Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My garden is growing!

Well hello! I am SO excited to share a project I finally completed that I’ve wanted to do forEVER. I was going to plant my (first ever) garden last summer, but it just didn’t happen. I didn’t do much outside last year, because it was about 115 degrees with 90 percent humidity every day.

Well, practically. Felt like it anyway.

Anyhoo, I finally got it done! And I’m already absolutely HOOKED. I’ve been researching how to build a raised garden and a few weeks ago I headed to Home Depot to get my supplies.

But instead of building it from scratch like I had planned, I found a simple kit and went with that instead.

It’s a cedar Greenes Raised Garden kit I got it just because it will be so easy to add to it later. And it was crazy easy to put together. The kit was about $35 and came with everything, including the coated outdoor screws:

It took me about 15 minutes to put it together – you just put the wood into the corner slats and screw them in.

It’s four by four feet, so I got eight bags of Miracle Gro to fill it:

garden soil

And they filled it perfectly!

A reader mentioned on Twitter to get good, quality soil for the garden – and I figured Miracle Gro was a good option. It wasn’t cheap though – it ended up costing more than the garden kit!

But the combo of good soil, a little bit of fertilizer, a few days of sun, and a TON of rain are proving to be the perfect recipe for growing a garden!

I started my herbs indoors, and they are absolutely flourishing outside. My basil is already out. of. control:

basil

It smells heavenly. Hmmmm…

My watermelon started teeny tiny, and now it looks fantastic:

watermelon

There are SO MANY strawberries starting:

It is seriously so stinkin’ exciting people!

I planted tomatoes, lettuce, basil, cilantro, oregano, cucumber, strawberries, and watermelon in the bed:

I also planted two blueberry bushes on each side. I got two different varieties because I guess they need to cross-pollinate? That’s what I hear anyway. :)

Because our property backs up to trees and open land, we have lots of critters. I knew I’d need to figure out a way to keep them out (the bunnies especially!), so when I found this scrap fencing in the dumpster at hubby’s school, I was SO THERE:

;)

Yes, I said the dumpster. I probably should mention that they were the ONLY things in the dumpster, they were perfectly clean, and I didn’t have to go anywhere near the inside…I just grabbed them out. Swear. Cross my heart. Pinky swear.

I knew as soon as I saw them that they’d be perfect!:

raised garden

But I have a feeling the cutie little fencing won’t be enough. I know it won’t work for the occasional deer, and the bunnies will find a way in I’m sure. I think I’ll have to add chicken wire around everything.

I should probably get on that, because my garden babies are growing like WEEDS!

The pics on the left below were only taken three days ago, the pics on the right are today:

strawberries

I swear I could stand there and SEE the cucumbers growing, for real:

cucumbers

And the tomatoes have doubled in size since I planted them a week ago (it’s only been a WEEK!).

They’ve grown inches in only three days:

tomatoes

It’s insane!! And it makes me ridiculously giddy. It’s already so rewarding – I can’t imagine how fun it’s going to be to eat the food I’ve grown.   

If you’ve been considering planting a raised garden, I say go for it!! Not sure I’ll be so excited about it after a bunny eats my first lettuce or I’ve been out in the 90 degree temps every day watering because it hasn’t rained for two weeks…but for now, it’s FUN. ;)

This wasn’t exactly a thrifty project, at least on the front end. I spent about $150 on the bed, soil and plants. If you grow your veggies and fruits from seeds, you’re going to cut down the cost dramatically. For my first time, I wanted to start with plants to help the process along. :)

So now you’ve met my garden babies. I love them dearly already. They’re growing up so fast. Sniff.

Can’t wait to gobble them up. ;)

Any garden growing tips? I hear I should pull the buds off of my blueberries and strawberries this first season, but I don’t think I could bear it. ;) Are there specific critters or bugs I should watch out for? Tips to keep them away? I’d appreciate your advice!

