Beginning the Garden

The weather has been wonderful in Georgia the past few days and we’ve been outside gardening.

We finally have filled up all of our raised beds. John David finished building the beds back in February, we purchased soil last weekend and got a load of manure last Tuesday.

Square Foot Garden Bed

We’re using these slats to mark a grid for planting. (John David made these from old wood found at the back of our property!)

Paxton’s own little garden! This old sink was behind our garage and we couldn’t resist using it as a planter. We filled it with soil and let Paxton plant a few things. The left side contains cherry tomatoes and the right has a green bean plant and peas. We doubt anything will be allowed to grow long enough to fruit, he’ll probably want to just dig around in his dirt!

Front Walk Planter

Another big project John David knocked out this week was tearing out the overgrown, weed filled monkey grass that lined our sidewalk. I just wanted it gone but he thought it’d be a good use of space to line the walk with a raised bed. This long bed has 16 square foot spaces. So far we’ve planted cilantro, onions, peas and cherry tomatoes here.

We want our landscape to be an edible landscape. Flowers and ornamental plants are beautiful and make your landscaping look nice but we think vegetable, herb and fruit plants are pretty too! And, the best part, all the work invested in maintaining those plants is rewarded with yummy food to eat!

Seedlings

On March 8th, I finally started seeds. This is what they looked like a little over a week later, on the 16th. (The only thing that didn’t germinate were the Bell Pepper seeds which didn’t come as a surprise since they didn’t germinate when I did my germination test a few weeks ago.)

All of the cherry tomatoes! These actually ‘failed’ the germination test too but I decided to see if they’d grow anyway! As you can see, I overloaded on seeds and they all grew!

Since it’s been so warm and the forecast says the weather should remain warm, we took some chances and put out some plants early. So far we have squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, pumpkin, green beans and cilantro planted. If the weather continues to cooperate and our plants thrive, we should enjoy an early harvest!

We also planted peas and onions which are cooler season vegetables. Of course, the warm weather may negatively effect them but hopefully not!

Backyard Chickens

We also let the girls out to roam and forage in the backyard for the first time this weekend! They really enjoyed being free and searching for bugs. They went back to their home right before the sun set!

I’d love to know how your garden is coming along!

responses to “Beginning the Garden” 11

  1. We are getting our raised beds ready for gardening as well! I love your idea of putting a grid on top of the soil for planting! I think I will try that!! And I love that you put a raised bed in the front! What a great use of otherwise wasted space!

    What did you fill your raised bed with? Top soil? And you mentioned getting a load of manure- what kind and how long had it been composted? we still need to fill our beds and we are trying to decide what we can afford as far as soil goes – last year we did composted manure (the ones in the bags at Lowes) along with topsoil, but that will be expensive to do again since we raised them higher this year.

    1. We filled the beds with a mixture of garden soil/manure. The garden soil was a top soil/mulch mix and the manure was composted horse manure. John David found the manure free via Craigslist! He borrowed a trailer and got a large load. Try Craigslist or even post a wanted ad there, I'm sure there are plenty of farmers/horse owners who would be happy for you to take a load or two of manure!

  2. I am so excited to see pictures of your garden growing. Last week I was thinking of putting out some tomato plants since it was 79! Today it is snowing and the roofs and plants outside are covered with the white stuff! Guess it will be a while.

    1. Wow, 79 last week and snow this week, crazy! We're slightly nervous about frost but the forecast for the rest of this month is about the same as the weather has been the past few weeks so we're hoping our risk will pay off!

  3. DOH! You are always beating me at posting! I have a post going out next week about edible landscaping, and what we are doing/planning around our acre.

    Hubby put out 20 straw bales to start preparing for our straw bale garden. He got some super soil today to plant some things in the ground. Red raspberries have (mostly) been transplanted into a much better area. I still have about 25 more to transplant within the next few evenings before they start to bud! I planted a row of spinach in our "old garden" this weekend. I just received 6 blueberry plants I ordered last week, and they were planted tonight. Jalapeno's are started indoors, and I plan on starting the onions any day now indoors. I am running out of room under the grow light, but like JMD, it is still way too early to plant outside. We usually get snow into April (though it has been unseasonably warm and we've only had snow 4 times this season!).

    I am tired just thinking about all that needs done. But I love this season. And it's awesome that hubby is helping out this year (whereas before, it was just my thing.).

    The startings of your garden look GREAT!!

    1. You have way more variety than we do! And I hope you post all about your straw bale gardening, I've heard of it but am completely unfamiliar about how it actually works. And John David is really into it this year too! In 09, after we got the mulch down for our lasagna gardening, he quit and I did the rest! I'm really enjoying his excitement and help in the garden!

      1. Hubby found this online last month, and we thought it would be perfect for us seeing as I was overtaken by WEEDS last year! http://strawbalegardens.com/

        And like you, hubby always did the brunt work, but everything was up to me after that. You should have seen his face when the jalapeno's started to sprout last week. I think he was (almost) as excited as I was! He helped plant those with his own two hands. One thing about having a "partner in crime" is that my "partner" is much more thorough and does much more research than I do. I just "wing it" but he is very precise. I have had to bite my tongue several times, but it's been fun. And if we get the best garden ever this year, it will be well worth it! 🙂

        1. Wow, looks interesting! And I had to laugh at our similarities once again, John David is definitely more thorough than me! I just jump in and do things and he does careful research, measuring, etc.!

  4. Looking great Rachel! We didn't have much success with tomatoes last year – the plants were giant but no fruit 🙁 Just wondering what you know about that with your knowledge rooted (pardon the pun!) in agriculture. Our tomato seedlings look so promising this year!

    We have been harvesting Swiss chard, thyme, parsley, and oregano from our front herb garden (mostly herbs) and the tarragon that I cut back over six weeks ago is making a grand appearance. Enjoy that edible landscape – it's so fun to get compliments and eat from it! 🙂

    1. It's possible the tomatoes just didn't pollinate or since they were so huge, all the focus was on was plant growth instead of fruiting. Maybe try pruning, removing lower 'suckers'. I am no tomato expert though! My garden in 09 had a rough tomato crop, almost all of the skins were split due to dry spells and then huge rains.

      Silly question but how do you prepare Swiss chard? I am completely unfamiliar with it!

      1. Thanks girl! I promise you know more than me about tomatoes!

        Yumm.. Swiss chard. Saute with onions and butter (similar to spinach) but first chop the leaves roughly and the stems quite fine. For a fancier dish saute with onions and butter and then add 4-8oz of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup milk. Stir it all on medium-low eat until melted and incorporated. Then, serve on top of pasta, rice, quinoa, etc. We really like to serve this with fish – the creamy sauce on crispy baked fish is nearly divine!

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