It took awhile but we finally got our garden in the ground! Between our busy schedules and wet weekends I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen.
To be honest, I thought about skipping it this year when I realized how much work it was going to take to get it ready. We never cleared it off last Fall and let the weeds take over this Spring.
It’s a little embarrassing but here’s what it looked like when my youngest and I started in on it this past Saturday.
Like most things getting started was the hardest part. Once our hands were dirty and the sweat was flowing it really wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was actually kind of fun.
We made short work of the dead growth and waist high weeds. I raked it off showing a blank dirt patch. Then it was time to loosen the soil by turning it over.
It’s a hard, physically demanding job doing it by hand instead of using a tiller but I kept telling myself, and my daughter, that it’ll make us really appreciate the produce our garden will yield this Summer.
Four hours after we started the garden had been cleared, raked, turned over, raked again, and was ready for planting. The garden was ready but my daughter and I where not. We were beat and didn’t have any seeds or plants.
Rest and a plan were needed. We talked about what we wanted to include in our garden and decided to get it all the next day.
Armed with our list we headed to the store on Sunday. We brought my oldest along because she had plans for an herb garden this Summer. That will be her project and I’m guessing she’ll be guest blogging about it in the future.
While we were there I also got a forgotten part I needed for my rain barrel water collection system I’ve been working on. There are still a few things I want to tweak on them before doing a full write-up about them here on my blog. Here is what one of the two barrels looks like so far.
Armed with a bunch of seeds and plants we headed home and got to work. The first thing we did was map out where we thought things should go. Then we put everything in the ground.
There is something really satisfying about planting a garden… especially after working so hard to get it ready.
So, what did we plant? Here’s the rundown:
Our 2016 Family Garden
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers – One of the plants when we got home had an orange bell pepper tag in it even though we grabbed it from among the jalapeños.
We planted it any way. If it is an orange bell pepper it will give me an excuse to try making stuffed peppers. I do plan on picking up another jalapeño plant. I need to be sure we have enough jalapeños to make my favorite grilled jalapeño poppers.
4 beefsteak tomato plants – I like these for making BLT’s and fresh pico de gallo. I also like to have extras to give to garden-less friends.
1 grape tomato plant – I love the sweet flavor of these. They’re great in salads and for making my BLT appetizer bites.
2 long rows of stringless green beans – I could eat these raw right out of the garden but they’re also good grilled, steamed, or in salads.
2 short rows of red onions – These weren’t originally part of the plan but they had a bag of onion sets marked down to 50¢. For that price we figured it was worth a shot. Plus, it’ll go good in the previously mentioned pico.
1 trellis with sugar snap peas on both sides – Another favorite veggie that’s great raw or cooked.
2 hills of slicing cucumbers – My youngest has really taken a liking to cucumbers. She loves dipping the slices in ranch and putting some in water.
2 hills of lemon cucumbers – We got these for two reasons. The first, again my daughter loves cucumbers and lemons. Second, they looked cool on the seed package. Turns out the only resemblance to lemons is in color and size. Other than that they’re like a mild, single serve cucumber.
My daughter and I were both pretty proud of our efforts and stood there for a short time admiring our work.
As proud as we were… we were equally frustrated to see that by Monday night a rabbit had breached our fence and chewed off one of the beefsteak tomatoes.
Fortunately, the beefsteak tomatoes came in a six pack of plants so we had a leftover one we could immediately replace the chewed one with.
Guess I’ll need to get my pellet gun ready for bunny patrol/control.
That’s how our 2016 Family Garden has started out. I hope to share some updates as the season progresses.
Did you plant a garden this year?