I really have to get better at gardening. I have two fantastic gardeners in my life as role models, my Mom and my Father-in-law. They have two very different gardens in two VERY different locations. My Mom has a wonderful ornamental and food garden (click here to get a peek at it). She’s got fantastic fruit trees; figs, apples, pears…she’s got blackberry bushes, okra, tomatoes. So many delicious things grow in her South Carolina garden. My kids have spent many Summers with them picking those blackberries and eating them straight from the bush. My Mom would freeze the rest until she had enough for a big batch of blackberries and dumplings…I’ll have to get that recipe from her. I know she cries a little on the inside when she sees my tragic yard. This year will be better.
My Father-in-law has a garden in a concrete covered yard in Queens, New York (my home town). I wish I had a picture of his garden, you would not believe the bounty he gets from a yard with very little soil. One year he grew a watermelon out of a crack in the concrete. A CRACK IN THE CONCRETE! It was AMAZING! He uses every available spot in his yard to pile some soil and plant tomatoes and okra. He gives most of his crop to the seniors’ center he and my Mother-in-law frequent. We visited them last October and came home with a whole bunch of okra and green tomatoes that I later pickled.
Every year I attempt a garden. It always starts out with so much hope. I get the entire family out to pull all the weeds and clear the leaves that have settled in our garden beds. I shop for seeds and seedlings and think about the delicious dishes I’ll serve my friends and family in just a few short months…..but it never quite works out that way.
I start off strong but my enthusiasm fades as the temperature goes up. I don’t go out for daily garden inspections, the weeds begin to make a comeback and my watering is sporadic at best. This year things will be different. This year I promise to tend to my garden with great care and my loved ones will dine on only the FRESHEST of vegetables.
We’ve cleared the planter boxes around the back patio and planting has already begun. Some resilient herbs planted several Summers ago have rebounded. The thyme was planted two years ago and while it’s not as robust as it once was it never really went away. I don’t even remember when the chives were planted but I’ve been snipping from the same bunch for a number of years. I love to see them peek through the soil in the Spring, they’ll get beautiful (and edible) blossoms in a few weeks.
I bought two beefsteak tomato plants, one bell pepper plant, one mild banana pepper plant and one cherry bomb pepper plant from Sam’s ( this is NOT a sponsored post, I really shop there). The plants were huge and already loaded with vegetables (technically fruit because they contain seeds). They were in plastic pots with cages attached but I wanted to put them into my planter beds. I had to carefully remove them from the pots as to not damage the stalks, that went pretty well.
I bought a large pot from Sam’s while I was there and used that to make a raised bed of sorts for my tomatoes. The plastic was thin and kind of brittle so it was easy to chip the bottom out with a knife. I’m not recommending you use this technique as you may damage the pot and yourself, I’m just telling you what I did. I figured removing the bottom would allow for good drainage so I filled the pot with organic garden soil and inserted the tomatoes.
We still have a long way to go but I think we’re off to a good start. I’ll plant some marigolds throughout the planter box, marigolds are natural bug repellents I’m told…and they’re pretty and cheap, too.
It’s a work in progress so stay tuned.
Do you have a backyard garden? I’d love to hear your tips and advice. Please share in the comment section below!
