Sunday, July 28, 2013

Perfectionism and Adventures in Gardening

My perfectionism sometimes gets in the way of me actually accomplishing anything.  Lucky for me, hubby is far from a perfectionist.  While I will agonize over how exactly to do a project and scrutinize every detail, he will just grab some stuff and slap it together.  Case in point:  our garden.  We've been talking about making a vegetable garden for...oh, I don't know, years.  Several years ago, we attempted one at our old house, but it was quickly gobbled up by the groundhog that lived in the woods behind our house (he came into our yard so much, we even gave him a name:  "Pucker").  Eventually we decided it wasn't worth the effort to try to grow vegetables to feed Pucker.  So that was the last of the gardening at our old house.

Our current garden, mid-July

Last summer was the first summer at our new house, and it was then that we discovered that half our lawn was dead.  We thought it might be a good place to put a garden in, but decided to wait and see what would happen with the lawn over the summer (weeds...the answer is weeds would happen).  This spring we again discussed putting a garden in.  I, of course, wanted to plan out all of the details:  decide on the exact size and shape, get just the right boards to build raised beds, figure out precisely when to plant which seeds, etc.  Then one day hubby said, "I think I'll go outside and put together a garden bed."  I'll admit my first thought was "I don't think so."  You see, he isn't exactly the handiest of guys, and besides that, what about all my garden plans (you know...the ones I had yet to make)??  However, despite my hesitation, I agreed to it.  So, he found some boards under our deck (thank you, previous owners!), and voila - a garden bed.  It may not have been perfect, but it was done, and that's more than I can say for my garden bed (which was still entirely in my head).  We were even able to make a second one with more boards the previous owners had left.

Seed packets, purchased from PTA fundraiser

In mid April, we sowed our first seeds:  peas and carrots.  We also planted potatoes, I think around the same time, but my memory is a little fuzzy.  Hopefully this blog post will at least give me something to look back on so I can remember what we did when next spring rolls around.  (First note to self:  take more notes!)  The peas were the first to sprout up and it quickly became evident they needed something to climb.  In an effort to be resourceful, we found some large sticks in the yard, shoved them in the soil at the edges of the rows of peas, and tied twine between them.  For the most part, this worked fairly well.  However, once they got taller it seemed like they could use more support, especially after getting drenched from the many rain showers we've had this summer.  (Note #2:  peas need more support!)  The carrots took a lot longer to sprout up, but they're doing good now.  At least I think they're doing good now (how can you tell with carrots??)  And the potatoes seem to be doing good as well.  Oh, and hubby found a strawberry plant growing elsewhere in the yard and moved it to the garden.  No sign of strawberries yet, but it is still alive at least.  We also had a few random tomato plants pop up, which we moved to the garden as well.  Cherry tomatoes were the one and only thing we grew last year - apparently they reseed themselves (bonus!).  So that's garden bed #1.

Garden bed #1

In garden bed #2, we planted green beans and cucumbers, probably in mid-May, but I can't recall for sure.  We also threw in a couple more volunteer tomato plants we found.  The green beans are doing great.  The cucumbers took a bit longer to get going, but now the vines are really starting to grow, and there's not much room for them.  Which means we're scrambling being resourceful and looking around the yard to find something for them to climb.  (Note #3:  cucumbers need something to climb, or room to sprawl!)

Garden bed #2

First garden-fresh peas!

The first week of July, we tasted our first peas, and man were they delicious!  We've been eagerly gobbling them up over the past couple weeks.  In fact, only about half of them actually make it into the house.  (Note #4:  plant more peas!)  I think it was about a week later when we got our first green beans, which were super tasty, too.  Then we were gone for 4 days, and returned to a partially wilted garden, but an excellent little harvest!

First big harvest from our garden - yippeee!

Fortunately after a good soaking, everything that was wilted snapped back.  And since I started composing this blog post a week ago, we dug up the rest of the potatoes (which were super delicious!) and picked our first cucumber (which was yummy too!).  All in all, I'm super pleased with the results of our garden so far this year, and definitely want to do even more next year!

In summary, my notes for next year:
1. Take more notes, and photos, right from the beginning.
2. Get or make something better for the peas to climb.
3. Get or make something better for the cucumbers to climb, or give them more room to sprawl.
4. Make at least one more garden bed, so we can grow lots more veggies - definitely plant more peas and potatoes!
5. Try something new - maybe broccoli??
6. And don't worry about making the garden perfect, because...
7. Everything tastes better when it's homegrown, and...
8. Even if they're not perfect, gardens are way better than lawns!


  1. When you plant more of something, space the plantings apart. Like peas - plant 1 week and then wait a week or two and plant some more. It will extend the harvest time. Thin the carrots to help them mature larger.

  2. Thanks for the tips! We just pulled up a couple carrots today to give the rest of them more room. They're looking pretty good so far! And I'll definitely keep that in mind for the peas next year - I think they're just about done producing this year.