Our Garden Project - The Beginning Stages

I have been thinking about starting a raised garden since Christmas and told Brett it was one of his Christmas presents when really it was just a project I needed to tackle. Ha! He didn't seem to mind. After weeks of elaborate scheming and slightly unrealistic goals of growing and pureeing all of Ruby's baby food myself, and then realizing we'd be out of town quite a lot this summer anyway, I settled on ONE garden bed. One little 4' x 4' garden bed to grow our favorites, to serve as a low risk investment until we have a better handle on gardening, and just enough to teach Sebastian about how plants grow.

Last weekend I managed to make it to the store with both kids in tow twice! The first trip wast to get materials for our tree swing and the second was for the garden and front lawn. We've been renting for almost two years now and I've always hated how our front yard looked but haven't wanted to put any money into fixing it in case we were to move. I think it was a commitment issue but this is the longest we've lived anywhere since we've been married so can you blame me? So Sunday night we were all out in the front yard while Brett moved the existing slabs of rock, pulled up the plastic tarp, tilled the dirt, and layed out where we'll be planting our elephant ear tubers. I love elephant ears. Some of our neighbors have them so I know they'll be just fine in these parts. Now I have about 30 square feet of bare yard to reseed when S is occupied.

I wouldn't get anything done if I didn't have someone keeping me on task. Ruby has been assigned project manager and tends to stay on top of things. Sebastian has been deemed my
quality inspector and part time sander. He just stops by from time to time to make sure I'm not slacking in my craftsmanship and to do touch ups when I've missed a spot.

If all turns out as intended we should have a tree swing up in the next day or two and the garden frame finished. I have two weeks until the farmer's almanac says we're mostly clear of a frost so I'm going to be patient and wait to put anything in the ground. After the stunt Spring pulled on us two weekends ago, I'm not taking any chances. Snow? Really? So far we've got a raspberry bush, broccoli, sweet onions, two strawberry plants, tomatoes, lavender, mint, and sunflower seeds. I honestly didn't have any more room in my cart so I'm going back next week for bell peppers, more strawberries, and maybe more onions. Not exactly a well rounded garden but we're keeping it fun! Who doesn't like strawberries!

photo from ApartmentTherapy

Build Your Own
If you're not past planting dates already, here are a few helpful posts on starting your own container gardens on Apartment Therapy. See how my friend Ashley did it. She's a power tool wielding super mama! And see how Pioneer Woman made it easy and entertaining for us all.

photo from ApartmentTherapy

Believe it or not there are gardening trends. See what people are planting and why.
Another link for starting a relatively manageable backyard garden.
How to know when to plant.
What plants do best in your region.
Another great resource for starting your urban garden.
You Grow Girl is a great gardening blog. You can also check out her new book Grow Great Grub.

photo from ApartmentTherapy

Gardening is the new ________ (fill in the blank).
Check out the produce aisle in the Bratcher family's backyard!
Made From Scratch, a book about the ultimate DIY lifestyle.

If you've got a link to a gardening resource that you've found helpful, feel free to add it in the comment section below. I tend to need all the help I can get in this department! I'll be sure to share our progress as we go.


p.s. Thanks for the link help from twitter friends!


BuenoBueno said...

oooh thanks! ill check out the links.
we started gardening too, this time it will stick!


The Monster & Me said...

I reallllly need to get on the spring garden wagon, oy. thanks for the great links :)


Anonymous said...

agghhh!! i can't wait for the weather here in Chicago to get warm already! i love gardening!

homemade grits said...

rachel- love that you are giving growing food a go! my husband and i started last summer and it is so rewarding.

check out alys fowler's book:

it is one of my favorites.

i also love:


great for teaching sebastian as you go...

good luck!

Jenny said...

I loved raised bed gardening. Before I had lots of space I used to plant in anything I could find. Stacked tires to grow potatoes (a wonderful method), old wheelbarrows with holes drilled in the bottom.

What a fun project for all of you!

