When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Gardening

By | May 13, 2015

Have I mentioned we’ve been busy lately?

If not, well, let me just say that the 9 remaining weeks leading up to Beanie’s due date are destined to be busy for Wyatt and I. Between garages sales, cleaning, house projects, baby showers, possible relaxing weekends away, and just regular life stuff like church events and time with friends and family, we aren’t likely to have a ton of time to just relax and do nothing while waiting for Beanie to finish growing and make his or her debut into the world.

(Can I just squeal a little at how excited I’m getting to think how close this all is? I’m so pleased we decided to wait to find out if Beanie is a girl or boy–and I’m so excited to finally know!)

That being said, we considered, briefly, skipping the garden this year. Wyatt thinks it will end up being a lot of work for him if I’m not feeling up to helping this summer. I agree…but I also know how much joy the garden brings me, and I know I’ll regret it if we don’t even try. So what if we water a little less and end up with a lot more weeds, it will still be better than a blank, sad empty garden out there all year. So, it was time to get going on this project for the year. Things were looking a little…neglected.

Weeded and Trimmed Garden Prep 2015 Before

We started by weeding. Things were pretty icky out there after the long winter and early spring we seemed to have.

Weeded and Trimmed Garden Prep 2015 Before 5

Darn dandelions.

Weeded and Trimmed Garden Prep 2015 5

Wyatt also trimmed the shrubs that always reach through the fence onto our side of the yard.

Weeded and Trimmed Garden Prep 2015 Before 4

That makes things a lot cleaner looking. Big difference, right?

Weeded and Trimmed Garden Prep 2015 3

Then, we added 10 new bags of cedar mulch to keep the weeds down as much as possible for the year. It also helps to have all the plastic weed barrier covered up. That’s a pet peeve of mine from my landscaping days.

Weeded and Trimmed Garden Prep 2015 2

Finally, we were ready to plant. I tried using seeds the first couple years but eventually decided it was too much work and not enough reward. I have MUCH better luck leaving all that prep work to the professionals and just buying seedlings. Even small seedlings seem to do better than seeds.

Garden Prep 2015

Of course, I still use seeds for the easy stuff, like green beans and peas.

Green Bean Seeds

Herbs usually do just fine from seeds, too. Our go-to garden goodies to plant from seedlings are various peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers.

We’re also planning to plant some onion bulbs this year, given to us by a friend from church. And I always do spinach and lettuce from seeds. Since we have a small suburban garden, I get a few years use out of each seed packet so I save them from year to year to use again.

This year, my in-laws gave me a bunch of herb seed packs.

Garden Seeds from in-laws

And a few of their leftover garden seedlings…

Garden Seedlings from In-laws

Then, we grabbed a few of our other favorites from Westlake’s. (I’ve found they have a MUCH larger vegetable selection than Home Depot or Lowe’s.) Plus, their little 4-packs are only $1.79…way cheaper than the larger plants you’ll find at Home Depot. And I figure why not plant 4 when it’s cheaper than planting one?

Westlake Eggplant Seedlings

We did get a few plants from Home Depot though, including another pack of strawberries to expand our selection a little more.

More Strawberries to Plant

They are already blooming and we have some little berries out there on their way to being ready. They are one of my favorites to grow…and eat.

Strawberries in Garden 2015 Before

I also picked up two little okra seedlings.

Okra seedlings

I don’t actually care that much for okra, but we saw some last year at Powell Gardens and the blooms were so pretty I had to try it. I’m not sure ours will get that tall or bloom that well, but we wanted to try it anyway. Plus, my mom likes okra a lot and if she comes to visit Beanie like I’m thinking she will this summer, maybe she can cook some and enjoy it while she’s here.  But if not, it will be decorative at least, I hope. I mean, wowza, right?

Powell Gardens Okra

I would really, really like to grow zucchini again this year because it’s my favorite summer vegetable of all time, but with Beanie coming in July, we know we won’t have the time to commit to fighting the dreaded squash borers. You can read more about our first experience with them in this post. And how we fought them last year, here.

Squash Vine Borer Eggs in Bag

I’m crossing my fingers I can convince my mom to try and grow some for me, though. She swears she isn’t a gardener, but since she’s retired, I’ve been trying to convince her to get started. It is a great hobby to have, and I don’t think she’ll have our trouble with the squash borers anyway. My grandma had never heard of them, so I’m thinking we must just have more trouble with them where we live for some reason. We’ll see.

I always plant a flat of marigolds, too. It helps add color to attract pollinators. And they have a strong smell that is supposed to ward off some garden pests. I’m not sure it works super well, but I think it can’t hurt to try. This year, I choose a new limey-yellow variety since they were a little different.

Marigolds for Garden

We also scored a bin of organic fertilizer (AKA–cow manure) from Wyatt’s dad over the weekend that we’re planning to mix into our beds as we plant tonight.

Organic Garden Fertilizer

And we’ve added some soil to supplement since we seem to lose some every year as it compacts and settles a little more. I know it will be a busy summer, but I can’t imagine going without our garden now that it’s come to be such a big part of our lives every year. How would I make pepper jelly without a garden full of jalapenos? 🙂

Anyway, I’ll be back with some updates, as usual, when things get going out there. Have you started your garden yet? What are you planting? I’d like to branch out some more, but I’m not sure I know what else to try…suggest some of your favorites!

2 thoughts on “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Gardening

  1. donita

    I will take some okra too. I can’t believe we already have ours planted, it is usually Memorial Day before we get it done. I still need to get some zucchini too.


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