A gal’s first vegetable garden

 

Vegetables have become a part of my daily life. I hit up the local farmers markets and health food stores several times a week to stock up on all the fresh organic produce.  This gets expensive and is not always convenient.  Just like Willy Wonka has his chocolate factory and sweets at his fingertips, I wanted the green version of that… and “I want it now!!!”

Things you must know about my set-up.  I live in a warehouse where there is no yard, well technically there is a yard but it’s a concrete driveway big enough to hold 15+ cars. Yes, there is plenty of room to have a parking lot, but not a lot of wiggle room to work with in regards to a garden.

Garden boxes needed to be built. The bf and I came together. I used his mastermind for the building and mechanics of the project because if you don’t already know, he is quite the handyman. He sketched out the plan and put me to work.  We cut, nailed, lifted, and sweat until we had the boxes complete.

Dimensions: 14×2 (this box is no joke)

 

The boxes were built and the bf headed off to NYC. It was up to me to complete the project. The only experience I had with growing anything was a planter box in my kitchen window and the gardening projects my parents had me do as a childhood chore. You can imagine how much I paid attention when I found out it was a “chore”.  Needless to say, I was and still am a rookie.

I decided to tackle the project on a sunny San Diego Saturday. Wait? Isn’t everyday sunny? OK….I procrastinated and waited until the day before the bf would be heading home to finish the project. I had cleared the whole day to focus on  these garden boxes once and for all. I drove over to the local Home Depot and stocked up on soil, vegetables, herbs and a watering can. I was set. At least I thought I was…..

The next door neighbors had a large pile of dirt that they graciously offered up to fill up the boxes. My plan was to mix the neighbors dirt with the soil I purchased. I began to load up the wheel barrel and truck the dirt over. 18 trips later…. YES, I counted. There was still so much to fill. I couldn’t believe how much soil and dirt these boxes were holding. AHHHH.  I jumped back in my car and headed back to Home Depot.  I loaded up 8 more bags of soil. I was determined to fill these damn boxes. I was not going to stop until the garden boxes were finished.

After 4 hours of trucking, filling, and mixing dirt it was time to plant. FINALLY, the fun part!

Yellow Peppers

I planted:

-tomatoes (bush)

-yellow peppers (plant)

-eggplant (plant)

-carrots (seeds)

-jalapeno (plant)

-green onion (seeds)

-garlic (seeds)

-green pepper (plant)

-cucumbers (plant)

-basil (plant)

-parsley (plant)

-sage (plant)

 

This was all an experiment for me. I have to admit I did call my mom while pushing my cart around in home depot getting her advice. Do I buy seeds? Plants? What about bugs? Do I need plant food? There is so much that goes into a garden. I needed some advice from the expert.

I decided to do part seeds and part already grown plants. So far the plants seem to be growing good, I haven’t seen any action from the seeds yet but the garden is still new. I can’t wait to post pictures and updates when I have my first vegetable. It’s like I am a pregnant women waiting for my baby to arrive. All these women can blog about their first pregnancies so I will too.  Pretty soon you will hear me say…. IT’S AN EGGPLANT!!!

Herb Section

Things I learned:

- Plant garlic or onion in between produce or herbs. It keeps away bugs.

- Building and gardening is a work-out!

- I love Home Depot.

- If you think you need 3 bags of soil, you need 6.

- Wear SPF, Ladies: wear a strapless shirt-or you will get tan lines.

- IT IS SO MUCH FUN TO HAVE A GARDEN!

If you have any tips and tricks I would love for you to share them in the comment “garden”. I am still experimenting with how much to water everything. I would love to hear your garden secrets.

One Love,

Meg

07/27/2011


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36 thoughts on “A gal’s first vegetable garden

  1. Amazing job! I wish I had that much space for a big deep box like yours! My babies are scattered all over the landscaping in my apartment complex :) the landlord doesn’t seem to mind (or perhaps hadn’t noticed?!).

    I have loads of seeds of everything imaginable if you ever want to trade or just take some. I’m in PB :)

    Growing from seed is fun but it always takes longer than just buying little transplant plants. I find that buying the little six packs of vegetable plants at Walter Anderson for $3 the most economical money and time wise.

    I usually plant two or three tomatoes next to each other or in the same pot and put one of those metal tomato cages around it (or stake with bamboo). Depending on variety, chances are they’re going to grow tall and start needing extra support.

    Good luck!

    • Apartment Farmer » It sounds like you have more patience then I do. You grow the veggies the long way. I can see how that would be more rewarding in the end. I have both seeds and plants and I have not really seen anything from my seeds, but the other plants are getting huge. Maybe next year I will try more seed type growing. Thank you for stopping by…. I love when I get comments from local folk. Have a beautiful week. Good Luck with your garden. :)

    • Amber, Blonde & Balanced » Thanks Amber! I ate my first tomato with lunch today. It was a little one but it looks like some big ones are coming. You should build a garden!!! You will love it.

