I find gardening very rewarding. When you think about it, growing plants is not rocket science. Plants need water and sun. Simple. Yet keeping plants alive is a craft and not everyone has a green thumb as they say.
Luckily I inherited a gardening itch from my grandparents, and for the most part my thumbs are green. My mormor (mother’s mother in Swedish) can turn a pile of dirt into a lush green garden. Her talent amazes me. A lot of our house plants were given to me by her.
When we lived in Albany, we participated in the Community Gardens and grew our own vegetables for several summers in a row. Growing your own food is the most rewarding gardening there is.
This summer with the help of Sam’s mom and her husband Mark we made some raised garden beds in our backyard. We thought this would be an easier option, rather than having to dig up the hundreds of rocks that are hidden under the soil. First, we searched everywhere for cedar planks to build the beds out of, but after doing some research hemlock is a more common and naturally not resistant.
We started by laying down a a plastic ground cover or weed barrier. We fetched some of our creek rocks and put them around the perimeter. Then we had a local guy deliver some smaller rocks for the base, which act as drainage for the beds. He dumped them right on top of our ground cover.
We purchased eight hemlock boards that were 2x8x10 and four 4×4’s for the corners. We used three inch decking screws to hold them together. The dirt was purchased from the same guy who delivered the rocks, and we also added manure, peat moss, and an organic crustacean blend of fertilizer to the mix.
The materials for the beds were about $400 and we purchased about $230 worth of plants, which included the manure, garden soil, and some flowering plants.
Our vegetable plants were purchased from a local nursery, Yonder Farms. This year we planted tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, arugula, lettuces, spinach, melon, cucumber, green and purple basil, broccoli, and radishes.
Our crop has been bountiful with lettuce and basil growing out of our ears. The tomato plants are enormous, and there are so many green tomatoes popping up. We just started picking the cucumbers. I will definitely have to buy canning jars for tomato sauce, pesto, and pickles! The second best part about growing your own veggies is giving them away to your friends and family.
So far the only thing that didn’t survive was the broccoli. They are still alive, but we didn’t get much crop. I think the main reason is because we ran out of room in the beds and had to plant them in pots, which only had dirt, so they were missing the manure, peat moss, and fertilizer. Leo has been eating the stalks and pulling the leaves off, so I guess they weren’t a total waste.
Thanks again Susan and Mark! Wish you were here to share in the fruits of our labor!