No, I’m not referring to the pending Royal Nuptials…though I will be watching them. I am talking about gardening. To quote one of the most recognizably Southern movies… “Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt…I don’t know why! I don’t make the rules!” (it was, of course, Ouiser in Steel Magnolias that so ‘kindly’ uttered those words). Now, contrary to my most recent post, I do not consider my self old…but definitely Southern, so I had this unyeilding desire to grow veggies in the dirt.
When we moved in, it was too late to even think about trying a garden (I can’t believe a year is just around the corner!…and I still have boxes that haven’t been unpacked!). I started researching last year before we even moved in…I continued to sift around periodically…watching where the sun is at different times of day…making lists of what I would like to plant…trying to control myself & not ‘bite off more than I could chew’. As spring arrived, and my daffodils blossomed (I had PINK ones!!!), I really got serious & started hounding darling husband about helping me…I leave the power tools to him, the ones we keep in the garage anyway.
I chose a spot, convinced him to help me with the construction…and we spent several hours at Lowe’s deciding on materials. To let you know how awesome he is, he constructed my little garden on the weekend of The Masters! Once we had made our decisions, the assembly went fairly quickly (he didn’t miss too much, and Uncle Tim kept him frequently updated on the happenings). I wasn’t thinking that I would blog about it, so I don’t have any step-by-step pictures & the only ones I have to share were taken with my phone, so I’m apologizing in advance for the lack of quality :).
We purchased landscaping timbers, he made a plan to stagger the stacks (kinda like you would bricks). He bought an 18 inch drill bit & with my help holding, he drilled through the stack of 3 timbers and we placed pieces of re-bar so that there were at least 2 going through each timber. We used the garden tools to break up the ground, spread it out evenly, and decided how much rich garden soil I would need to acquire to finish off the bed. Being here, in South Carolina, we have alot of red clay in our soil…so I needed to ‘amend’ it (to use a fancy gardening term). My favorite place to get my landscaping stuff is The Mulch Yard those guys are super friendly & totally knowledgeable…and, apparently, their garden soil is kinda famous…they were even out of it the first time I went…that is some demand considering the ginormous piles they have.
Pardon the messiness…see that crazy long drill bit? This was before we added the super dark, amazingly rich, and not at all smelly garden soil from The Mulch Yard.
Again, I spent alot of time deciding what kind of plants & what support system they would need. I looked at several tomato cages, but frankly wanted a cheaper solution…I mean, what if I’m completely unsuccessful? Not to mention, I kinda wanted it to be visually appealing…I saw pictures of really cool supports in Southern Living and on the internet…I had bamboo in my head. Bamboo is natural looking, and I figured it would be pretty durable (I could totally be wrong). I found a bag of 25 for around $6…total score! I made ‘tee pee’ type structures using twine (feeling pretty inventive & crafty when they were done). I’m probably going to need to add a stake along the center stalk for additional support, but for now I think I’m good.
I have planted, so far, 4 tomatoes (2 of my heirloom seedlings that probably won’t make it, 1 hybrid, and 1 more mature heirloom), 1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 jalapeno, 1 New Mexican chile, 1 hot banana pepper (can you tell we like a little heat?), 2 cucumbers from seed (directly sown into the garden), basil, cilantro, Italian parsley, and Rosemary. I have a cantaloupe that I’m going to plant in the front of the house…it needs room to spread…and the white ‘lumina’ pumpkins are going to join the cantaloupe…possibly a watermelon, too. This may not be the typical choice for landscaping the front of your home, but it is the perfect spot…and how cool will a pumpkin patch full of white pumkins be in the fall??? I still want to get a cherry or grape tomato plant and a cucumber plant that is already maturing (I want cucumbers sooner than later).
Those are the squashes and peppers.
The herbs and the cucumber mounds (toward the back).
I also got a soaker hose to run through the bed, these are supposed to conserve water…and my plan is to run it throught the garden & leave it, so I don’t disturb (or damage) the plants when I water them…and I got a timer for the soaker hose, I think I can program it to run on a daily schedule (so I don’t have to depend on my flakey memory). I’m thinking we have in the neighborhood of $200 in the garden…not bad considering the majority of the investment is in the structure & things that do not have to be replaced.
I hope that the storms heading our way don’t wipe out all of my little baby plants!
My little helpers…check my big, bubble gum pink crocs on L.T…they go nicely with his camo pants, don’t you think?
What is your favorite gardening tip? I need all of the help I can get!
Today’s secret revealed…my ‘ugly clothes’ are my super old scrub pants & a tank top. The scrub pants are awesome for yard work…they are cool, dry quickly, & I couldn’t care less if they are covered in red clay stains. The tank has spaghetti straps, so it cuts down on the ‘farmer tan’…don’t forget the sunscreen! You could probably find some of the scrub pants at a thrift store…look for the drawstring, unisex kind that are super thin.