I’ll be linking this up at Kate’s Outdoor Ideas Linky tomorrow morning!:

Home May'd Linkies

Be sure to check it out! :)

96 comments:

  1. How exciting!!! Your little green strawberry is so cute! :)

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  2. All the rain we've been getting has kept me from being able to get outside and do any gardening :( I haven't been able to spray paint anything either - Waaaaah! Feel sorry for me :) It's just so hard when you're forced into doing nothing but sitting on the couch :)

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  3. Oh - and your garden looks great! Those little strawberries are so cute!

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  4. What a great sense of accomplishment when you see your plantings grow, right? Even the "cucumbers"! ;)

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  5. We must be first-time-gardener kindred spirits! I swore last year I'd start my first garden...nothing. So this year I was determined! I also bought a premade raised bed kit. We have little strawberry babies, too! And my basil is out.of.control! It'll be fun to keep up with your first garden along with mine :)

    I don't have a lot of advice to pass on, but I do have a realistic looking snake that has kept the critters out of our garden. And my mom uses hair clippings to keep the bunnies out of her plants (hit up your local salon). I think we have ants, though so I'm going to have to look into what to do about that.

    Good luck! It's so much fun!

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  6. isn't it exciting? we are on our third year of growing veg and fruit and I love the whole process!! okay, maybe not the weeding, but just about everything else :D

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  7. Yay! So exciting! I am the same way about my garden- I get totally giddy watching everything grow! For your tomato plants- pinch off any "suckers"- they look like little teeny mini branches that grown down in the corner (near the main vertical stem) between bigger branches. They usually have a couple of leaves, sometimes even a flower. Pinching them off strengthens the other branches and will produce more & bigger tomatoes. :-) Good luck!!

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  8. I was just told (so I have no research to back this up yet, haha) that spraying a mixture of dish soap and water on your plants is a less chemically way to keep the bugs away. It's still harmful to them, but less harmful to you. Does that make sense? It might be worth looking into. :)

    Looks great!

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  9. So awesome! I'm a first time participator in kinderGARDENS...we check in weekly to encourage each other and see how our gardens are growing. Sure is keeping me motivated.

    www.gardenofeden-craftsfamily.blogspot.com

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  10. Looks great! You planted all my favorites! Your basil will get way out of control. I love that plant because it is so hardy! Don't forget to make caprese salad with your basil and tomatoes! If you plant marigolds near your tomatoes they help with tomato pests. Also, carrots love being planted by tomatoes. I usually plant my carrots right next to my tomatoes. I have a TINY side yard to garden in and I rent, so most of my garden is homemade (by me) garden boxes and containers. This year I planted 17 tomato plants! LOVE them! If you planted garlic along with your cilantro and tomatoes you would have most of what you need for delish salsa! That's what I grow my garden for mostly! ;) My Mom grows limes and I grow the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro that I use for my quick and fresh salsa (it's really more of a pico de gallo).

    I also LOVE how rewarding it is because everything grows so quickly!

    Good luck!

    Rebecca@RootsAndWingsCo

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  11. Yay for raised garden beds!! My hubby just finished building one for me- it was my Mother's Day gift- and I cannot wait to start planting stuff :D So glad that your plants are doing well!

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  12. This is fantastic! I have seriously been thinking about this a lot this year - and now that i know there is a kit I am so there.

    Question: Did you clear out the grass underneath the bed first? Or just plop it down on top? (Anyone who has and idea is welcome to answer!)

    Thanks!

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  13. WoW!!!! Beautiful Garden Bed and I must say its so neatly organised...really the love is being seen.Good

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  14. Your garden is looking great! I started a 4x4 raised bed garden and planted seeds...thought they'd never come up. Finally, this week my first seed popped up. So I know you are excited about yours. Congratulations on your garden success!

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  15. I think I need to pick up one of those kits!

    You might regret your planting choices a bit later. Both cucumber and watermelon get huge. Like, just those two could over run your 4x4 garden by July huge.

