Thursday, March 22, 2012


Since we moved to a place that has a small, enclosed backyard, I have been dreaming of the day when I can actually start a garden. And last Saturday, after several days of 80+ degree weather, that day came! (rather earlier than expected).

I wish I had taken "before and after" shots so you all would believe me when I say that a few months ago, this area was completely trashed. It was a long and involved process to convert the backyard from a war zone with minefields of broken glass, chips of tile, and a bazaar assortment of garbage into what you see in the pictures. We had to dig up cinder blocks and bricks, shift dirt around, replace tiles, dispose of the dirt riddled with glass and other trash, and... quite honestly, it doesn't even look like the same backyard!

Many of the cinder blocks that came out of the area where the beds are now, we decided to reuse over by the gate. This was also a great way to "dispose" of some of the unwanted dirt because we were able to use it to raise and even out the blocks as we laid them down.

I suppose I actually started this garden back in December when I took a few seeds out of the inside of a bell pepper and planted them in some "seed starter" soil on a tray inside. I certainly didn't expect ALL of them to sprout, but they did! So when we finally got some good topsoil to put in the beds, I was able to transplant them outside. (You can see them in the right-hand bed.) In between, I planted a few flowers (marigolds and nasturtiums, because their supposed to be natural pest control), some lettuce and carrots. In the bed by the fence, I planted tomatoes, peas, and a couple honey-dew melon plants. I'm planning on using the fence to tie them up as they grow, so they'll use less ground space and get more sun.

In the meantime, I still have a few peppers growing in pots that I will transplant soon along with four butternut squash seeds that just sprouted in the last few days. You can see the bigger sprout with the two leaves in one of the large pots. Those I also pulled out from a squash (not seed packets) and just tossed them in the dirt to see if anything would happen. I'm not sure if you can see it, but along with the squash sprouts, I just put in a grapefruit seed that was sprouting (discovered at breakfast a couple days ago). We'll see if anything happens to it!

My dad is a wonderful gardener, and I've been especially inspired to garden from just thinking about the delicious fruits of my labor! Grwoing up, I loved eating fresh tomatos, peas, cucumbers, strawberries, and raspberries (among other things!) What's really fun is that my dad lent me a fascinating book that talks about a "new" way to garden (new at the time at least--this book was written several decades ago.) It saves on space, soil, water, and yields just as much or more crops! It's called Square Foot Gardening, and it has been SO helpful for me in thinking about what to plant, how much to plant, and how to use my space most efficiently. Be sure to check it out if you're thinking about gardening. It's very interesting and easy to read--and covers more topics than I even knew existed for gardening! I'm already well pleased with how our garden is starting out, and I'm sure in another month, it will be even more exciting!

Here's a picture of the book by Mel Bartholomew. My dad lent me the one on the left. But it looks like he's come out with a more recent version that I'm sure is worth looking into!


  1. My first thought was, "wow, what an improvement!"

    Very cool!

  2. How wonderful! I sure miss my little patch of dirt in Indiana.

  3. We just bought a house and I'm looking forward to gardening in a small yard, too! Thanks for the book recommendation. I suggest one called "Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces" to you. I got it for a quarter in the library book sale and it's been awesome.