First-time Farmer

We moved in to our house in December of 2011, so this isn’t our first summer there,  but it is the first summer where we weren’t focused on bigger things (ahem… like our wedding).  Since this spring, Mark and I have been organizing, cleaning, and fixing the house and yard up like mad.

Growing up I used to help my mom with her garden so I know a few things about plants and flowers, but really had relied on my mom to tell me what needed to be done. It has been a blessing and a curse that the previous owners of our house literally pulled up everything other than grass in our back yard (we were told there were some lovely citrus trees that used to be in the very back of our yard :( ) In a good way though, it has provided us with a blank canvas for us to pick and choose exactly what we want to grow. We’ve already planted a beautiful magnolia tree and started doing some landscaping with cone flowers (to attract butterflies!), rose bushes and hydrangea bushes.

This year I thought I would try my hand at a vegetable garden started from seeds.  I purchased one of those already prepped kits that have small compartments with pellets of dirt – where all you need to do is add water, let the dirt expand and insert seeds.  I wanted to give myself a big learning curve and planted a large amount of tomatoes and bell pepper plants. Apparently those kits are fool-proof because I ended up with a large amount of seedlings after a few weeks of watering them indoors.

Once the plants had grown a bit more, Mark decided he was going to build a raised vegetable bed for the plants to grow in.  This was great because we have a “pet” bunny that lives in our yard named Charles.  Though I look forward to spotting Charles each morning when I head out the door for a run and every evening when I get home from work, I don’t particularly want him eating my delicious vegetables before I can get to them. Mark did a wonderful job and the raised vegetable bed turned out beautifully. It makes the back of our garage so much more pleasant looking.

I planted a majority of the young plants in the vegetable bed and added in jalapenos, garlic, basil, and cilantro.  I’m so lucky that the year that I decided to take on my own vegetable garden was the year that we have gotten a large and consistent amount of rain.  As you can see by the photo below, my tomato plants are now becoming a tomato forest. I’ve been steadily giving away a few plants here or there to make sure that there is enough room for each of the plants.

Vegetable Garden

Our vegetable garden

We can’t wait to be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor (quite literally) and are already making plans for Mark to build another raised bed right next to this one. I’ve started looking up tomato sauce recipe (which I’ll be posting soon) so that we can puree and freeze the behemoth amount of tomatoes we are surely going to have in a few weeks.  If anyone is looking for fresh homegrown tomatoes, let me know – we would be happy to share!

Have you started your own vegetable garden this year?  What’s your favorite thing to grow?

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