    But they'll be yummy!

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  16. WOW your garden is very nice and doing very well. The soil does cost alot but you did good by getting the good soil. And I think reusing the lattice was great, better to use it than it ending up in a land fill. And just in case that dont keep critters out they sell a product you can put out that will keep them away. Also to you can build a cross and put a tin fiol pan on each side, Its like a scare crow it will move in the wind and keep them away. Can I ask a queston where did you get your plant cages? I would like to find some like that instead of plain wire. Your Strawberrys look so great, I never have grown them cause i cant eat strawberrys :(

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  17. Echoing Laree--start training that cucumber and watermelon to grow out towards your lawn now while they're little (or up if you have some way to trellis them) They don't need much square footage for the main plant, but their vines will take over your bed in short order.
    I'm so excited for you, there's nothing better than a freshly planted garden full of promise! :)
    To the poster that asked about whether or not they needed to dig up the grass, you can lay down a thick layer of cardboard and/or newspaper in the bottom of the bed instead, it's just as effective and it'll save your back--let the roots do the work :)

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  18. Square foot gardening is a great way to go...but you may want to move out your watermelon OR make a bamboo teepee about 5 feet high and put it over the lil things right now-they will get huge! It is so great to eat what you grow...the taste is awesome. Good luck with your new green thumb!

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  19. LOVE it! It looks so beautiful and scrumptious! Can't wait to hopefully get one started for this year too! :)

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  20. Yay, welcome to the gardening club! :)

    I started with an 8x8 plot last year, and this year I applied for a plot in the community garden and got one - it's almost 20x20! (though it's been tough since it's heavy clay soil and they didn't till it right so all of the grass is growing back!)

    My favorite gardening blog that has tons of helpful tips is Chiot's Run:
    http://chiotsrun.com/
    (also, she's in Ohio so it's not one of those Florida gardening blogs that has a ridiculously long season and can grow everything - much more practical!)

    Here are my "photoblogs" from last year and this year:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/59064186@N00/sets/72157623622062144/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/59064186@N00/sets/72157626353755912/

    Gardening is really fun - I'm so happy I have another one to watch grow in my feed reader now!

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  21. Yays! You worked extremely hard, and it looks gorgeous. I'm an avid gardner, have been for many years, here's a couple of tips...first, Basil is a natural bug and even deer deterent, so that's great that you planted it. It's in the Tomato family, believe it or not, and they love to grow alongside each other. Next, your first garden is grogeous and you worked very hard on it, but it's small, so those cucumbers and watermelons that you just can't wait to watch grow and then eat, are going to kill everything else in their path. I'm sorry, I didn't want to have to say that, I know you really wanted to add them, but I didn't want you learn the hard way. Cucumbers and Watermelons are 'sprawlers' and they like their seed pkts say, they want and require LOTS of space. This garden isn't big enough to contain them, or to give them that space, especially with your adorable fence around it, which won't be so adorable after the melons and cukes have a go at it all summer. One way to save the cucumbers so you don't have to move them, is to take a tomato cage and turn it upside down, and as the cukes grow, guide them up through and over it. The garden may be big enough to do that for one cucumber plant, but as for the watermelons, there's no room. The rest of your garden is so beautiful, you probably should remove the melon plants now before they start to grow larger, and longer. They will snatch up and hold onto your herbs and tomatoes and will literally choke them, the cuckes will too, so that in fact all you'll really be growing are the cukes and melons because they're going to suffocate and kill everything else. The bamboo teepee the other poster suggests might do the trick, but watch them very carefully...the first sign of it not working as a support or be knocked down during a storm, may wipe out the rest of your garden that you worked so hard on, cuz when the seed pkts say that they need 4-6 feet per plant for space, they really mean it. It's so fun to garden, to watch things grown and have the satisfaction that you grew it yourself. You'll learn more and more, and get better and better at selecting just the right veggies for your garden each year. Enjoy your garden, I love mine!

