zucchini

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.

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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?

It’s been a long time

Heeey there! It’s been about two weeks since I last blogged… weird! It’s also been about two weeks since I deactivated my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. During my little hiatus I learned a lot about what’s important to me in life and how I feel about blogging and social media in general.

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Why I took a break from blogging and social media:
-I wanted to strengthen my relationship with God.
-I wanted to truly focus more on important relationships in my life.
-I felt like my blog was becoming too “me” focused and selfish.

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How I felt:
-At first I felt almost panicked, like I was missing everything going on in the world.
-After a few days, I felt very free because I wasn’t “available” 24/7.
-It was amazing to spend less time staring at my computer and phone.
-It was also great not to read blogs and compare myself to others (I know I have the choice not to compare myself to others, but I often feel like it happens almost automatically for me).
-I felt out of sorts at times because I was so disconnected from people that I regularly talk to via blogging and social media.

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Other thoughts:
-Spending less time blogging and using social media helped me become a better listener and gave me more free time to do things for others.
-I’ve learned that social media/blogging can be great, but can also take my attention away from more important things in my life if I allow them to.
-I’m struggling with feeling like I must have a blog or Facebook account in order to connect with people and learn about what’s going on in my friend’s lives. Ugh.
-I’m likely going to be reading blogs and blogging a lot less. I want to blog on my own terms–for the enjoyment of it instead of feeling like I have to document every aspect of my life and keep up with every blog out there.

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Whew, it felt good to get that off of my chest!

So, what have I been up to for the past two weeks?

VBS
Vacation Bible School at my church was great! I worked in the kitchen and Hannah and I were puppeteers.

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I competed in a sprint triathlon and placed third in the 19-29 age group.

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I harvested zucchini from my garden, Jimmy and I made chocolate chip and raisin zucchini bread, and I began working for my parent’s real estate brokerage (more on that in another post).

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I bonded with Hannah and Felix and went swimming at a local lake.

And last but not least…

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I had my wisdom teeth removed on Friday morning.

My dentist told me to have them removed a few years ago but I kept putting it off. They started hurting me earlier this week, so I went to the oral surgeon on Thursday and less than 24 hours later I was in surgery. The doctor said my something was wrong with my heart during the surgery, so I have to see my regular physician on Tuesday to figure out what’s up with my ticker.

I’ve been laying around on the couch eating soup and jello and popping lots of Advil. It’s nice being babied by Jimmy, too. We rented Despicable Me last night and it was such a cute movie! Here’s to hoping I can heal up quickly with no dry sockets!

What’s going on in your life?!