Friday, January 20, 2012

Gardening, pt I: The Setup

Before Mike and I even started house hunting, we made a list of requirements. These were 'must-haves' for our first home. There wasn't much on the list. We're fairly low-maintenance and don't require much space. In fact, many of the homes we saw within our price range we deemed 'too big'. Too many rooms. Far too much square footage.  It was more room than we knew what to do with. We don't need a living room and and family room. We don't need a dining room if the kitchen is already large enough to hold our table. Our requirements came down to a garage, for Mike's truck work, and a yard large enough for the dogs to run around and to hold a decent sized garden.  Really, that's about all it came down to.

Photo from nuchylee
As you can see, gardening was in our minds from the beginning. Luckily, the home we bought in October met both of those requirements. We were very lucky to get a 2 car garage and our large yard (almost a 1/4 acre).

Why gardening? Well, there's a few reasons for us. Firstly, Mike and I both grew up with parents who gardened. I can remember the hot summers running barefoot to the side of our home to pick off those juicy, plump tomatoes so Dad could start canning them for salsa and pasta sauce.  Or grabbing fresh cucumbers to use in salad or for the incredible Bread & Butter pickles my Dad would make.  And my favorite...string beans. To this day, they're still my favorite.  The nostalgia I get from being in a garden is worth going through he hard work myself to have one.

Secondly, our diet consists so much of fresh vegetables and fruits that not only will it save us money, but we'll get more of a variety of plants in our diet as well as consume only organic plants.  When we moved we had to start using a different grocery store. This store, while it meets most of our needs, doesn't have the variety of fruits & vegetables that our old store did. Also, options that are available don't always come in an organic version. Having our own garden meets our desires and budget. Plus, I can't even describe how much better fresh produce, right off the plant, tastes than eating the stuff in stores that has been shelved for weeks.  Knowing my food is safe and healthy makes nourishing my body so much easier.

Lastly, it's fun. Yes, it's hard work. Yes, it can be frustrating at times. But the satisfaction you get from producing your own food on the dinner table is exceptionally rewarding.  The soul-nourishing, health-rewarding, and memory-making benefits of gardening are something I look forward to.

Photo by happykanppy

So, last week, Mike and I sat down and started planning. Our blueprint for how the garden will be built, arranged, and planted is mostly complete.  We also have our list  of what we'll be planting, when we'll be planting, and when we'll be harvesting.  And thankfully friends from college and family members all with experience have been chiming in to help us out with research and planning. All of your advice has been greatly appreciated. While we grew up around gardening, planning it and doing it yourself is far different.

So, here's our setup, for now. This is our home with the backyard. The solid lines outlining the backyard is the fence. The dotted line down the right side 5 feet in is the easement we cannot build over.  Ignore Mike's truck backing into the fence to dump dirt. Haha. He has way too much fun as an engineer.  This is built to scale. The raised beds are 8'x4', and the two smaller ones in the front middle are for herbs and they are 3.5'x4'.  We're thinking about fencing it in to keep the dogs out.
Our bluprint. Garden located in the upper right corner of the yard.
Bottom left is east, top right is west. Bottom right is north, top left is south.

Planting list thus far:
Brussel Sprouts
Bell Peppers
Green Beans
& Lots of herbs!

So, this is our plan so far. I'll keep you all posted on how the process continues with building, prepping seeds, and all that goodness. Consider this a free view into what works and what fails miserably. We're learning as we go and hopefully you can live vicariously through our gardening adventures.  More than anything, I hope you're inspired to start your own. Even if it means having 2 pots of something, or a small herb garden in your kitchen window.

Also, any hints, tips, or advice...please leave it as a comment! While the books I've been reading help, nothing is better than personal experience. 

Oh--I have a thing for naming things. My Kawasaki motorcycle is "Sweet Dee".  I've been thinking of naming the garden, just for fun. Maybe to get a little sign made to put out front of it. My first thought was "The Not-So-Secret Garden". Yay or nay?

To dirty hands and fresh food,

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO GARDEN!! What a great, healthy, fun, outdoors hobby that can translate into more fun cooking too. It will definitely make your house feel like a home. I can't wait to come visit! Good luck with everything and I can't wait to read about what happens :)
    <3 S