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  22. Pet fur can be a natural deterent from deer, as are spikey plants like squash and okra.

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  23. Your bed looks great - especially the dumpster-dived fencing :)

    I've been growing my own fruit and veg for a few years but this year I've been expanding my growing space by adding lots of new large planters and raised beds -- all made for free from scrap wood. I'm amazed how good most of them look!

    I've filled them with about 50% my own compost and 50% shop-bought compost/soil which has further saved money - as has starting all the veg from seed. It takes a lot more effort but for me, it's worth it for the money saving and the fact that I know it's completely organic.

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  24. Oh....I LOVE gardening....it's my first home love. Congrats and good luck! I'd be careful with that watermelon....it will get huge and could take over everything! I am a bit behind on my annual plantings due to the cruddy weather we've had this week, but all of the rain we've gotten here has made all of my perennial herbs HUGE and all of my other plants look great. I've got a nice crop of lettuce going right now, I'm so in love with that! I also started a compost bin early this spring. :) I've been loving the planter box and garden posts!

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  25. Way to go! It's so rewarding to grow and pick your own veggies. We just moved into this house 6 months ago and it was a priority to grow a garden. We couldn't grow anything when we lived at the beach so this has been so fun.
    I blogged about it yesterday actually. Here's the link if you want to check it out. http://homesteadersheart.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-gardening-love.html
    I think my next gardening post will be about what we use for bugs and composting and such.
    Have a great day and once again, Great Job!
    Kim

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  26. every year i say i'm going to plant one and i don't get anything more than just my herbs in pots. this looks like a great starter option! thanks, susan

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  27. Sandy at RE has fantastic advice on this topic! I grew up in WI, and my neighbors always used dried blood bags (sounds so gross) tied onto the fence of their garden to keep the deer out. I have no idea where they got it, but it seemed to work.

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  28. Besides your obvious green thumb I too love miracle gro and I use it for all my plantings! My plants grow bigger and are just more amazing with the use of the miracle gro products. Happy gardening!

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  29. Your garden looks great! I agree with the other posters, start trellising those watermelons and cukes! They go wild. On your watermelons, you can make slings out of old pantyhose or other stretchy fabrics (nettings) to help hold them up on the trellis. But make a strong trellis- I've had them fall over in storms and it's no fun to see what you've grown fall down!

    Also the soap and water idea for keeping pests aways works wonders, do a few days in a row when you see a pest start to take hold and it usually keeps the population of pest managable. Won't irradicate them entirely usually but if you don't have any bad bugs you won't attract any good bugs to kill them off.

    Also-- mulch!!! that's the number one thing I learned in my first year garden last year-- will save you so much time watering if you mulch around your plants. I was watering everyday last year b/c i didn't mulch- this year I only have to water once or twice a week and I live in the hot South!

    Enjoy your garden! I love your blog by the way, always recommend it to friends!

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  30. Looks good, But I have to tell you I am so sick of this rain just heard on the news that tomorrow is going to be the only nice day, then it's back to rain.... I have always planted veggies and not so lucky with watermelon If you get them I will be so jealous...Good luck and happy eats...

    Pattie

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  31. Very exciting!! We had "the bones" of our garden started, but then T hurt his back and hasn't touched it since. I really want to get my Father-in-law over here to help b/c I want to get my plants in and we still need to get the planks in for the border. :s

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  32. Marigolds are a cute way to keep bunnies out. I love the look of raised beds! For tomatoes you need to pinch the suckers (the middle branch on any grouping). Also, may want to consider moving the watermelon and/or cucumber. Both spread like crazy and there just isn't enough room in your bed. They'll end up smothering everything.
    Good luck and enjoy!

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  33. How exciting...hope everything grows well and you have lots of fresh foods to enjoy!!!

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  34. Congratulations! You must have warmer weather than we have. I hoping for Memorial day to start setting out plants. It's been too cool and rainy here for gardening.

