Sunday, July 7, 2013

How Does YOUR Garden Grow?

I have always loved the idea of planting a garden. We have our own place now and decided to take a stab at our first attempt of growing some veggies. We didn't go too crazy this first year since we are inexperienced and it takes a lot of work the first year. The soil is not the best in our little plot because it is very rocky and the house backs a field of crazy wild weeds. Seriously, I want to go back there and use Roundup on the whole strip that backs our yard, but the wind would just pick it up and continue blowing the weeds into our lawn anyway, so we just do a lot of weeding. By the way, we in the Pacific Northwest do extra weeding because our weeds get lots of water to grow. The bright side? Less watering the garden.

We had a nice pallet or two that we decided to repurpose and make a planter box. I am a big fan of re-purposing and multi-use items. Paul took a lot of time pulling all the nails out of the pallet, then treated it with a formula that the Department of Agriculture uses to keep the wood from rotting. Once that arduous task was complete, Paul dug away a plot for the box and set it in place. We then had to get a truck load of specially formulated soil and combined it with some regular dirt from the ground. Yep, my amazing husband moved all the dirt
from the truck to the backyard. With all this hard work you'd think we would have at least made a bigger planter box, right?!? Next year we will add more now that we know we can actually grow stuff!

We planted all that we could fit in the box: lots of tomato plants of different varieties (probably eight plants), pole green beans, beets, turnips, radishes, swiss chard, red cabbage, and cucumbers. Everything is coming along quite well except the cucumbers completely died. I am really impressed with the size of the turnips, radishes, and swiss chard. I could sell them to a grocery store and be legit! I'm going to try making a scalloped turnips recipe in place of potatoes...hoping it comes out better than it sounds!

We had extra soil and dispersed it around the edges of the yard in areas where we put things like zucchini and squash that require lots of room and aren't too picky. We transplanted some raspberry shoots from my parents' garden. We just hope they survive the mega heatwaves and downpours until they can produce next summer. They are pretty much a weed so as long as they don't get choked by the blackberry plants creeping through the cyclone fence we should be okay.

Some strawberry plants were already here when we moved in. They have done quite well for doing nothing with them. When we get home in the evening the kids and I enjoy discovering how many ripe ones are ready for eating. Grandma and Grandpa Guinn's strawberry plants are delicious as they keep growing each year. We have been going there frequently and filling up on those gorgeous ones! We will transplant some shoots for next summer.

I tried to spruce up the back deck as that is where most of our view is. I wanted a nice outdoor eating area. I would love a patio set and umbrella that resembles one from Pottery Barn, but my dreams will have to rest for now. I found a table that was the size I wanted and could resist water. It's not an outdoor table and originally had shiny metal legs (a little too modern and tacky for my taste). So I killed two birds with one stone by spray painting the frame with Rustoleum which would endure the weather as well. I had extra paint and decided to match this garage sale find wrought iron bench as well. The original cushion was pretty worn so I just recovered it with a fun print. Also added few accent pillows from material I already had (all outdoor material).

Before recovering and painting

The umbrella is a big umbrella, but I may try painting stripes on it someday. I dunno, beige is just a bit boring. I couldn't beat $30 for the stand and all! (Ones that resemble this are hundreds of dollars! Trust me, I looked). I added the pallets for color and to hide the cyclone fence with weeds poking through. I want it to look weathered so I didn't paint it well on purpose but didn't want to put too much effort into it either. (Can I admit that I am tired of projects?)

I was considering chopping down and even removing these hydrangea plants that are taking up our front porch, but decided against it after seeing them in bloom. Gorgeous! I'll just trim them nice and low for a more manicured look next summer.

Like I've already said, we have lots of rocks in our soil. We decided to put a couple of them to good use. Reina helped out on this project. (Ignore the plastic ground cover...removing soon)

Baelor especially likes dipping everything in the water & sand table sans sand.

I am in the process of creating a potting bench as well out of this front door someone was selling for nearly free. Originally I was going to use some more pallets and see if Paul could make a couple of shelves for the bench portion, but drove by a wood dresser with a "free" sign on it and stuffed it in the van on the way home. I felt so awkward stuffing a dresser in the van. First of all, it was just me lifting it haphazardly in the car, realizing I had to reshuffle Reina's seat forward so she had to sit cross-legged in her carseat. It was dark so I kinda felt like I was being sneaky AND the owner was peering through the blinds and pacing. Yup, AWKWARD. Due to the struggle I almost gave up, but after all the effort I was GONNA MAKE IT FIT. It is not very sturdy, but it is real wood. I think I will just seal it and keep it natural wood. I'll show the finished product once it's complete.