had a huge bush of rosemary at my old house, and I can’t seem to grow it at this one, which is only 10 miles away. I need my rosemary!

    Wish us luck at keeping things alive in the hellish summer heat!

  12. No zucchini? I’ve had many gardens and we always go with plant it and see. We got one baseball sized cantaloupe last year and we all sat on the kitchen floor sharing it with such pride.I suggest onions. We planted them for the first time last year, super simple and the girls loved pulling them out of the dirt.Good luck and have fun.

  13. Can I make a suggestion for your kiddos? Add pumpkins to your list and maybe watermelon. Especially if you have extra room to fill! Kids all seem to love watermelon and the pumpkins are fun for the fall.

  14. Ha, I remember my mom leaving eggs on the counter for days before putting them in the fridge. I also volunteered with a mexican refugee family last year and they were leaving the eggs on the counter, just like that!

    I also remember to let the eggs boil three times more than “grocery” eggs because the shell will stick to the egg like crazy and its NO FUN!

    Have fun with your garden. I help my mom with hers each year. Though this year I’m the one who started the seedling. She always had good advices to tell me though.

    And I have vivid memories of running to the garden to eat sugarsnap peas, my mom throwing all the chicken manure in the garden in October. Best fertilizer you can have! 🙂

    Ahhhhh dear life.

  15. This is my first year to plant a garden too — and our mindset is much like yours. Try it. See what works.

    I’m looking forward to it. Can’t wait to see how it all works out for you. 🙂

  16. This is my 1st year with a grown up garden. I remember as a child going out planting and watering. I used your link to park seeds. I want asparagus and could not find locally. Any how you might be missing them on your list due to them being sold out. I hope they get more in. Husband would like to have them

  17. We did our first garden last year, and we are still in the, “Let’s learn from this,” stage this year. I can relate to your tractor story too, because my brother-in-law came over with the tractor last year to level and turn up some ground for us. No one was watching him, and he decided to be extra helpful and level a big hill of dirt for us, which had been my son’s favorite place to play. We were so sad.

    Good luck with it.

  18. good luck! We have tiny little raised beds in our tiny little yard, and as much as I would love a huge plot, I wouldn’t want to weed it. But! I think our beds will be full of tomato plants this year. If you need any advice on saving your own tomato seeds this fall and starting them next year, give me a hollar. 🙂

    Good luck!

  19. I have grand hopes for my garden this summer! I’d love to have some to store for the summer. Last year the squirrels got most of my tomatoes. I was so mad!! We planted asparagus last year, and actually got it at home depot (which said it was grown locally, but who knows). We had to let it grow without picking it last year, but now it’s coming up and it’s very exciting!! Good luck with your garden!

  20. My kids love asparagus that’s why I’m anxious to get some in the ground since we can’t enjoy it this year. We had squirrels get our sunflowers one year. I think they wiped them all out in about 24 hours!

  21. Don’t worry you should be fine! I am a first generation urban gardener and everyone thinks I am off my rocker! At least you live in a place with nice neighbors and where growing your own food is normal. I give advice to people too about gardening (and I have no clue what I am doing) Ha! Anyway, good luck with the garden it sounds yummy!

  22. I’m trying my first veggie garden this year, too. I’ve gardened a bit, but all flowers. I’m not being as brave as you with the seeds though. I’m only doing spinach and radishes from seed; the rest will be starter plants. I just put up some chicken wire for a fence today — we have aggressive rabbits around here. I’m trying to figure out how to keep them from burrowing under. Right now I just have a bunch of logs at the bottom of the chicken wire…

    I hope it goes well for you!

  23. No zuchinni or summer squash?

    Tomatoes are much, much easier from a plant. Tomatoes from seed need to be started now, but they are tricky.

    Make sure your asparagus is in an edge or corner of your garden that won’t be tilled every year. You won’t get good asparagus for at least 2 or maybe 3 years, but once it starts producing it will be fabulous.

    Good luck! gardening is super fun and lots of work, but also makes you feel great eating the food you grew and worked so hard for.