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  35. Man, I now EXACTLY what you mean about last summer! I'm here in Indy too...I stopped mid project on a paver border last year. When spring hit, I literally found a bag of sand and mulch just laying there because I just gave up after that heat last year! LOL

    I plant my herbs in with my flowers and other border plants. But I've been wanting to do a raised bed and plant more stuff. Maybe one day if I ever get my nightmare fence put up, I'll have an idea of where to put a raised bed. :)

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  36. It looks wonderful! I can almost smell your basil, yum! I've heard using human hair around your garden is best to keep critters away, especially deer & bunnies. Just go to a local salon & ask them for clippings, its already washed so the grody factor isn't so bad :-)

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  37. I could be wrong but I don't think that fencing is going to keep out the bunnies. I have that kind of fencing around the base of my shed and it makes the perfect bunny escape from larger animals. Maybe since it's up off the ground it'll be different. Also, I put my raised bed right on the grass and never had a problem.

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  38. So exciting!
    I, too, made a raised bed this year. In years past it's only been a few plants, mostly in pots. This year I went all out because we've been blessed with a backyard with perfect sunshine all day long.
    It's fun now, for sure, and will be not as much fun when it's hot :) but best of luck to ALL OF US! and our yummy yummy effort!

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  39. Looks great! we used the Pioneer Womans instructions and made a couple beds last year. We live North 0f Indy(carmel). The deer drive me crazy! The sprays stink and I was getting desperate. I tried those whirlygig things people put out for decorations, and I think the deer are scared of them. Looks a little crazy, but the kids think its fun and the deer don't! Win win!
    They are cheap at Michaels, but I got mine at Kohls clearance-who knew! They come in flowers, fish, butterflies etc!

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  40. I have always pinched my bloosoms off my strawberries as well, and learned at my son's class field trip to a berry farm yesterday why. The plant you have planted is a "mother" plant, if you pinch off the blossoms they will produce up to 6-8 "daughter" plants. Each daughter will produce up to a quart of berries the second year. If you do not pinch them off your mother plant will produce, but never get larger or produce more. In addition, strawberries got their name as they should be covered with straw to overwinter, not sure how cold the ground gets where you are but they should never get below 32 degrees for more than 4 hours or they will die. If you need more room in your garden, strawberries do very well in containers, then the container can be put in a garage for the winter.

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  41. Bunnies don't like cayenne pepper, sprinkle it on your plants and they will stay away. Also watch for white flies on your tomatoes, a million little white bugs, you can use seven dust for that. And take a broom stick and put it inside of your tomato plant and give your plant a good shake, it will help with pollination so you get lots of tomatoes. Growing a garden is alot of fun, and work but so worth it! I have pumpkins growing right now by accident. A pumpkin rotted in my flower pot and the seeds sprouted, can't wait to see what happens!

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  42. Your garden is awesome! Everything looks so happy and healthy. There's nothing like fresh strawberries from the garden. You may want to try some bird netting over the top of the garden to keep the critters away.

    We constructed a
    raised garden last weekend and planted our veggies. We plan to plant strawberries this weekend in another garden.

    Jane
    frugalfineliving.com

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  43. I have three raised beds - one is about 5x8, one is about 5x20, and one is about 5x16. Every fall I get black dirt (read: used to be cow poo) and mix it in really good with the existing soil. Works great. You DO know that your watermelons will vine out and around in the yard, right? They will TAKE OFF! Doesn't matter if you don't need to mow that area. My hubby says anything that gets out of the raised beds is fair game for the mower, so I don't raise pumpkins or watermelons or cucumters anymore. :-) You are gonna love the raised beds even more than you do now, I promise. I love the look of a garden growing in a raised bed!

