Saturday, April 10, 2021

Starting a garden

I'm so excited! Yesterday I planted my first little garden at this house. It doesn't look like much at the moment, but I have high hopes.


I prepared the bed around the back porch on Friday by hoeing and digging out all of the grass and weeds. I texted my husband halfway through that task and said, "Hoeing is HARD WORK" to which he replied, "So I've heard.......!" Hahaha. All joking aside, though, it really was hard work for someone like me who's unaccustomed to such labor and out of shape to boot. I have three blisters on my hands to prove it. 

That afternoon, once I'd showered and cleaned up, I went out to Lowe's and bought seedlings. Their selection was somewhat small, but I got five indeterminate tomato plants, all heirlooms, and three determinates, all hybrids. The indeterminates:  Mr. Stripey, German Queen, San Marzano, Red Beefsteak, and Pink Brandywine. The determinates: two Celebrity seedlings and one Bonnie's Centennial. 

In addition to the tomatoes, I picked up a 6 pack of small jalapeno plants, and two little containers with 5 cucumber seedlings in them. I separated the cucumbers so I'll eventually have five separate plants. They have to grow some before I plant them, since they barely have true leaves at this point. I also bought some marigold plants and two little pots of Italian flat leaf parsley which you can see in the foreground of the photo. I also picked up some extra marigold and nasturtium seeds to sow to fill out the empty spaces some. I want the beds to be pretty as well as productive!

I did all the work of actually planting yesterday morning. All of that bending, kneeling, digging, and crawling around has left me sore today (especially in the legs). It seems to have been a really good workout! Hopefully I'll strengthen up some this summer as I work to maintain everything.

My garden bed extends around the corner of the porch into an L shape. Five of the jalapenos are planted around the corner, and further along, I set out the banana plants that overwintered on the back porch in pots.


The pomegranate tree (the lower half of it) is visible at the end of the bed, by the windows. Maybe this year we'll get a few pomegranates. I dare not hope for bananas, but that would be nice! My fig tree is doing well, too, but it will probably be another year or two before we get any figs. Patience is a big part of gardening.

 I hope my garden can grow and expand in the coming years, and one of these days I'm going to build nice raised beds out in the yard. Another ongoing homeowner process, but one that I think I'll enjoy more than most!


38 comments:

  1. hahahahahaha (the hoe joke)!
    it will be interesting to watch your garden grow.
    cuke plants grow like weeds. just ask my spouse.

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    1. Yeah, we got a few laughs over my hoe activities the other day!

      I've grown cukes in large containers before and had great success, so I may do that again. I'm running out of good space in the beds for them!

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  2. I love each and every plant you planted, and you got a workout too, for free. I like the names of plants, your tomato plants names are appealing; different regions need different plants so mine have names like San Francisco Fog. I didn't plant veggies yet, maybe next week. I planted an Anna apple tree last week, it is so exciting. We plant lovers are crazy, ha ha. In a good way.

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    1. Years ago I was a bit of an heirloom tomato hobbyist and started lots of different varieties from seed. My selection this year, since I didn't start any seeds ahead of time, is only what can be found at Lowe's. San Francisco Fog sounds interesting! Never heard of that one, but your area has much different weather than here. I envy you an apple tree! It's too hot here to grow good apples. You can probably grow just about anything in Santa Cruz.

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  3. Looks like you might need to work in some sort of compost or something to improve your dirt. Or at least fertilize. That was a LOT of work and you do not want it to go to waste!

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    1. I'll be adding in both compost (as top dressing) and fertilizer as the season gets going. The dirt here is incredibly easy to dig, though. It's a combination of sand and richer, darker stuff....and has lots of earthworms...although you can't really tell by looking at these pictures.

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  4. First rule of gardening - always wear gloves if you can. They protect against blisters and small cuts and keep your hands clean! Good luck with all your new plants.

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    1. I did wear gloves, and somehow STILL got blisters!

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  5. Growing banana plants how totally exotic xx

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    1. The first freeze next fall will kill them off....but they'll look pretty in the meantime!

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  6. This makes me so happy to see. What satisfying work. I hope you have lots of success. I don't know about banana trees there, but we've got one in our garden by the pool and they're around town and on the beach, and get fruit every year. I wish you the same!

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    1. Thanks Mitchell! I don't have much faith that we'll ever see any bananas but the plants will be pretty and will provide some shade to that side of the porch.

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  7. You might end up with so many cucumbers that you'll be begging people to take them. May all your plants thrive.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. If I end up with a surplus of cucumbers, after I give some away I might try to make pickles!

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  8. That is a beautiful garden bed you have established, and you sure sound determined to keep building it up. Good for you, on both counts.

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    1. Eventually I hope to build raised beds elsewhere and then I'll plant roses around the porch!

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  9. More power to you. The $$ you pay for plants will pay you back in the $$$$$ you save by not having to buy the veggies at the store.

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    1. We buy lots of fresh tomatoes in the summer so it would definitely save us money to have some productive plants!

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  10. You've worked hard and it shows in a lovely garden! There is nothing like home grown tomatoes!

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  11. I love this, Jennifer - well done, you!
    San Marzano are OK‘s favourite kind of tomatoes, he usually buys them canned for soups, sauces and pizza from a rather expenisve shop here.
    It is good that your beds will be both productive and beautiful! Won‘t George dig in the soil?

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    1. I also buy San Marzano tomatoes in cans. Hopefully I'll get a few fresh ones!

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    2. Oh, and George BETTER NOT! ;)

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  12. Your work will pay off big time as it sure sounds like you know what you are doing. Good luck!

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  13. You did a great job clearing that bed! What is a determinate vs. indeterminate tomato plant?

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    1. In a nutshell....determinates grow quickly, stay compact, set fruit all at once, and then they're finished. Indeterminates continue growing and setting fruit all season.

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  14. How strange - I was planting up a new garden this week - more raised beds than full garden if I'm honest. But I find it difficult to envisage and often get the plant sizes mixed up - I guess I just want it all to happen to quickly. You seem much better planned and patient!

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    1. I'm not as patient as I should be! I have to examine my plants every day, twice a day, for any signs of growth or change!

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  15. Good for you!
    There is nothing so exciting about planting a garden.
    May it bring you great joy.

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  16. It's nice to start small and then slowly expand every year. It gives you a chance to 'design' in your mind.

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    1. Yes! I really want raised beds for veggies but can't afford to build them this year.

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  17. I am anxious to see future pictures of your garden as it grows. Kudos to you for doing this as it is indeed a lot of work!

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  18. Good work Jennifer! I expect that you will derive a lot of joy from this project. I hope that your various vegetable plants thrive this summer. To avoid blisters in future you may wish to invest in a pair of gardening gloves.

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    1. I wore gloves, but they were old and I think they got some dirt inside them....hence the blisters.

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