Nick’s sister and brother-in-law purchased a house fall of 2008 about 10 minutes away from us.  Summer of 2009 his sister, Abby, and I decided to attempt our first garden together in the plot obviously meant for that purpose in their backyard.  It was not a huge success, we got a few tomatoes, some zucchini and a bit of basil.  It was a rough start mostly because as soon as our plants were looking good the end of June, there was a huge hail storm which ruined everything.  Not much came back. . .

So we decided to try again and in the mean time through the fall and winter of 2009-2010 I got some books and resources to learn more.  We decided to try to save money by planting seeds to transplant vs. buying all plants.  I also kept a bit of a garden journal, so now as we prepare for our 2011 garden I”m finally getting around to sharing what we did and learned from 2010.  First of all, after 2009 we thought we needed to enlarge the garden so pulled out the bricks and made it bigger, we got some help from my parents in May when they were out visiting.

By then we had already planted our seeds in April and they were growing well.  We decided to plant them in the garden early June.  I had read that we could plant the seeds in toilet paper rolls and then just transplant the roll and all, for ease, we tried it, and reused in the process. . .



We planted once they got bigger, but still had to purchase some plants, so lesson #1 plant seeds before April to transplant in garden.  We also did not add any extra fertilizer as we had done the year before, so lesson #2 always add steer manure when spring tilling.

We picked our first zucchini/lettuce/basil/cilantro July 21 and successfully grew: tomatoes/peppers/beans/peas/basil/cilantro/zucchini/butternut squash and 1 tiny cucumber.  We tried having the beans and peas climb the corn, but didn’t plan the timing very well, so lesson #3 plant corn before beans and peas so that it can be sturdy enough for the companions to climb.  Our squash also took over the garden, so lesson #4 plant any vine-y squash well away from everything else, so that it can just take over . . . The last bit of gathering and our winterizing of the garden was well into October.  We added leaves and grass clippings to the garden and cut up and added any additional plant remains.  We added a truck full of more dirt and made sure to pull up the remainder of the black tarp which may have hindered the plants growth. We tried to grow a winter crop like Kale or something to keep the ground better, but I think in the end we forgot to water it, so nothing sprouted.  Anyway, many more lessons learned, but hopefully at least those 4 we have planned to tackle for this year, so that we can get more produce.

We’d love any tips or advise on this journey.