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  44. First off- looks great! The first year is always the hardest. It takes a lot of work to get things going. Secondly, I will echo the other commentors about the cucumber and watermelon. This year, I more than doubled my garden by getting a 16x24' plot behind my husband's work. I'm putting all my "spreaders" in there (cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, zucchini, and also my potatoes) so I have more room in my back yard garden. Here, I have planted my beans, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, carrots, lettuce, onions, peppers. I have been wanting to build a pea teepee for several years. You have inspired me to just get it done this year. I have the seeds, the twine, and the stake already. I just have to get it in the ground! I'm looking forward to lots of canning this year!

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  45. I just now read the poster's comment about strawberries needing to stay 32 degrees or warmer. It might be the variety she has, or I have, but I'm in northwest Wisconsin and I have the smallest of my three raised beds full of just strawberries, and they winter over and come back stronger every year (this is my 3rd year for them). I've never covered them up but I do know some folks cover theirs with straw. Again, might be the variety she has vs. the variety I have. We are late this year with warm weather (so far, I can count on ONE hand the warm days we've had), so I only have blooms on my berries...won't be long before those blooms turn into berries, though!

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  46. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Debbie Hewitt is 100% correct. I've been gardening on my own for close to 20 years and most of it using raised bed gardens. Try to dig down deep to dig up your watermelon. You can dig up a small patch about 6 to 10 feet away from your raised bed to plant the watermelon. It will grow ALL over the place. What variety of cucumber did you buy? Is it a bush variety? Or a climber? If its a climber having it in the back corner and trained to climb a trellis or the inverted tomato cage will help. By all means check out the book "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew!! He is a great resource which my horticulture college professor even recommended (we were designing and maintaining small raised bed organic gardens for the college I attended!)

    Good luck and enjoy! You did good planting the tomatoes and basil together!!! Do you also have thyme planted? I thought I saw it in the of your picture your basil and lettuce. Oh be sure to pinch your basil back periodically to keep it full and bushy. It can sometimes get tall and leggy or just plain take over an area but the clippings are wonderful. We eat pesto all winter long that was made from our clippings! If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. We live about an hour north of you so I don't think our growing climates are all that different!!

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  47. I need to plant some herbs. I have a serious black thumb so I'm thrilled the cucumber plants my dad gave me are doing so well. They are in a pot on the deck.

    My advise is to watch out for birds too. Every single stinkin' strawberry we grew was eaten by birds before we could get it picked. Same with tomatoes.

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  48. I planted my first garden this year as well!!! I will be posting about it soon. :) My plants aren't quite as mature as your's though. Good luck with the lovely produce.

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  49. We have a huge garden in our yard (well actually, many different gardens) and one of the best things we've ever done is start a compost pile. It is so easy to do and is great in sooo many ways. First, you never have to bag another blade of grass or leaf again. Second, all your kitchen scraps get dumped right into it (and don't smell up the kitchen). And third, you never have to buy another bag of soil or fertilizer again. Ours is just a three sided huge box made out of leftover cinderblocks from the previous owner. We barely ever turn it (although it probably needs to be turned this year since we had so much compacting snow) but it's amazing to watch eggshells, instant oatmeal envelopes, onion peels and coffee grinds just disintegrate into what they call "gardener's gold". It is the best fertilizer ever (forget miracle-gro!) and we've even stuck branches cut off from the pussy willow tree, or the weeping cherry tree and they've started rooting in it! AMAZING! You must try to do it.. it is so easy and totally THRIFTY!

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  50. There is a product called Liquid Fence that we buy to spray on our garden. It stinks to high heaven but does a great job of keeping little critters away from our garden. Just be aware of what direction the wind is coming from when you spray it...or you'll smell like it too!

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  51. I grow a garden every year. I think you are doing great! The best thing I can recommend is to keep an eye on your leaf lettuce. Lettuce *hates* heat, and once your regular daily temps starting hitting 90 and above, it will "bolt" and start to taste bitter, so you'll have to pull it up. Spinach (if you like it) is another super easy thing to grow. I always grow my lettuce and spinach from seed. Also, usually mid-summer, most stores (especially Walgreen’s) put seeds on clearance for about 5-10 cents per packet. I stock up and store them in a small Rubbermaid container in my freezer. Seeds will keep for several years this way.

