Our first attempt at gardening was a valiant effort, but also an utter failure.
As we shared at the end of last summer, our beans struggled to produce and varmints stole our green tomatoes before they could ever mature. In the end, we harvested a few pounds of green beans and two tiny, tasteless tomatoes.
Undaunted, we're going back into the garden! For one, we promised to. But also, we want to have at least one semi-successful garden under our belts so we can be those people who smugly talk how "OUR tomatoes" are so much better than what we can get at the supermarket. (Just kidding; we hope to never be those people.)
Anyway, Garden Project 2011 is in full swing. Here's what we've done so far.
One ongoing issue that we had last year was that our backyard soil, though heavily augmented by compost, manure (sorry for using the word "manure" on a food blog!) and high-quality soil, was still awfully rocky. This year, we're opting to do a raised bed garden, meaning that we're using almost none of the soil in our actual backyard.
On a trip to Home Depot with our friend Trevor (a garden savant), we found 4 ft x 4 ft raised cedar boxes for $39. Maybe it's not the best deal in the world (we have no idea, really), but they seemed good enough to us. We purchased two of them, and put them together two weeks ago.
We also purchased a 72 seed greenhouse ($7.99) so we can start our seeds indoors this year, and picked up a few really tall poles that will serve as supports for beans and tomatoes. Plus, we got a whole bunch of soil.
Because we got a gift certficate at the holidays from Zach's dad, we had already ordered seeds from RareSeeds.com. Here's a rundown of what we got:
- Red Lettuce (this was actually free with our order)
- Russian Tarragon
- Giant Parsley
- Blue Lake Bush Beans
- Purple Podded Pole Beans
- Bull's Blood Beets
- Bowling Red Okra
- Golden Sweet Snow Peas
- Oregon Sugar Pod Snow Peas
- Purple Jalapenos
- Sungold Tomatoes
- Borghese Tomatoes
- Fine Verde Basil
- Genovese Basil
Within a week of planting the seeds in our little greenhouse, we had a bunch of sprouts. While the plants are growing to seedlings in their container, we'll be planning what will go in the raised beds and what will go in the window boxes. One tool we're using is the Gardener's Supply online Kitchen Garden Planner, which is phenomenal.
What about you -- are you planning a garden this spring? Got a tip to share with two novices? Let us know in the comments!