cucumbers

Our Garden 2015

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Other notes:

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!

Favorite vegetable
Jimmy: Zucchini
Me: Eggplant

What we want to add next year
Jimmy: Red potatoes
Me: Corn and watermelon

What you wouldn’t plant next year
Jimmy: Kale
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.

PicMonkey Collage

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!

Do you enjoy gardening? Did you grow anything this year?

Recent Eats

Hey there!

Here are some recent (delicious) eats:Hot sauce. My brother just got me into this. Not sure why I didn’t jump onto the Sriracha bandwagon sooner.

Pumpkin muffins. I’m developing the perfect recipe to share with you all this fall. Speaking of which, I went to Bob Evans last night and had pumpkin bread. It was so good and came for free with my meal.

Garden quiche. Or you can call it clean out the fridge quiche ;).

Tacos. Taco night is always a good night in the Smith house.

Orange-ginger pork chops. I just love pork chops lately.

Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits. Enough said.

Cucumbers from my garden. So crisp and delicious.

Vanilla chai latte & lemonade. Both consumed while I was shopping… I guess shopping makes me thirsty?

Banana peanut butter. Yes yes yes.

Random water from a race swag bag. It was pretty good. I stole Hannah’s water too and her flavor (cherry) was better.

Cute lil lunch. Turkey sandwich, cheese stick, fruit & almonds.

Quiche. Made with eggs from my aunt & uncle’s chickens. This one had more of a Mediterranean theme with spinach, red onion, tomatoes, basil, and feta cheese.

Coffee in my favorite mug, coconut peanut butter, and curried tofu. I like the coconut peanut butter, but I’ll admit, I add honey to it because it’s not sweet enough for me.

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That’s what I’ve got as far as recent eats. Today is (sadly) my last day of summer, so I shall be soaking up every last minute of freedom, sunshine, and relaxation. Upcoming posts: a summer recap, endoscopy results, my Spinning playlist/workout, and I’ll post my school schedule. Peace & love from me (& Jimmy) to you 🙂

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Bible verse of the day: Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. Psalm 26:8