Kim A MasonApril 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm (8 years ago)
Tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, and watermelon. I don’t like watermelon but it’s amazing to watch them grow.Reply
Shautel WalkerApril 16, 2015 at 9:06 pm (8 years ago)
I am hoping to grow Cucumbers this year as we didn’t grow them last year and they are so much better when you grow them yourself.Reply
Tracy RobertsonApril 16, 2015 at 7:58 pm (8 years ago)
I would love to grow strawberries, yummy!Reply
Thomas MurphyApril 16, 2015 at 7:07 pm (8 years ago)
I would like to grow tomatoes.Reply
Shannon GurneeApril 16, 2015 at 6:15 am (8 years ago)
This sounds like such a fun giveaway! That cherry tomato plant seriously looks like the bomb! I would love one fully loaded like that!Reply
Carly from The Puzzled PalateApril 16, 2015 at 2:26 am (8 years ago)
I would love to do an her garden this year! Fresh is always better!Reply
Mary SomervilleApril 16, 2015 at 12:59 am (8 years ago)
I would love to grow Glass Gem Corn. It is unbelievably beautiful! I don’t really have the room, but I am inspired by that watermelon to think it could work!Reply
Bridgett WilburApril 15, 2015 at 11:24 pm (8 years ago)
I grow a little bit of everything we just love vegtablesReply
Stefani TolsonApril 14, 2015 at 9:43 pm (8 years ago)
I grew a small vegetable garden a few years ago and loved it. I have been wanting to do it again ever since. I love yours!Reply
valerie gApril 14, 2015 at 1:01 pm (8 years ago)
I need to start on my garden soon. the last of our snow is leaving, so not much longer.Reply
NatalieApril 14, 2015 at 12:26 am (8 years ago)
I have always wanted to grow fresh strawberries in my garden!Reply
Amanda SakovitzApril 13, 2015 at 8:29 pm (8 years ago)
id love to grow tomatoesReply
ChristieApril 13, 2015 at 10:37 am (8 years ago)
Yours looks so lovely. I wish I had a green thumb, I just kill everythingReply
DonnaApril 13, 2015 at 1:56 am (8 years ago)
I’ve had small and large gardens, this year, I’m doing a raised garden bed on a bit smaller scale…. I wish I had the time to do a big one this year, but just don’t.Reply
Chantel RobertsApril 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm (8 years ago)
I have the exact same issue garden starts strong but the up keep can be a bit much but this year I plan to be all in and finally get a Mr stripe tomatoe from my plant this year! So far I have 4 types of tomato plants beefsteak mr. Stripe a purple heirloom and a grape make that 5 I have a yellow cherry tomatoe plant as well. Japanese egg plant a gold zucchini a regular zucchini yellow & orange bell peppers and a bunch if herbs might be a lot but I will give them their best chance lolReply
Demetra OvertonApril 13, 2015 at 1:56 am (8 years ago)
WOW Chantel you are doing it big this year. I found a purple heirloom tomato that I’m going to try to start from seeds I collected. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Linda F.April 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm (8 years ago)
I have a lovely garden in my backyard where I grow different vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.Reply
vanessa: briteandbubblyApril 12, 2015 at 1:38 pm (8 years ago)
I wish we had a back yard to grow our own fruits and veggies. It would be a great way to save some money each month.Reply
AmandaApril 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm (8 years ago)
We grew up eating food out of my grandfather’s garden. I love the idea of eating food that you grew on your own!Reply
greentopiariesApril 12, 2015 at 7:42 am (8 years ago)
I would love to grow watermelons. Just never lived in the right place to grow them, sadly.Reply
Marina JohnApril 12, 2015 at 2:44 am (8 years ago)
This is awesome! I’ve always dreamed of growing my own food. I need to just take the plunge!Reply
AmandaApril 12, 2015 at 2:36 am (8 years ago)
That’s amazing that he grew a watermelon from a crack! I definitely don’t have a green thumb.Reply
Beth@FrugalFroggieApril 11, 2015 at 11:21 pm (8 years ago)
I just picked up some tomato plants today. My kids can’t wait to plant them.Reply
Stacey- Travel BloggerApril 11, 2015 at 10:47 pm (8 years ago)
I like the idea of using the pot. I think it looks really cool!Reply
DawnApril 11, 2015 at 10:46 pm (8 years ago)
I have always wanted to have a garden and grow my own food. Something is satisfying about eating food you grew yourself.Reply
Natalie ZApril 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm (8 years ago)
When people say healthy living is expensive, I always suggest gardening! It is nourishing to body and soul! Glad you are setting a good example! We grow lots of peppers, squash, tomatoes, herbs, greens, strawberries, carrots, radishes, blueberries, and corn. I think the best tip is that you will kill plants sometimes. Just start over or realize maybe that particular part isn’t for you (or your yard)Reply
Demetra OvertonApril 11, 2015 at 10:11 pm (8 years ago)
Great advice Natalie Z! I’ll do my best and not worry about the rest. Your garden sounds great, I may add blueberry bushes to mine too.
