We had our first garden this last summer. It was quite the experience and I completely enjoyed it. My family had a lot of fun growing and eating. In fact, now my kids want to save every single seed they come upon. We have enough pumpkin seeds to grow a small pumpkin patch next year. We have several apple seeds to grow half-a-dozen apple trees. Problem is, we live in a city so we don’t have the room to have a pumpkin patch or a orchard! I do love their enthusiasm and the learning that has taken place.
We’ve not taken down and cleaned out the garden. As I look back over last summer, I know I’ve learned a lot. As I look forward to next year, I know I’ve got a few things to change.
Boy has this first year taught me a few things! Here’s a quick list of lessons I learned:
1) Start planting earlier- middle of May
2) Inside sprouting happens very quickly- within a week!
3) Consider plant shading when planting- my tomatoes were overshaded by my cucumbers
4) Herbs are better inside- none of my herbs grew 😦
5) Non-organic seeds grew better- non of the organic seeds grew
Changes for next year:
1) Will plant my tomatoes and cucumbers further away from each other
2) Will plant more tomatoes and cucumbers
3) Will have 1 child at a time helping with planting the seeds
4) Will plant squash
5) Will use a wooden bed (if I can get my husband on board with this!)
Did you do a garden this year? What lessons did you learn? What do you plan to do differently next year? I’d love to hear from you, so please share any gardening tips you have.
This gardening experience has been so much fun. The kids have really enjoyed it. My son every morning and evening goes out to check the progress of our labors. He excitedly exclaims “there’s one!” as he finds the growing cucumbers. My husband checks things over and was the first one to notice the little ones growing on the vine.
Not everything has gone well with our little experimental garden. Here’s a few things that could use some improvement:
1) No herbs grew. Not. One. That was a huge disappointment. I love, love, love cooking with fresh herbs and couldn’t wait to cook with ones I’d grown. It can’t get any fresher than grabbing it out of your very own garden! But, that hasn’t worked out for us.
2) Our volunteer plant. Now, it was great to have a volunteer zucchini plant from our compost pile. Downfall however it not only grew right over our onions but also got the grubs. Yeah, not fun. So, not only did several onions die/not grow but so did the volunteer plant.
3) Organic Seeds were a bust. The first time I went shopping for seeds I was with my sister-in-law. She’d favored organic seed and I didn’t have a preference. So, I purchased organic. I went back several weeks later and purchased a few more seeds. Luckily I did otherwise we’d have nothing in our garden. Yup, the organic seeds never grew.
There are a lot of amazing things going on with our garden. Here’s a few of those.
1) Cucumbers galore! Oh boy did our cucumbers take off! My husband is very much looking forward to some home-made pickles and I’m excited to try out canning this year!
2) Just enough tomatoes. We have 4 tomato plants right now. Two are quite small and are on the verge of the cucumber hostage situation become a complete take-over. The largest plant has a couple of green tomatoes on it. I’m certain the second to largest will have some soon with the smaller plants following shortly after.
3) Watering is relaxing. I love watering the garden in the evenings. The sun is going down and I’m out there alone. The neighbors all retreated into their homes. It’s just me and my little garden.
4) Family enjoyment. As I mentioned above, my kids love the garden. In fact last week when we picked our first few cucumbers, my son was a bit overzealous and picked one early. They squeal with delight as they look for more veggies on the vine. That enjoyment is priceless.
5) Educational opportunities. Growing the garden has helped with educational opportunities. Not only do we talk about the fun of growing our own food but the importance of doing it. We have the chance to add a little science to our life by discussing why worms are important to gardens.
We’ve learned a lot this year so far with our garden. So much it would be hard to narrow it down and make a list. However, the top two things at this moment that I’ve learned is this: 1) it’s not nearly as difficult as I once thought 2) Joy of a garden outweighs any heartache (or body ache).
How’s your gardening going? What challenges have you faced? What benefits have you received? I would love to hear from you!
This entry was linked-up at Graced Simplicity.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is rich and supplied. Prov 13: 4
I’m having our first family vegetable garden this summer and its been an experience so far! We have a small plot, I’ve added in a few pictures below. I’ve planted carrots, onions, tomatoes, herbs, and cucumbers. I started this little project with a lot of excitement. We’d been putting off gardening because of our plan to move. Well, now that plan has changed and I insisted we not wait any longer to plan the garden. So, we have a family garden.
My definition of a family garden is we all work in it. Now, I’ll admit, since it was my idea I’ve worked the most in it and anticipate I’ll continue to do the most work. And I’m OK with that. However, everyone will eventually get their hands dirty. The kids have already helped me with the digging and planting. My son was so excited and enthusiastic about it. My daughter loved digging and pulling some of the weeds to get started but needed some encouragement to get her hands in the dirt. I’m really looking forward to summer time spent as a family in our garden.
Since it was small plot, I didn’t want to pay to till the ground. So, I bought a hand tiller and tilled it myself. Now that as a lot of work! Despite working out, my muscle felt a bit sore the next morning after tilling. The tilling and preparing the dirt took the longest. I was so gung-ho that the first weekend I managed to till 3/4 of the garden space. My enthusiasm slowed and it took an additional 3 nights and a weekend to complete the last 1/4.
After the tilling was done, the rest of the planting went much easier. Since I tilled the ground over about a 3 week period (it kept raining on me!), I had to go back over most of it to re-loosen-up the soil. After I did that, I spread some of our composit soil over the top and worked it into the ground. Ideally, I wanted to let it sit for a few days, but since time was not on my side. I let it sit for a day and planted the seeds the next day.
The first picture is my daughter helping to shovel. The second is the garden all tilled- by hand and the third is my son planting flowers. The fourth is the planted garden.
Did you plant a garden this year? How did your planting time go? Is there a part of the process that seems like more work than another?
Our family, ok…I, decided to have a garden this year. We really wanted one last year but had a lack of time to do it. Plus we were hoping to move this summer and wasn’t certain that a garden would help us move. So, we put it off. Now that we’ve relooked at our finances and re-evaluated the housing market, we’ve decided to go on a 3 year plan. Not wanting to put off gardening for 3 plus years, we, OK me, decided this would be the year!
We do have a small flowering area in the front of our house and then along the side we usually plant a few flowers and plants. And, yes, they do get overgrown a bit with weeds. So, I don’t expect my garden will be perfect. But, I’m very excited to begin growing some of our own food. Growing-up there was always a garden. I didn’t do a lot of the work in the garden but certainly helped plant and then harvest- you know, the fun parts. I’m not a huge fan of dirt and certainly not a big fan of the things that LIVE in dirt. But, I do love the idea of my veggies!
We are going to be on vacation over the next week and won’t be able to actually get our hands dirt (eww…) until we return. But that hasn’t stopped me from moving forward. I now have a hand tiller so when we get back I can plot out my territory. The seeds were on sale so I bought a few of those too. So far I’ll be growing: Carrots, Cucumbers, Herbs, Tomatoes, and marigolds. I originally thought I’d grow the tomatoes from plants. However, I realize how cheap seeds are and that I could start them inside while I was gone. The Marigold are for keeping the bunnies away. I hope that works!
I found this nifty little plant starter kit at Menards. We had a family activity to plan the seeds in here. It has 36 slots. The kids loved playing in the dirt, I’m not sure I’d call them helpful…..Anyways, it self waters for up to 10 days which is perfect because I’ll refill up the water tomorrow night and it should be good until our return.
Here’s the nifty little self-watering plant starter: