Thursday, June 21, 2012

Veggie Tales

One of the problems with buying our house during December, was that we really had no idea what the outside looked like.  Imagine our surprise when (after living in our house for about 9 months) our next door neighbor informed us that what slightly resembled a vegetable garden, was actually on our property!  

Looking back it should have been obvious that this little-plot-of-potential belonged to us, it was full of weeds, grass, and even a few flowers.  In contrast, our neighbors have a meticulous yard and spend a great deal of time making it look that way. The more obvious sign that the garden is ours should have been the fact that our neighbors have their own vegetable garden RIGHT next to the garden in question.  Why we didn't realize that most people don't have 2 gardens, is beyond me.

Regardless, we were excited to have a garden!  At that point it was too late in the year to plant any vegetables so the plans were made - the Summer of 2012 would be our year for fresh herbs and veggies. 

We started out by clearing out the mangled field of weeds. Reed cut them down to the ground with the weed whacker and we were left with were roots and stems.  For some odd reason we felt some attachment to the blooming daisies (which we previously thought were weeds), so we let them stay for a few weeks.  First we killed (by digging out the roots) and then we tilled (the same day that we rented the tiller for the front landscaping).

We wanted to start with just a few plants that we thought would be easy. As we've mentioned, we need to build confidence in our growing abilities before we tackle anything too complicated.  We picked 3 cherry tomatoes, 3 basil, 2 cilantro, 1 jalopeno, 1 cherry pepper (Jimmy Johns hot peppers), and 2 zucchinis.  There really wasn't any rhyme or reason to the numbers or varieties.  We realized that it is just as dangerous for me to be placed in the vegetable section at Home Depot as it is to be shopping in the shoe section at Nordstrom Rack, although slightly less damaging to the wallet. :)

After we got our little babies planted, we decided we needed to do something about the rotting wood edging around the garden.  The following weekend we got out some shovels and pulled it all out.  Reed thought it would be a perfect chance to use the left over landscaping blocks from last summer (more on that later) to create a border around the garden.  I was less than thrilled about this idea (seemed like a lot of work to do in 95 degree weather), but he was right. We have more space in the garage now and the garden has been beautified.

The process was actually really simple. Thankfully, after we pulled the old wood border out of the ground, there wasn't much digging left to do. We dug the trench a little wider (to fit the blocks), poured some sand/gravel Paver-Base Mix, compacted it with a hand tamper, and set the bricks in place.  After a few good whacks with a rubber mallet and a quick check with the level our brand new border was complete.  To be honest,the most difficult part was probably carrying the blocks and the 50lb bags of paver mix to the backyard.

After the new blocks were laid, we put up a chicken wire fence to keep the little animals out.  Seriously our backyard often reminds us of a weird scene in a Disney movie where all of the animals gather for meetings.   The only difference is that we usually scare them away when we go outside, so you can consider us the opposite of a beautiful singing princess.  We don't mind the animal conferences and its actually pretty fun to see all of them from our kitchen windows; but we knew that if we had any chance of producing edible vegetables, we had to keep the critters out of the garden.

So that is the story of the garden that we never knew we had.  And if you never hear about this garden again- its probably because it wasn't successful... But we are spending our days watering the garden dreaming of basil pesto and spicy peppers, and we are oh so hopeful.


  1. haha I think I just laughed out loud 10 times. Good post. Send me some veggies!

  2. Good luck!! Some good veggies to go along with the Paleo diet. Haha

  3. Did a great job on the garden. As long as they have sun and get water, garden plants are hard to kill. Wish we had all of your energy. Stopped gardening 2 years ago, 36 years of it was enough. Aunt Mary (Jessie's)

  4. You're going to have enough zucchini to give to everyone you know (they are very prolific plants ) , and enough basil to make make pesto to last years. I have two basil plants and I could go into business making and selling pesto, even though I use it almost daily in cooking!