I’m pretty sure I’ve been promising to discuss mine and Jimmy’s first garden together as a married couple since I made my blogging comeback. Well, I’m finally going into to write about it today!
I’ll start from the beginning. When Jimmy and I purchased our home in June 2014, there was a garden area in our backyard, but it looked like this.
The previous homeowners had a garden, but one of them passed away a few years ago. Over time, the area became a dumping ground for old weeds, branches, grass clippings, and fake deer. Jimmy and I didn’t touch the garden until May 2015 since we were too late to start it in 2014.
We purchased our plants as seedlings because Jimmy wanted the plants to have a head start on the weeds, and because he claims he’s too impatient to wait for the seeds to grow. We spent a few days clearing out the garden area (by we, I mean Jimmy…) and tilling it with his dad’s rototiller. Then we planted our seedlings! We purchased them from Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse for any Pittsburgh readers who are wondering.
After a few days, we noticed that we had a rabbit problem. Actually, our whole neighborhood has a rabbit problem. They’re cute until they eat your kale, you know? So, we put up a fence (that only deterred the big rabbits–the babies slipped through) and laid some stepping stones. When the tomatoes ripened, we developed a deer problem. Deer went inside the garden, ate a bunch of tomatoes, and crushed a few plants. So, we bought deer repellent sticks, and I’m not too sure they actually worked.
As you can see above, we didn’t use the whole plot of land that the previous homeowners had dug up in the past. We planted a 12 x 18 foot garden, and we think that was a pretty manageable size for us! Jimmy planted grass seed for the rest of the dirt, and it grew in nicely over the course of the summer.
We planted mountain pride tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, kale, green peppers, yellow peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, Japanese eggplant, sweet potatoes, and rosemary. I wanted to be able to keep track of everything, so I got kind of dorky and made a chart.
We spent about $150 on the seedlings, fencing, grass seed, weed killer, weed preventer, stepping stones, and deer repellent. We think that we probably broke even on our investment, but the $150 was well worth the enjoyment factor of having our first garden. It was our baby all spring and summer!
We planted a bit too much of everything (especially kale… six plants was way too much, haha). It was fun to give away a lot of our bounty since there was no way Jimmy and I could eat 13 cucumbers or 20 tomatoes within a few days, you know? The cucumber, kale, swiss chard, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers grew great, while the zucchini (surprisingly), eggplant, and rosemary only did okay. We are still waiting to harvest the sweet potatoes. Can’t wait!
The garden was a lot of work, but in a good way. I loved the evenings when Jimmy and I would be in the garden, pulling weeds and talking about our day. It was relaxing, and it felt good to grow our food. I don’t think I bought produce (aside from fruit) at the grocery store all summer. We both also agreed that having a garden motivated us to take care of our yard and gave us a sense of pride of ownership in our home.
Favorite part of garden
Jimmy: Tilling it.
Me: Being able to pick lettuce or tomatoes on a whim if I needed them for a recipe. Also, making homemade pasta and pizza sauce! And pickles. And dried rosemary. And using peppers and tomatoes for chili… okay, I’ll stop…
Least favorite part of the garden
Jimmy: Taking care of the grass surrounding it and pulling a specific type of weed with deep roots, haha.
Me: The times when I would bring vegetables inside our house, only to have a few spiders crawl out from the plants. Gave me the shivers every time!
What we want to add next year
Jimmy: Red potatoes
Me: Corn and watermelon
What you wouldn’t plant next year
Me: I would plant everything again, just in a lesser quantity!
What do you think made a difference in the quality of the garden
Jimmy: Tilling the land.
Me: Using weed preventer (we used preen) and planting at a good time weather-wise.
Alright, now that this is probably the longest post in the history of my blog, I’m going to stop here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments!