Monday, May 30, 2011

Green Thumb...Yup, I've got one :)

So here's the deal! I love vegetables, and I have always admired those who have these huge gardens and they are able to have fresh salads and fresh salsa!

Growing up, I don't remember my mom ever having one (no offense mom, I think I was too little to remember it-but this woman can keep ANYTHING alive - and bring anything back from the dead-she has single handedly brought back to life several plants that I have killed!)

Now that I am living in my own house with MY family and cooking for our family, I decided this is the year :) The deal with Josh was, if I could keep tomato plants alive on our deck last summer that I could start a garden THIS summer! Well, I DID IT!

After a lot of planning and talking with my friend Deb Nelson (we work together and she is a genius when it comes to gardening), and talking with Ron at Stiver's Nursery! I was ready to begin the process of creating the PERFECT garden!

Here is my biggest challenge: Keeping it all alive and actually growing vegetables!

My original plan did not include sweet corn; however, my wonderful neighbor Carrie came over one day with two mailing envelopes filled with two different kinds of sweet corn! She informed me that she works with a farmer, and he gave her a bunch of seeds! Knowing I was going to start a garden this year, she gave me her leftovers :) SO NICE! So my plans changed...I was now going to grow sweet corn!

What I'm feeling: NERVOUS! Our first summer that we moved into our house, I had a ton of flowers for our deck-I killed everyone of them...What if I plant this huge garden (6' X 12') in our backyard, and I ruin the whole thing...FAIL!

I DO NOT LIKE TO FAIL...I will do this - and if I'm going to do this - I have to do it the RIGHT way! Time to turn to the experts :)

Measuring out my garden!!

All ready to CUT UP!

Ron (I don't know his last name) and his wonderful wife have been SO HELPFUL and supportive of my new venture in life :) They are the owners of Stiver's Nursery in Austin, MN (located down the road from us!) Ron wanted me to do it right from the start!

He was telling me that I needed to tear up my grass, but had to get the roots out! Sure, I'll just shovel it out...NO, that would take too long! So he lent me this sod cutting thing must have been used WAY back in the day...but hey - it works! And let me tell you, I cut the whole thing! And holy cats was it hard :)
This is SO much harder than it looks!

I kept pushing through!

EXHAUSTED!

...and still not done!

The beginning of my new compost pile!

I had to measure out my garden and cut all the sod! I made several trips with our wheel barrel to our new compost site in our yard! I got down and dirty and right to work! After my garden had been cut, I had to get compost!
Sure thing...hmmm...where from! After doing some research, I borrowed my friend Katie's truck to go to a local farmer to BUY compost...crazy, never thought I'd be doing that! He used his fork lift thing and dumped 2 HUGE loads in the bed of her truck! Really, do you think I need that much for a 6'x12' garden?
That is some serious compost!

Convinced daddy to help move compost around :) Callie even got in on the action!

She was ready to get dirty!

Helping mommy drive the truck around the backyard!

Compost pile in my garden!

Unloading this compost SUCKED! I had to have Josh come help me, because I was EXHAUSTED! We had so much left over too...didn't really know what to do with it, so we added it to our "new compost pile" in our backyard! Great!

FINALLY!

Next on the list - Till the dirt! Sure thing! I talked to our neighbors about borrowing their tiller - how hard could this really be!? Sure, after looking at the thing, I am SO HAPPY that Steve came over and tilled my garden for me! When he was finished, he stuck his hand in the dirt and it just sank! It looked like the ground was eating his hand ;)
It's been Tilled!

This was perfect conditions for planting! After heading BACK to Stiver's Nursery, Mrs. Stivers (that's what I'm going to call her), was so helpful, patient and knowledgeable about picking out the "perfect" plants and seeds for planting! She took time to teach me about different aspects of having a successful garden-which I really appreciate!

Ready for planting!

After I got home, I got right to planting! In my 6'x12' garden - from left to right - I have:
2 rows of sweet corn, 4 tomato plants (2 big juicy red tomato plants and 2 roma tomato plants), green beans (seeds), peas (seeds), 6 plants of green peppers, 4 jalapeƱo plants, and 2 cucumber hills!


MMM...Tomatoes!

Green Beans!

Peas!

Everything! Posts are in and ready for the chicken wire!

Finishing touches!


COMPLETE!


It all looks so delicious already!

Cucumbers :)

Super Fantastic Tomatoes

YUMMY - JalapeƱos!

Because I am fortunate enough to have such a big yard AND a very supportive husband, he showed me an area in our yard that would be GREAT for a pumpkin patch! I wanted to have one so Callie could watch them grow all summer into the fall, but knew they take up a TON of space! So I also planted 2 hills! 1 hill has 2 pumpkin plants and the other hill has 2 watermelon plants! I have no idea if these will grow, but it will be fun to find out :)

My not so fancy pumpkin/watermelon patch!
This clearly did not get as much attention! If they grow they grow!

After Callie went to bed one night, Josh and I went out and set up the chicken wire around my garden to protect it from the rabbits, squirrels & deer that roam in our yard :) Josh was such a HUGE help in getting this in!

So far - my corn has broken through the dirt! I planted it a little close, but I can thin it out now that I know I did it too close! It's been a couple weeks and everything is STILL ALIVE!

Now it's just the waiting game, but I am SO excited to watch my VERY FIRST GARDEN GROW!!!

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