I have always wanted to grow a salad.
I used to dream of it. I wanted to live on a pasture in an old white farm house and walk outside, past my chickens and horses and pick the vegetables that I grew from seeds in my own little patch of Earth. Of course, in my dream life I also simultaneously lived in New York City and was a famous actress and wore red ball gowns everywhere. It doesn't have to be either/or in the dream world, right?
Well, I've done the New York City thing, and even though fame was never whispered about my stint as an actress, I had the opportunity to give it my best shot. And now, well, it's no white farm house, but it's my house. My green house, actually. And in the back, there are a few rows of above-ground garden beds that are so perfect for vegetables it's not even funny. It's real. My real, rustic, perfect little patch of Earth for my own little produce community.
I spent a lot of time browsing Pinterest for tutorials, talking to friends who are master gardeners and eavesdropping on conversations between the Pike's Nursery employees and customers like myself. I have found myself consumed with questions about which varieties are best for my climate/zone/neighborhood/backyard, where to plant which items, how much to water or how little to fertilize, how to deter deer from my yield, what kind of soil is best, how long until plant maturity, how to prune, etc. The questions go on and on! My Google searches over the past month have become ridiculously suburban. But finally! The planting has begun! And I must say, I'm pretty proud.
Here's what the garden beds looked like before:
I was ready to rip out all those bushes. Clearly, this bed was made for gardening! But it would be a serious investment to replace all of them at once, so Stevie and I decided to focus on the area where catnip was planted and replace that with my first round of Autumn vegetables. In case you're wondering, the catnip is the crazy green wispy plant that looks like a weed. Actually, it was getting choked by a lot of weeds. I believe the previous owners planted the catnip because it's supposed to be a mosquito deterrent? Whatever. It had to go.
I bought so many seeds. Too many, actually, when I realized how much space they would take up. I also bought some plants that had already been growing in their containers. I transplanted them, along with planting some seeds, all which should produce a fall harvest! THIS FALL.
Stevie's a good gardening teacher. He warned me that the most time consuming and laborious part of this endeavor would be pulling up all that catnip and PREPARING THE SOIL. I sort of laughed at him, like, "Yeah, but I'm AMPED. This is going to be so fun!!!"
It quickly became time consuming and, yeah, laborious.
Thank goodness my trusty sister came along for the entire planting excursion and kept me laughing. She had me in stitches while we attempted to wheel the tons of muddy soil and weed-eaten catnip up the hill and dump it in the back corner of our property. And she laughed with me when every single neighbor in our hood came by to say hello while we were working in the front yard. There was a solid hour and a half that we just stood in the sun, shielding our faces, making small talk with my new community. What a trooper, my dear sister. That gal is not only a true friend, but a seriously hard worker.
Oh yeah. And we did crap like this.
Early in the day shenanigans.
All in all, it took two days to get the garden planted. Once the catnip was fully removed and the soil was tilled and added and given some magical growing elixir, we got our plant on. We planted cauliflower, carrots, romaine lettuce, galactic lettuce, radishes, strawberries and two types of kale. I am so excited to watch my baby plants grow! I will keep you updated on how things begin to progress. I have no idea what I'm doing, so if you're an idiotic gardener, then we can be friends. If you're a master gardener, wanna come over and tell me what I did wrong?
Have any of you ever planted a garden? What do you wish you had known going into it? Any how-to's or tips that you wouldn't mind sharing with the class?
Have the happiest of weekend to you, friends!