steve weberApril 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm (8 years ago)
I would love to grow cucumbers, peppers, onions and tomatoes.Reply
Elle P.April 11, 2015 at 5:19 pm (8 years ago)
I would love to have a large successful vegetable garden but as of now, we only grow tomatoes and it’s nearly impossible to stop the squirrels and deer from either stealing the tomatoes or chewing on the plants and destroying them.Reply
AmandaApril 11, 2015 at 2:39 am (8 years ago)
I love spring and time to plant my garden. You have some great plants!Reply
TheresaApril 11, 2015 at 2:34 am (8 years ago)
I have never tried gardening before, but I am definitely going to start tomatoes this year. I want to do cherry and beefsteak. I think those would be fairly easy for me (fingers crossed!)Reply
Chrystal @ YUM eatingApril 11, 2015 at 2:30 am (8 years ago)
I love gardening! We did a really large one last year in the space where our small barn was. It was going good until it rained really bad. I do not know if we will garden there this year because we are hoping to move. Maybe just do some containers.Reply
JeanineApril 11, 2015 at 12:11 am (8 years ago)
I can’t wait to move and have a backyard garden again! I miss having one and growing veggies!Reply
Marcie W.April 11, 2015 at 12:06 am (8 years ago)
We created our first family vegetable garden in our backyard a few years ago but the harsh desert climate was just to much to allow it to flourish. I hope you have far better luck than we did!Reply
PamApril 10, 2015 at 10:44 pm (8 years ago)
We’re actually working on our backyard garden right now. I have always had herbs but a big freeze did away with lots of them so I have to start over.Reply
PenelopeApril 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm (8 years ago)
I wish I gardened more. It seems so peaceful and rewarding. I don’t think it’s too late for me to give it a go this spring!Reply
CrystalApril 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm (8 years ago)
I try to garden also, but I do best with things that don’t require a lot of care. Whatever I can’t kill! I need to try to green up my thumb.Reply
KeciaApril 10, 2015 at 9:24 pm (8 years ago)
My grandparents and my aunt and uncle grow lots of fresh veggies and fruits. They always taste so good when they are ready to be picked! My husband and I have discussed starting a little garden in our backyard. We really should get on it!Reply
Catherine SApril 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm (8 years ago)
My girlfriend gave me a sunflower that I planted out front. That is the only gardening I have ever done. I do go to the local market on the corner for fresh fruits and veggies.Reply
Tracy @ Ascending ButterflyApril 10, 2015 at 4:28 pm (8 years ago)
City girl and apartment dweller so sadly no backyard garden for me, but my great-grandmother grew all kinds of stuff on a windowbox including beautiful flowers, I’ve got her green thumb. I’ll bet when I get a Garden I will work magic! Nice way to just be creative and get other stuff off your mind. Thanks for the giveaway too, I entered!Reply
DebraApril 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm (8 years ago)
Every year we grow tomatoes and hot peppers. The past few years though I’ve started planting a very extensive herb garden that lasts me through the summer and at the end of the season, I dry all the excess herbs and give little bottles to family & friends of my blend.Reply
Robin (Masshole Mommy)April 10, 2015 at 10:42 am (8 years ago)
I have a black thumb, so I don’t grow my own food, but I frequent my local farmer’s market. I like to buy local.Reply
ElleApril 10, 2015 at 10:07 am (8 years ago)
I did this last year, I planted a blueberry bush, which honestly was sort of sad, some peppers, Strawberries, tomatos. MY tomatos came out reallllly nice and so good that my co-worker ate them like apples, she didn’t even get home to eat it, she ate it right there. I’m going to try over again this summer after I take over my mothers backyard. I plan on doing some Spinach, Collards, Tomatos, and Carrots. I can’t wait, something about tending to a garden is so relaxing.Reply