Vegetable Garden Planted



For a long time, I have wanted to grow a vegetable garden like the one my family had when I was growing up. For six years after I moved into my current house, I assumed that I did not have enough time to plant and tend to a vegetable garden. Last year, I realized that I may not have any more free time to tend to a vegetable garden until I retire. I didn’t want to wait that long (at least 25 years away), so I decided to try and make the time.

I wanted raised beds instead of a ground level garden to make it easier to amend the soil and keep the snails away. Rather than spend the time building it myself, I decided to pay the money to have a gardener dig up our side yard lawn, build two raised beds, and put in an automatic watering system.

Once those tasks were completed, it turns out that the vegetable garden did not require a substantial amount of my time. It takes a few hours to visit a nursery, buy the seeds and the transplants, and then plant them. After that, the automatic watering system takes care of the watering. I just need to fertilize and do a bit of weeding once every few weeks. Fertilizing and weeding doesn’t take me much time, because our raised beds are small, one is 6′ x 7′ and the other is 6′ x 8′. Harvesting the produce is the only additional task that needs to be done, and harvesting produce from my yard takes much less time than a trip to the grocery store.

I was telling all of this to one of my neighbors just yesterday. I think I may have convinced her to put in a vegetable garden in her yard.

Over the past several weeks, I have been planting this year’s vegetable garden in our two raised beds. I started this year’s plantings with broccoli in late February. In March, I planted pole bean seeds, cantaloupe and honey dew seeds, carrot seeds, tomato transplants, a zucchini transplant, a basil transplant, onion transplants, and cilantro transplants. So far in April, I have added bell peppers, an eggplant, summer squash transplants, and day neutral strawberry transplants. I also planted violas and hollyhocks to add a bit more visual appeal to the garden.  In addition, I planted spinach seeds and garlic transplants last fall that are still growing.

I collected the pole bean seeds from dried up bean pods on last year’s bean plants. All of these bean seeds sprouted quickly, and they are already several inches high, as can be seen in the back of the first picture. I built a simple support for them that is made of two thin wooden posts, and a sturdy metal wire frame that is hanging on hooks I screwed into the wooden posts.

Most of the cantaloupe and honey dew seeds sprouted, but birds ate most of them soon after. Even though I covered them in netting, the birds picked at them through the netting. I know it was birds, because I found feathers near the picked-at seedlings. Frustrated with that experience, I replaced them with cantaloupe transplants I bought from a local nursery. The birds have not touched these yet, probably because they are already large enough to be unappealing.

I planted two sets of the carrot seeds, once in early March and a second one in early April. Many of the carrot seeds I planted in early March didn’t spout. The carrot seeds I planted a few weeks ago are just starting to emerge. This year, I planted white and purple carrots in addition to the yellow and red carrots I planted last year. The yellow carrots did especially well last year. It’s so fun to see such tiny seeds turn into large colorful carrots in just a few months!

April 18 2009 11:36 am | Vegetables