I shared a little bit about our garden in this post, but today, I am inviting you in at the first official look of our spring garden.
I mentioned here that this garden has been a special and even sacred space to me… it has been one year since we built out this space, during a time that was difficult. We didn’t know what we were doing per say, but we researched, read, and came up with a plan to just try… some things we failed (like our cucumbers and pumpkins) and some things flourished all the way from summer into winter (hello tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers and herbs!).
Get the Look
We are just in our second growing season and are currently growing peas, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, one head of purple cauliflower and lots of herbs and flowers!
Justin just laid this pea gravel and paver border at the front of the garden last week… these are leftover materials we had from our backyard firepit area. Ideally, we would like for the entire garden to be pea gravel, but to save on cost, we opted for pine bark.
We chose to fill and surround the garden with more flowers this year to attract many pollinators. We have planted Cosmos, Zinnias, Dahlias, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Tea Roses, Snapdragons, Salvia, Daisies, Yarrow & Sweet Alyssum.
We grew the Cosmos, Zinnias, and Nasturtiums from seed… growing from seed definitely takes a bit of patience, but pays off tenfold. These Zinnias are so much more beautiful than the ones you buy from the nursery.
I purchased these White Cosmos from Johnny’s Seeds and love that these are a cut and come again flower- the more you harvest, the more blooms we should have throughout the season!
I think one of the most enjoyable things about the garden has been being able to experience it with our kids… sharing the excitement when there are tomatoes ready to pick, or flowers ready to harvest. This little girl loves to pick and eat all of our strawberries, so we have yet to have any to bring inside and eat haha!
We added this harvest table to the garden and Justin attached some galvanized screen material to the underneath so we can easily wash off any veggies.
Thanks to Garden Glory for sending these pretty watering cans for me and August to use!
We have potatoes growing in that bed across the back and peas growing along the trellis. We planted both Shelling Peas and Snow Peas which are really close to their first harvest.
We currently have 7 tomato plants planted in both of these beds on either side of the pathway (plus one random plant where a seed must have randomly fell) and we have two more tomato plants ready to plant so the plan is for Justin to build a trellis from one bed to the other for the tomatoes to climb on.
This is our first year growing some of our tomato plants from seed that I started indoors and then transplanted. Happy to report they all have flowers, so hopping they don’t drop their blooms and they product their fruit soon! I grew the tomatoes from our favorite variety of organic Sugar Bombs that we purchase at our local grocery store.
Our other favorite varieties are Super Sweet 100 and Sun Sugar. I believe we have 5 different varieties planted, some new ones we haven’t tried before, so I will report back on how they all grow. It is important to pay attention to your zone and what varieties grow well in your area.
I put up a question box in Instagram Stories yesterday and was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of questions- in a good way! It is so great to know how many of you are interested in gardening. When we decided to start a garden last year, I started to research where to start and honestly, it seems like there is this great mystery around gardening and most gardeners keeps their secrets to themselves unless you want to purchase their How-To Guides or join their online workshops… which is totally ok! But, I wanted us to figure things out without having to invest too much money so I started researching specific questions, reading books, and drafting up a plan.
Below, I am answering some of the most frequently asked questions, but I will draft up a separate post more focused on how WE started our garden and ALL of the details that went into getting it started.
Q : What size are your garden boxes?
A : We have 2 beds that are 4×8 and 1 2×8 across the back.
Q : How deep are your garden beds? Specifically for your tomatoes?
A : Ours are 18″ deep. You certainly do not need them this tall, I would recommend a bed at least 8-12″ tall for tomatoes as they like to be planted deep. We have another post planned soon on how we plant our tomatoes, so be on the lookout for that one 🙂
Q : What wood species are your garden beds made out of?
A : Mostly Cedar… the 2×4 braces are Douglas Fir. We used all wood we had from other projects which saved on cost. The beds are made of 1×8 Cedar channel siding with 2×4 braces. We did double up all sides of the beds so they are 2″+ thick instead of just 1″. I would recommend using at least a 2″ thick board so you do not have bowing over time.
Q : Anything you would do different with your beds?
A : Yes! We added a decorative top piece of wood that acts as a shelf around the tops of the beds, but the boards project out too far so when we are reaching into the beds, the wood digs into our knees or thighs. Next time around, we will either not include a top board or choose one that is thicker and doesn’t stick out from the bed too far.
Q : Specific Resources to know what to do?
A : I ordered this book and read it. I researched our zone (9a) and what grows best when. I reached out to our local county extension office and asked them what soil they recommended for our area. I watched YouTube tutorials on setting up our watering drip system (I have our water system linked in our Garden Shop). I followed other gardeners on Instagram like @Gardenaryco, @Freshexchange, @Mysimplysimple, @Baileyvantassel.
Q : Natural Fertalizer?
A : We use Mushroom Compost, Banana Water, Coffee Grounds, Egg Shells, Worm Castings, Epsom Salt, Dr. Earth Organic Pure Gold. We use Mushroom Compost with everything we plant, but these other natural options we use depending on what we are planting and what nutrients they crave/need.
Q : I have a small garden box, what should I plant?
A : One thing I have learned is don’t plant things that you don’t enjoy and love to eat. It can be really easy to want to try everything in the beginning, but if it isn’t something you and your family enjoy eating, don’t waste your time or money growing it. If you just have a small garden box, I would recommend starting with an herb garden. You can plant many herbs together in a small area and a continual harvest should yield continual growth. You could plant Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Mint, Sage, Rosemary…
Q : Total Newbie – Any advice?
A : Don’t be too intimidated… sure you will most definitely fail at some things, but you will also succeed and it will be so rewarding! First step would be finding a sunny spot in your yard that receives sun most of the day, then map out how many beds you want to start with, build or purchase your beds, fill your beds with leaves, nutrient rich soil, compost, and set up your watering drip system system. A watering system allows for consistent watering at soil level- you want to avoid watering overhead as water on the leaves can allow for fungus or sunburn. After you have all your foundations set up, you are ready to plant. Research what plants you should plant in the month you are in in your area/zone- whether you are planting seeds or seedlings. And research companion planting- what grows well with what.
As I mentioned above, I am going to write up a more in depth post on how we started our garden, but hopefully these questions and answers are helpful for now!