We Love Planting A Garden
We have mentioned over and over again that we love being outside. Of course our favorite thing to do outside involves a beach and white sand. As much as we love white sand and crystal clear water, we also love being at home in Mississippi.
While at home, we practically live outside. We currently live on a lake so we spend lots of our time sitting on the back porch. We spend more time there than in our house during spring, summer, and fall.
A couple of years ago we decided to start a vegetable garden. Both of us grew up around gardens. Our parents and grandparents always had a garden. We love the outdoors, we do not mind working, and we love fresh vegetables. So, we were like, why not start our own garden. In the past we would get fresh vegetables from family or buy them elsewhere.
Preparing our Ground
Last year was our first garden. We had to borrow everything in to get it started. My dad disked up the ground and we a tiller to finish working the ground. Anyway, our garden produced more than we could have imagined.
This year, we had to borrow a tractor, again. But, we did buy our own tiller. We figured since a garden was going to be something we did, we needed our own supplies. Well, minus the tractor because it is a bit out of the budget at this time.
Anyway, we started breaking up the ground in February. We went over the ground about 5 times with a tractor. Then, we went over it several times with a tiller to break it up even more. We are lucky enough that our soil is that rich, dark soil. We did not add anything extra.
When we have finished tilling, we row it up. After rowing it up, we rake off the top layer of soil to get the junk off. This leaves fresh, soft soil that is ready to be planted.
Raised Bed and Cold Weather Plants
While preparing our soil in February, we also prepared our raised bed. We prepared the raised bed for cold weather plants. We also planted some of those in the ground. We planted 5 varieties of lettuce, 2 varieties of cabbage, carrots, broccoli, onion, and radishes.
As of right now, the plants are growing like crazy. We brought in all our own soil for the raised bed. The plants in the ground are actually ahead of our raised bed. Like I said, our soil is amazing and this just proves how great. We are currently enjoying the lettuce and the radishes. We are still waiting on the broccoli, onion, and carrots.
This week, we planted the rest of our garden. Fingers crossed that we do not get a frost. That would be terrible. We watch the weather daily in case we need to come up with something to cover the plants.
We typically plant way more than we need. We always start small and end up with about three times what we originally decided to plant. We enjoy giving away fresh vegetables and we also end up putting some up in the freezer.
This year, we planted Early Girl Tomatoes, Better Boy Tomatoes, Big Boy Tomatoes, Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, crooked neck squash, crimson sweet watermelon, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, pepperoncini peppers, watermelon radishes, cucumbers, and cantaloupe. Whew, like I said, we go slightly overboard.
We generally like to plant a handful of plants every other week. By doing this, you get plants that are different ages so you get produce constantly throughout the summer. Last year we did our tomatoes like this and it worked out wonderfully. Unfortunately, we got ahead of ourselves this year and planted most everything at the same time.
We did only plant a couple of squash and watermelon plants. We are going to plant more in a couple of weeks. We typically plant watermelon a little later but we were told if we want them by the 4th of July to plant some now. So, we planted some now. We are by no means professional gardeners but we love it and we are always open to learning new things.
How We Plant
Tomatoes as you can see are our main crop. We love homegrown tomatoes. We plant our tomatoes, stake them, and then put a fence behind them once they are a little bigger. Someone recommended this to us last year and we loved how great it worked for us. The fence is 4×20 and can be bought at any co-op, Lowes, or Home Depot. The fence provides even more support than a typical stake. We just tie the tomato plant to the fence as it grows.
As for the other plants, we really have no special system. We do always stake our pepper plants as they are pretty easy to break off. We always plant our peppers and tomatoes near one another. We plant our squash together, as well as our cucumbers, watermelon, and cantaloupes. You must make sure you leave plenty of room for those plants because they all run.
This year we bought most of our plants from the local Amish community. They had the best looking plants of anywhere. Of course we have lots of see that we use as well. We always buy our tomato and pepper plants. Other than that, we often just use the seeds. You definitely get more bang for your buck when planting seeds vs plants.
My husband’s granddaddy always told us to plant a flower garden in the end of the garden. He always told us that it brings in beneficial insects and keeps away some of the bad ones. This seems to be true.
Even if it is not true, we at least enjoy the flowers. We have not yet planted the flowers this year. But, last year we opened up the packet of seeds and just threw them out. By some miracle, they came up and were beautiful all summer long. Every week I would go cut fresh flowers for the vase on my table.
Having a Garden is Hard Work
Having a garden is a lot of work. A garden takes a lot of attention. Otherwise, it will grow up and your plants will die. We put too much time in our garden in the beginning to not maintain it along the way.
Thankfully, my husband does do the hard work like tilling. I help with all the planting and weeding. We like to use as little chemicals on our plants as possible so we do stay pretty busy picking weeds. We like to put hay or pine needs around each of our plants. This helps keep grass down right up next to the plants.
Also, this year we left enough space between the rows that we can run the tiller between them to help with grass. Every year we learn something new. We learn which layouts work better. We learn something new constantly about the garden.
A couple of days after we planted this year we saw deer tracks in the garden. A few plants had been pulled out of the ground. Fortunately, this was a onetime occurrence. If it continues to happen, my dad said we will have to put up a fence. We are keeping our fingers crossed nothing else bothers the plants.
Planting a Garden is Rewarding
This was our first year to plant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and onion. We really suggest that you do this if planting a garden. Planting early allows you to enjoy your greens and radishes while waiting on your summer crop.
Most summer crops take anywhere from 40-60 days to produce. We have really enjoyed getting to pick our lettuce and radishes from the garden this early on. It helps with the waiting game of the summer crops.
Planting a garden is a great way to spend quality time together as a couple. Every afternoon we walk to the garden together and talk about the progression of our plants. We work in the garden together and have had some really great times doing so.
It is so rewarding to be able to go out to your very own garden and pick the vegetables that you planted and grew. Picking those vegetables are the end reward of what you worked so hard on. We suggest that everyone plant a garden. It does not have to be a huge one. A small raised bed will do. I promise that you will enjoy watching it grow and enjoy eating the veggies.