  2. Meg great job……it was fun talking to you while you were roaming Home Depot. Sorry I forgot to mention the garlic and onion tip….. looks like the veggies and herbs are loving the SAN sunshine and humidity. Soon you will be slicing a tomatoe in half….sprinkle it with some salt or spike and whala healthy and yummie snack. Keep me posted…see you Friday:) ma. Glad gardening is not a chore anymore :)

    • robyn » Thanks Mom! I am glad you liked it. Your tips were very helpful as I was roaming Home Depot. Make sure when you include your link anywhere you add the www, so people can click on it to link to your site. Can’t wait to see you this weekend. Love you!

  3. Meg,

    This is so exciting! I really love the post and love what you did with box. I hope to someday live in a building where I can have a rooftop garden. There is this great one in Duluth, Minnesota and everything is planted in old tires. You are going to have quite a yield it looks like.

    You should be really proud of all your hard work. What an accomplishment!

    Love,
    Dawn

    P.S. I love, love, love your new tatoo!
    Dawn Gorman recently posted..eat your fruits and veggies: a detox story

    • Dawn Gorman » Thanks Dawn! I am very excited about it. They are already ready starting to get so big. It’s very exciting! I would love to have a rooftop garden someday too. That sounds awesome! I never thought to plant in tires but what a GREAT idea. Thanks again for the kind words. I will make sure to take pictures once everything starts to bloom. (if that is event the right word for it)

  4. I was just over at a friends house checking out her veggie garden and thinking i needed one. We are out and about so often I am concerned I will plant it and it will die! As you have demonstrated it takes work! I think I might investigate a small garden in my back yard, which is about the size of a garden box, for next spring.
    Liane recently posted..What Did They Say?

    • Yes, you should start a mini garden. It’s so fun. It’s a lot of work to start but now it’s easy, I just water, water, water. I cut back some of the plants here and there but for the most part its just sitting back and watching the veggies grow. We are headed to Chicago for a week so I am going to have my Uncle come over and water them. I guess they only need to be watered every other day so that only makes him have to come over a handful of times. I will buy him some whiskey to show my appreciation. You would want to make sure you have someone that could help you out when you are on your walkabouts. But I highly recommend it. It’s great!

  5. Those garden boxes are amazing! Great job Meg. I’m impressed that you found the space and the time to do this.-and you planted so much! There is NOTHING like fresh veggies from a garden. And you look so adorable putting it all together :)

    I’m headed to SD on Thursday and can’t wait. “No humidity” is calling my name. Ninety and extra humid here today.

    Enjoy the veggies!
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted..Sponsored Post: Be Green and Earn Some Green by Recycling Your Old Cell Phone

    • Lori Popkewitz Alper » Thanks Lori. We should try and get together. I am sure you will be busy. I go out of town this weekend. I am headed to Colorado for a bridal shower. Maybe on Thursday night we can meet up. I can head where you are. Whatever. :) I don’t get home until late Sunday so I am sure you will be heading home by than. You will love the weather here. It’s 75 and beautiful as I type. :)

      Thanks for the compliments on the garden. It has been so much fun and very meditative in the morning while I am watering it. Who would of thought?

    • Kent @ No Vacation Required » Thanks guys! I do have a pretty cool set-up. Every project or adventure I have asked for, I get. It’s like I am a fairy princess. I will keep you posted on how the veggies come out. Hope you are enjoying your travels. Thanks for the kind words.

    • ayngelina » I can’t wait to eat my veggies. I have learned that you need patience to grow a garden. It is not instant gratification. Thanks for stopping by Ayngelina!

  6. Look at you Meg – wow, what a worker! Love how you physically toil for the love of the natural soil and what a result. I think the nutrients they will bring will have ooles of your own love in them and so they’ll taste all the sweeter. I wish you great growing and healthy eating for mind, body, and spirit.
    John Sherry recently posted..How To Start A New Life – Part 1

    • John Sherry » Yes, It was quite the project. I have to add an edit in there to talk about laying the tarp and adding the drainage holes. If someone ever wanted to do their own garden, I want them to be prepared. I agree, I think this vegetables will taste amazing becasue I have been caring for them. Every morning we have a bond session. :) Thank you for stopping by and checking out the garden.

  7. For the love of vegetables, drainage holes Meg, drainage holes!!

    This looks great, good on your for getting stuck in and I hope it produces a bumper crop.

    Seriously though, I’m going to have to lecture DW on hydraulics and geotechnical engineering.
    Andrew recently posted..Worker Bees & Coffee Cups

    • Thought I’d add something on here. Grocery Stores/Supermarket get their brocolli delivered in huge polystyrene boxes (maybe in the US too?).

      These make great little planter boxes for lettuce & small veg if you don’t have the room to build a big veg garden.

      • Andrew » Oooh good tip. This is exactly what I am looking for. Gardening tips and secrets for the blog world. I will have to check in and see if they ship our broccoli in these crate and then hit up the grocery stores. I did want to add some fruit to the mix and some lettuce and kale. I ran out of room in the big garden box. Maybe I will start working on some side boxes. Great idea! :) How is veggie growing in Australia?