    We like rareseeds.com for great finds — our favorite green bush bean — http://rareseeds.com/seeds/Beans/Contender-Buff-Valentine

  24. We’re in the same boat as you–we’ve grown things in pots, but never anything serious, and we have a 20×20 foot community garden plot. We’ll see how it goes, since we’re moving when we should start planting. Such chaos lately!

  25. Hi Stephanie. Thanks for all your suggestions! I think I got the rare seeds catalog in the mail last year, but we didn’t order from it this year. And you’re right, we’re definitely behind on seed starting our tomatoes. We’ll see how it goes!

    We didn’t plant any zuc. or squash b/c my grandfather seems to have a never-ending supply. And leaves it for us often! 🙂

  26. Okay, now that you are gardening you have opened the door for people to give you unsolicited advice rivaled in quantity and presumptuousness only by that of parenthood.Soooooo in that vein here I go. Books to die for… Anything Felder Rushing ever wrote. I can’t recommend Ruth Stouts book enough. For the beginning gardener she has some very sane advice and I love her style. One more… .Elliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest. Oh I’ve got a shelf full of other great books by wonderful people but I have one other piece of advice that I feel I really must share for your first garden, cancel all your subscriptions!!! Park seed is wonderful and Shumways, divine, but all too soon you will meet the likes of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Territorial Seed Company and heaven help me Seeds of Change. Oh mama. Not to mention the abundance of fruit catalogs.

    Have so much fun, we love our garden. The kids even have their own plot. With their own dreams of grandeur.

  27. My husband always tries to wear his socks outside. I don’t know why it bothers me so much and I always thought surely he was the only person who ever did this. Good luck with the gardening!

  28. Just a note about hardboiling the eggs–if you choose the “older” eggs, they separate from the shells much MUCH easier than the fresh eggs. This holds true for the New Eggs from the grocery or the hen house!

    Molls, good on you for growing your own food. It will be awesome. I bet you’ll have your own little roadside stand when you can’t think of anything else to do with your bounty…nice pocket change and what fun!

  29. ohand nowi want to go out into the backyardand planand plotand break groundbut there is still snow back thereso insteadi will have to content myselfwith a seed catalogueand cold drink…

    :O)thanks for the inspiration!!

    {and am happy to hear that someone elsewent outside in socks and grew up to be normal…my nine year old is famous for this….amongst other oddities….}

  30. Can’t wait to see your garden! All I ever manage to get planted are a few herbs, lettuces, and a couple of tomato plants. My DH & I are wanting to make some small raised bed plots – like those on Jamie Oliver’s cooking show (my favorite Food Network show), but it doesn’t look like that will be happening this spring — maybe fall? Good luck with yours!

  31. If your looking for more seeds, I really like Seed Savers Exchange. I’ve ordered from them for several years and everything has done really well. Plus I love seeing something unusal and different grow. Kids get a kick out of it too.

    I do hope you enjoy gardening better than me. I think that’s the key really. I’ve been truly thankful for all the veggies that we have been able to put upon our table and the jars of them that got us through the cold months. BUT….I seem to be the one that ends up weeding,picking and canning. I think if we had a smaller garden it wouldn’t seems so over whelming. My husband plowed an even bigger one this year..YIKES!Thankful thought..thankful thoughts..lol

    http://www.seedsavers.org/

  32. For next year, check out Square Food Gardening – it is amazing – this is our third year. Very little maintenance and almost no weeding for great return. Good luck with all your plants and in keeping seedlings from the chickens – we had to build a wire tent over ours to keep out chipmunks and squirrels.

  33. It’s like riding a bicycle, Moll. It will come back to you, once you get in there and get going. Hey, I didn’t even know beans belonged in a hill when we started out…See how much you know already? mom

  34. Good for you! A garden can be fun, and a wonderful learning experience. Even if it’s not perfect, anything you harvest out of it will be the freshest food, and taste better than the store. Keep us posted!

  35. Keep it up! I’d highly recommend checking out sustainableseedco.com if you are ever looking for unique heirloom and organic varieties…they have tons to choose from!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.