My First Garden

Happy spring!! Having spent four years living in a part of the state that enjoys a kind of perma-spring — sunny and 70 degrees pretty much year round — I think I lost the joy that comes in March and April every year. But up here in Northern California, spring is the magical (and fleeting) season of sunshine  and happiness before temperatures hit the triple digits.

With the passing of another season, we are getting closer to the wedding date. This means our garage is full of vases and glasses and ribbons and all sorts of other little details that are falling into place. I’ve been working on projects almost every weekend I’m planning to share those DIYs this summer, once all the madness is over.

In the midst of all that, I took advantage of the first glorious, sunny day of spring two weeks ago to plant my very first garden! I should say “our” first garden because technically my almost-husband built it for me and did a lot of the heavy lifting. Casey made me an 8′ by 4′ bed using two Douglas Fir boards. I had every intention of laying down newspaper to deter weeds from popping up through the bark that was already there, but in all our excitement to put in the soil, we forgot. We dumped a total of 8 cubic feet of soil and 2 cubic feet of compost into the bed and mixed it all together.

I read some articles about square foot gardening prior to building the garden and thought it was the best option for a rookie gardener like myself. I measured and screwed a nail every 12″ all around the bed. Then I used yarn to make the grid, marking off each square foot. The square foot markers also helped when it came time to plant the seeds, as each type of seed has certain spacing requirements.

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In the raised bed I planted watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, green onions, cilantro, and jalapeƱos. I used 6 paint stirrers from Lowe’s as markers so I could keep track of where I planted each crop. In a large wooden pot, I planted 3 separate sweet cherry tomato plants. In two raised planter boxes that Casey hung from the fence, I planted a total of 12 strawberry plants (6 in each box).

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Fast forward two weeks and this is what I have to report: one cat decided to use my garden as a personal bathroom — I had hoped the string would make it difficult for this to happen but apparently not. I found that citrus juice works as an all-natural repellant for cats so I will be picking up some oranges so I can spray the garden with juice. I’ll report back if this method is successful. In more positive news, as of this morning there are two cilantro sprouts, three green onion sprouts, and plenty of strawberries on their way!

IMG_0768Green onion sprouts! I might have squealed when I came out to find these yesterday morning. And again when I found two more sprouts this morning.

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Next on the list is a young lemon tree that I will pot in the backyard where it can get plenty of sunlight. I’m so excited for the fruits and veggies we will have this summer! I actually look forward to watering my garden when I get home every day, and I must admit I’m a little bummed when Mother Nature waters the garden on her own. That’s my job!

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Here is the garden, with the wisteria that’s slowly taking over above it. Part of me wants to rip out a big portion of the wisteria because its does block the bed from getting full sunlight for at least a couple hours a day, but there are TONS of bumblebees that love the wisteria. This makes it difficult to remove because the last thing we want to do is piss off a thousand bumblebees, but I think that it will also allow the plants to be pollenated once they grow bigger. I know you will all be on pins and needles waiting to hear what we do with the wisteria so I”ll keep you posted!

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