    • Andrew » I did lay down tarps that had drainage holes in them. I guess I didn’t mention that important part of the post. I forgot I even did that actually. The garden seems to be draining pretty well. I guess only time will tell. But you can still lecture DW. :)

  8. Meg, I love this post!! You definitely rocked your beginner garden harder than I did. :D

    We have a small second-story patio, so I just bought three large pots and a small planter. Two pots have a tomato plant in them, and one pot has a bunch of radishes. The planter had oregano (or was it parsley? I’m not sure). I started all of them from seed and to my surprise and delight, they all came up!! I started them rather late, though. The tomato plant is still growing but no tomatoes have appeared yet. The radishes all grew quickly but the bulbs didn’t wholly form so the radishes were no good. The herb came up too. However, after an extremely wet June, July started off rather dry and all the radishes and herbs died in a couple days. It was weird. The tomatoes are growing well, though! I don’t know if any fruit will actually show up…

    I knew this little garden wouldn’t be completely successful but I just wanted to see if I could do it, and learn from it. I’ve definitely learned about timing, weather, soil, patience, etc.

    I’m excited to see what you end up with! :)

    • Laura M. | smash your t.v. » That is so cool that you started them from seeds. I almost feel like I cheated a little bit since I started them from plants. But I figured i was starting late too and I wasn’t sure that seeds would grow. I want to see pictures of your garden too. :) I was talking to a friend today and he said I could probably plant even more in my garden, I was very hesitant becasue I was reading the instructions so closely and it gave spacing requirements. He said that I didn’t need to be so anal about the spacing, that even if they get big and mend together it is actually good for them. Hmmm. I will have to look into that. So maybe I will add more, or maybe I will take Andrews advice and look into these broccoli bins to add some fruit in the mix. I am glad we are both gardening together. We can share our stories and help each other out. I know we have different climates but I am sure we can lend each other a helping hand. Good luck with your garden too and keep me posted! :)

      • You probably can put more plants closer together than you think. I only put one tomato plant in each pot but the radishes had bunches of them together (and they all grew). Adding fruit would be yummy! I admire your drive to try many plants at once – I was hesitant and only did a few. I’ll see if I can snap some photos!

        • Laura M. | smash your t.v. » I just figured I would just go for it. Why not? It sounds like you have a lot going on as well. Tomato plants are tricky. I think that is what takes up the most time. I think once my seeds start sprouting (fingers crossed) I will remember where I placed them (ha!) and then wherever there is extra space I will add in some more veggies and fruit. I’m excited to see your setup.

  9. You are so cute! Love your tips. This year I am growing a few things in pots and next year I would love to do a raised garden so it is really helpful to me to read what you learn. Let me know your bug solutions!! Ahhhh — it is so hard to wait. I think I have 2 whole tomatoes growing and 1 pepper :)

    • Wendy Irene » Thanks Wendy!! We all have to start somewhere. Let me know the progress of your veggie babies. Sounds yummy! I will keep you posted…maybe you can start building your garden plot now, and then come spring you can begin planting. I will send tips your way as I learn them. Thanks for your comments.

  10. Meg,
    A little aside…San Diego, hmmmmm, is NOT always sunny!! We (my family) have this belief that San Diego is rainy, and Disneyland should be called the “Wettest Place on Earth”! My cousin – who we visited out there, insists, though – that it’s as you say (always sunny, always nice!).

    Ahem…I digress…

    The garden looks GREAT!! We’ve had a garden for many years – and it’s great getting the fresh veggies from there (tomatoes are my fav!).

    Guess what??? It’s raining here today!! (maybe there’s just a black cloud that follows me around!!!)
    Lance recently posted..Our Town…Our Life…

    • Lance » Thank you for the kind words Lance. San Diego does have it’s share of rainy days but when you look at the whole year in perspective we do get a lot of sunshine. I never have to look at the weather report because I am almost 95% sure it will be 70 and sunny. The problem is we don’t get those hot summer days until after July so all the visitors come in May and June and it’s gloomy for them. If they came July, Aug, Sept, Oct and even November they would get sun! Crazy concept altogether. I hate to reveal this secret but my favorite month in San Diego is September. It’s the hottest and no tourists so it’s not crowded either. :)

      I would love to see pictures of your garden. They are so fun. Do you have any gardening tips?? :)

  11. Awesome post Meg! This really shows all your hard work! Looking at the photos makes me realize the boxes may have been even bigger than I thought. I think they may actually be 2.5′x16′…

    so yeah, amazing job! I can’t wait to see what grows! Let’s hope it’s as delicious as it looks!
    David W. recently posted..How to Travel to Nowhere

    • David W. » I couldn’t have done it without you! I am not going to lie, it was a LOT of work but very worth it in the end. I can’t wait until my babies finally start blooming. Next venture…… hose! The watering can is not quite cutting it. Thanks for your help with this project and making it happen with me. You will be rewarded soon enough.

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