Okay, when I was little, I grew up on a farm with my grandparents. They had about one acre of the property planted as a garden. Of course I helped pick beans, strawberries, and corn, but as an adult, I never really got into gardening myself. Honestly, it just seemed like more work than I wanted to do!! However, when we moved into the house we rent now, we got a really big backyard, and after visiting my mom and seeing her small garden, I decided we would give it a try. I asked my mom for advice, and she gave me some general ideas on what to plant and how to set things up, then she said “A lot of gardening is trial and error, you learn as you go.” Boy was she right!!
So we ordered our seeds and got very excited. We decided to grow herbs in pots and do a small square in the backyard for our garden. The first spring we planted tomatoes, green beens, lettuce, beans, spinach, onion, cucumbers, and cauliflower. I set up a rotation for watering with my kids, I did the feeding, and my hubby helped out picking weeds and stuff. We would check the garden everyday for signs of life and we were so excited to see our first sprouts!
Of course, as things began to grow, we did encounter a few problems. First of all, we realized we did not leave enough space for our larger vegetables. Also, we live in central Florida and the bugs and heat in the summer are brutal! The soil took a lot of work because it is so sandy. We must have turned eight bags of soil into our plot just to get started. Some of our stuff, like the herbs and lettuce did really well. Unfortunately our tomatoes and cucumbers got eaten up by bugs and birds!
In the fall, we decided to make a few changes. First, we created separate, smaller beds for our beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We also scoured the internet and pinterest for bug-repellant ideas. So far, we are still fighting the bug battle! We did discover that fall is a much easier time to garden in our part of the country. First, it’s not so incredibly hot, and there are not as much bugs to eat the plants. We had success with our beans, broccoli, lettuce, and squash. Our herbs and potted plants also did well.
Some of our harvest:
I still haven’t been able to grow spinach, which is a disappointment because I love to eat it. I think it may just be too hot down here in general. Next year I am also going to start my onions from bulbs rather than seeds. Also, I saw that the Burpee catalog has a special type of corn that grows in a pot, so I may have to give that a try. I have learned that my mom was absolutely right, as you try to grow things you learn a little about what works and what doesn’t each time. I also learned that I was right, gardening is a lot of hard work!! However, there is something so satisfying about it all, and I love using my own herbs and veggies when I cook. Hopefully our next garden will be even more successful than the last one.