Monday, June 14, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There's nothing better than a delicious meal made from food you grew in your own garden. Not only are you assured of its freshness and quality, but you have the satisfaction of literally eating the fruit of your labor! I love to look at the supper table and realize most of the food came from our garden and we're paying pennies per serving for all this goodness! 

We have a huge garden. Seriously. Huge. See?

J1 gets to help Daddy till the garden!

Ok, you really can't see from that picture, so you'll have to trust me on this one. DH says it's about 90' x 100'!

Now would you believe me if I told you that I'm new to this gardening thing? Yeah. I am. I'm also new to the midwest. Four years ago I was living in Las Vegas, of all places. 

Paris Resort/Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas

Not that I have anything against Las Vegas--I loved living there and have dear friends who still live there, but how did someone from Las Vegas end up in the Midwest? Good question. But you're not getting the answer in this post! This post is about my garden, folks! I had houseplants that sorta stayed alive. And a couple patio plants that would live as long as I remembered to water them twice a day. 

Before that? California, baby! I claim California as my home state, but we didn't officially move there until I was 10. In California we had some landscaping that I helped to keep alive and healthy. I remember the occasional tomato plant and some chives. Before that? Washington state. And I do remember gardens there, but I was like 5! 

We added some flowers to our garden this year, but the ones in this picture belong to someone else!

So three years ago we had a small garden (cucumbers, zucchini, corn, peppers, potatoes...) on a church member's property. See? I can prove that I was trying to learn how to garden, even tho Baby #1 was only a few months old and my husband did 95% of the work!

Just to prove I actually was gardening!!!

Baby #1 with our sweet friend, Helen, age 90, whose property our first garden was on. Helen would watch J while he napped so I could garden. She passed away this spring at age 93 and I miss her!

Two years ago we didn't have a garden at all--we were in the process of moving out to the country (literally in the middle of the corn and soybean fields!). One of our dreams for this place was to have a huge garden. So... Spring of 2009 rolled around. 

  • Plans? Check. 
  • Seeds? Check. 
  • Tiller? Check (big time garden, remember?).
  • Experience? Husband's--check; mine--were you reading the above?
  • Ambition? CHECK.
  • Time on hand to keep up with the garden? Husband's--not much; most of the responsibility fell on me. And the list goes on! (I LOVE lists!!!! Thanks a lot, Mom!)
  • Curious toddler? Check
  • Gigantic 9-month belly due to impending birth of Baby #2? C.H.E.C.K.
This is actually the huge belly from Baby #1. Baby #2 was bigger, but it's late and I can't find that file!

We were planting the garden the day before Baby #2 was born. I think all that bending finally sent me into labor. The rest of that story is, once again, for another post!

Thanks to my DH and MIL, the rest of the garden got planted. It was a few weeks before I ventured out there and I had several things I still needed to plant. DH was working, so I would read online how to plant something. Quite a bit of it survived and thrived. (This is Iowa, after all. Kind of a given.) Some things didn't.

Why do weeds grow so much faster than vegetables?

We're still eating last year's potatoes, btw! 

This year's garden has much more potential. We're seasoned now! I actually know the difference between a weed and my long-awaited basil! We expanded our variety of plants and included things like homemade trellises, raised beds, and purposeful combination of plants! For instance, the tomatoes are interspersed with marigolds and garlic to keep nasty bugs away. We also used a special tractor attachment to plant the potatoes--genius! 

DH tills the garden.

Affectionately referred to as 'Black Gold' around here!

J1 intensely watching that tractor! See the gates leaning up against the barn? Yeah, those are now pea and cucumber trellises! My husband is amazing like that, thankyouverymuch!

Raised bed, one of 6 before we ran out of old fence planks. Each bed is 4' x 12'.

The most amusing part to me? The garden didn't get planted for a full MONTH later than it did last year. With no brand-new-baby excuse!

J2 is cuter than a bug's ear (what DOES that MEAN?!!!) and a year old.

Oh, I'm not trying to say I know a lot about gardens--I don't! I have SOOO much left to learn. But if I did it with no experience, a brand-new baby and a toddler last summer, you can do it too! So? Do you? I'd love to hear, How does your garden grow?

All pictures by ME with my trusty point-and-shoot. 

~ Ellie


  1. Great posts - it would seem as if you know how to write and the pictures are adorable!

    I have only planted a few things and I am the farmer girl!

  2. I LOVE your land!!!! Congrats on your baby (in advance)!!!

  3. What a fun post to read and I DO wonder how someone from Vegas ends up in the midwest. I live in Iowa and I have only been on one farm ... and that was in South Dakota. :)

    Thanks for stopping by Becolorful and commenting on the flood post. There must be better days ahead for us. Sometimes, I think why do I live here and other days I couldn't be prouder. Welcome to the heartland.

  4. That's a huge garden you have (I won't mention about the belly). I can only imagine the yummy harvest.

    I'm now a follower too. I"m so glad you are going to do a "What I love about my house" post.



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