Don't forget to plant cherry tomatoes! My Grands just sit by the plants in the garden and eat until they're bursting.

Meg said...

awesome! i'm planning on starting an herb garden soon - i'm so excited :) thanks for all the resources!

wecangowindowshopping said...

I've always wanted to do something like this
1 I'm just afraid I'll mess up and kill the plants!

<3 Maya

Rebecca said...

Looks wonderful! I love the description of the children's duties :)

Laura Young said...

Sounds like you're off to a good start! Wish our last frost date was only a couple of weeks away... :)

Vivianna said...

this is a great post!

Sharon said...

we are getting ready to move back to CA and i cant wait to start my 4x8 garden there!

Kate said...

oh my goodness! thank you so much for this post. i'm going to have my first garden this year, and i'm pretty excited. the links will be so helpful!


this is so lovely! wow!

Tara said...

Thanks for the links:) I've just started growing some of my veggies from seed (can't plant outside in Calgary until late May b/c of frost).

One of my favourite urban gardener films is this one of the Dervaes backyard:

We're about to start building some raised beds since our soil is all clay. I really like these instructions from Sunset magazine:

Have a fantastic day!

Amber said...

We are getting ready to start our little garden too. I checked out several books from the library but this one was the most helpful:
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

He has some amazing ideas!! I just hope my little garden will look as good as his.

Victoria said...

I used to help in my neighbors' garden a lot as a child. It looked like a boot! I still love shelling peas.

If memory serves planting the onions near your tomatoes will keep those nasty tomato worms at bay.

anne esquibel said...

Hey girl we have two raised garden beds. The most successful produce was root veg, beets and onions - carrots. Because it's raised up and mostly composed of compost - there wasn't a lot of pests in the ground.

Um also - Strawberries grow GREAT in hanging planters! Just so you know. You'll want to grow about 3 or 4 plants to yeild enough fruit to enjoy or do anything with. Ours grew kind of viney.

Just some ideas.


Angela said...

I've been really wanting to try my hand in gardening this year, so thanks for all of the resources!!

geek details said...

Since you're in MO, check out the missouri conservation site. They have super cheap plants. As in I just bought 75 plants for $30 (OMG!) http://missouriconservation.com/

Roxanne said...

We just moved and I'm so excited to get started on a little garden; most likely a container garden. I'm a big reader of Mother Earth News Magazine and they always have awesome tips and articles in their mag and online. Hope it brings you a bountiful harvest Rachel!

Paula Ga said...

gardening is cute!
i hope that you can visit my blog.

Kristen said...

If you have bunnies in your area a helpful tip to keep them out of your garden, plant marigolds around your crops!!

jari spry said...

so excited to see this post! we've been renting here too for about 2 years... when we lived in south dakota i had a biggy garden that i looooved! (and we actually got a lot of veggies!) tuesday at mops we are learning more about container gardening.. and you can bet that i'll be looking up these links too! yays! and yes... strawberries & onions will most def be on that list!

Crissy said...

Oh I can't wait to have my own garden! your little helpers are so cute. :o)

Spring Patch said...

I hope you enjoy gardening! I certainly like it. Thanks for the great websites. I'm going to check them out.

As a fellow Springfidian, definitely don't plant things until you know it won't frost. I tend to get overenthusiastic and then end up with dead plants. May 10th is our official frost date, but I have always seen May 1 as a good planting time.

I like to use the Friends of the Garden website here in Springfield for helpful gardening information. Their calendar (here: http://www.swmogardens.com/fogcalendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=600) always has a monthly calendar to help determine when to plant and prune, etc, etc.

xxoo Klara said...

WOW! You sound like I feel :) A month ago I played with gardening for the first time and planted a small potted herb garden. I learnt from the staff at the garden shop all about fertilisers and nutrients and stuff, and my plants are totally flourishing, which has me convinced if I can do it, anyone can. Yay! I'm now addicted to playing with my garden and adding more... eeek!