Several years ago, a large Magnolia tree that had graced our backyard for as long as I can remember, suddenly died. At the time, my husband and I considered it a significant loss. But we soon realized that we now had sunlight where before there was only shade. In fact, we had enough direct sunlight for a proper — if small — backyard garden.
While I’ve grown flower and shrub gardens for many years, I’ve never had a vegetable garden at our home. But I grew up in a family of farmers. Both of my parents are accomplished gardeners and grow much of their own food, as did their parents before them.
When I was a child, I thought little of our large garden, besides the irritation that I experienced when asked to help weed it or pick bugs off the potato plants. By the time I was a teenager, I considered gardening old-fashioned. After all, why not just buy this stuff at the grocery store? But, like generations before me have experienced, my parents magically got smarter as I got older. I realized that they’d been growing food organically for decades before it was the popular thing to do.
This year, all of the stars aligned in order for me and my husband to begin our own garden project. So, after properly consulting the Farmer’s Almanac as I’ve been taught to do, we decided on the right day to plant our seed bed. Thankfully, the weather cooperated. Our whole garden project took less than one day to install. It was hard work, but it felt great to have our hands in the soil. The entire garden plot is approximately 36 square feet or 6′ x 6′.
We had to take up the bricks in a small patio area in order to create the garden and drag in 10 bags of garden soil. Because the garden is adjacent to our patio, we both wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing. My husband suggested using the left-over bricks to edge the area.
We devoted one-fourth of the space to a lettuce bed. Both of us enjoy salads and I’m a huge fan of green smoothies. I bought seed packets and sowed them directly, adding mesclun salad mix, spinach and butterhead lettuce. I also bought a few Swiss chard plants and added those to the mix. I have a feeling that I may have went a little crazy with the lettuce seeds in this small area, but time will tell!
Next, we planted two rows of red onions, six to a row. We installed our tomato cages in preparation for adding some plants later this spring and also left room for some pepper plants. My husband bought canvas at a local Southern States store to cover the lettuce bed.
Now, approximately one week later, we have seedlings! Honestly, I was a bit surprised at how easy the whole project was to accomplish and I’m wondering why we never did it before. Now if we can keep the neighborhood kitties out of it, we’ll soon have fresh greens from our own little garden.
What about you? Are you planting a garden this year? If so, share your story!