Nope. You’re not lost. This blog is actually sharing a post about gardening. Is this the Twilight Zone? I think it might be.
I’ve shared my continuous plight before- the curse of the black thumb. (That sounds like a movie Johnny Depp could star in. Oh, wait…)
But y’all. Good has finally prevailed in our backyard!
Robert and I had to call in the experts on this one because, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, my dad is a master vegetable gardener. For as long as I can remember, he has always had a thriving vegetable garden every summer.
Even when I was a baby, my mom could go out in our yard and pick fresh veggies to puree into baby food. And we were able to do the same thing for Olivia when she was a wee one.
I’ve wanted to be able to grow those yummy Southern tomatoes for summer-long BLTs ever since we moved in.
So despite my tendency to kill every plant I’ve ever owned, my dad has spilled all of his tricks and secrets to me so that even those among the most “black thumbest” (that’s totally a word) can grow a gorgeous summer garden.
Supplies Used: (Some affiliate links are provided below for convenience. Full disclosure here.)
- 2- 2x12x12 pine boards
- Circular saw or table saw (optional)
- 1 bag of Peat Moss
- 2 bags of Vermiculite
- 4 bags of Black Kow Compost
- 4 bags of Mushroom Compost
- Lime powder
- Tomato Cages
- Power Drill
- Decking Screws
- Plastic Tarp
- Vegetable plants of your choice
The best vegetable plants for beginners are
- swiss chard
- green beans
- green onion
- and herbs like basil, mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives, cilantro
More intermediate plants are
Tip: Planting marigolds around your garden can help keep deer, rabbits, and plant-destroying insects away.
Oh, and a couple of strapping guys are helpful if you happen to have them on hand somewhere. 😉 But that’s optional.
- For the frame of the raised bed, cut the two boards to 2 4′ lengths and 2 8′ lengths and lay them on the ground where you’d like to position the raised bed. (If you’re not into braving power tools, Lowe’s can usually do the wood cutting for you.)
2. Place the sheet of cardboard underneath the boards and attach the boards together at the corners with decking screws using your power drill.
And your box should end up looking something like this. The cardboard will break down over time, but it acts as a barrier to keep the weeds out.
3. Then for the soil, pour all of the different types of compost, vermiculite, and peat moss onto the tarp and mix it thoroughly. You can use the tarp as a tool to mix all of it together rather than a shovel by folding the corners of the tarp in and out and dumping it in the box. Be sure to work in batches.
4. When all of the bags are mixed into the box, till it thoroughly for even better distribution.
5. Then, decide on the placement of your plants. We decided on Early Girl tomatoes, Celebrity tomatoes, Grape Cherry tomatoes, basil, zucchini, summer squash, Hot Golden Cayenne peppers, Sweet Banana peppers, and Mammoth jalapenos.
6. Dig the holes for your plants and pour the lime powder into them.
7. And recruit little hands as needed for planting. 😉
Olivia absolutely loved getting her hands in that dirt with her daddy…
…and her super awesome gardener grandaddy who is way better at showing her the ropes than I am when it comes to the outdoors.
To help repel aphids and other parasites from our garden, we placed marigolds between the plants. We planted basil in between our tomato plants too to repel bugs and provide extra nutrients that the tomatoes need.
Once everything was planted, we watered it well. And then we sang to our little plants and whispered sweet nothings to our new garden. (Or at least Olivia did.)
It’s now become our new adventure every morning to walk out into our backyard, give our garden a drink, and see the progress our little plants have made. So far, we have just one little bitty green tomato and a couple of teeny tiny peppers. But judging from my dad’s always spectacular garden each summer, it’ll be huge in no time.
Cooking with all of our veggies is going to be our next adventure… and hopefully the kitchen will be all finished with its makeover by the time that happens. (Update coming on that later this week.)
So for now, we just sit on our back patio and keep our eyes peeled for any veggie action. We literally watch plants grow around here. And I swear that’s way more exciting than it sounds.
If we have to live in the suburbs of the city, at least we have this tiny glimpse of country living to make us feel a little more connected to our roots.
Have you planted anything lately that you’re excited about yet? Or do you have any gardening tips you’d be willing to share? We’re all ears here!
P.P.S. If you’re in the mood for some peeks into pretty homes and want to share your own, a few friends and I are hosting a series on Instagram right now called #FindingMyStyle where you can share anything about your home that represents you and your personality. It is so much fun seeing all of the different styles out there and ways people express themselves in their decor.
Happy day, friends!