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  52. I just picked up All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew from the library yesterday and flipped through it last night. He's a HUGE fan of 4'x4' raised beds and has a lot of designs and suggestions for how to keep pests out of them. Good luck!

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  53. fabulous! where did you get your raised bed kit from? I like it & your fence to keep the bunnies out looks great!

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  54. Last year I installed watering system with this tiny (~quarter inch) green flexible hose. It worked out to be really cheap, the expensive part is the programmable timer. With that, you don't need to be out there watering and you can water during the cooler parts of the day (night/morning) so water doesn't evaporate. I will be out planting my veggie garden this weekend.

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  55. I'm on my 2nd year of square foot gardening and I love it!

    Here are a few tips:

    Keep track of where you plant everything so you can rotate spots next year. Rotational planting makes the soil and plants less susceptible to diseases.

    When your soil starts to settle, mix in some peat moss & compost and the plants will grow even bigger and faster! In my square foot gardening book, it recommends 1/3 each of soil, peat moss, and compost.

    If you don't want your cucumbers to take over, put two stakes on either side and attach some netting - the cucumber vines will grow up the net instead of all over the garden.

    Look into companion planting - I have planted marigolds in my garden to keep away bad bugs. "Carrots Love Tomatoes" is a great book to read about companion planting. I also planted garlic around my tomatoes.

    Insecticidal soap is a great organic spray to keep bugs away.

    Have fun!

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  56. Love your post and so excited for you! I have been doing tomatoes and herbs for a couple of years. Love doing my "garden walks" while I eat my homegrown tomatoes! A few readers already commenting on pinching back the middle "shoots" on tomatoe plants. I like to refer to these as the "males". They are the shoots between two bigger branches. I'm sure you get the reference ;) Helps me remember what to pinch back. Happy gardening! Here's a link to my blog.
    http://robica.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-pretties.html
    We are trying our hand at a greenhouse this year as our growing season in much shorter in Central Oregon.

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  57. Ya for gardens! I have two and I'm posting about them on my blog today!

    One thing with the strawberries you'll probably need to cover them with a chicken wire cage. My strawberries have been ripening and the birds swoop down and eat them! Not to mention my dog has a few to snack on every day as well.

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  58. Gah, I hate you a little bit. I am growing my first garden and it's not going quite as well as yours...though maybe that has something to do with being in the Pacific Northwest and the last frost date being something ridiculous like May 23. Good luck and enjoy your bounty! :)

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  59. I've heard to sprinkle cut hair around the outside of the garden area. Little critters smell "human" and stay away. A co-worker cuts her son's and hubs' hair (buzz cuts) outside, gathers up what hasn't blown away and sprinkles the grass around the garden.

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  60. I finally started my raised bed gardening this year too! Hubby built me 2 that size for Mother's day. I have had so much filling them up and watching things grow and I love that my kids are learning food doesn't come from the store! I too have LOTS of critters and was trying to figure out a fence idea...I'm going to repeat your idea. That's great....now onto dumpster diving. LOL

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  61. bunnies don't like marigolds, I don't think deer do either. You might want to try planting a border of them around your garden. It's worth a try. It'd look cute too.

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  62. GREAT job! It looks amazing and I'm sure will taste even better. Did you lay landscape fabric down first or did you just throw dirt on top of grass...you may have inspired me to give this a try next year! Thanks.

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  63. Congratulations on your garden!! I *finally* started mine last year. I'm in SoCal and we've got gophers. So I dug out the entire area and laid gopher wire before putting good dirt in. I've got rosemary, mint (in a pretty pot!), and artichokes, among others. The artichokes have been the conversation piece of the whole neighborhood! And *so* yummy! I'm planning to add raised beds using Ana White's plans.
    Got snail or slug issues? Coffee grounds worked for my snails and beer got the slugs hammered. (They died with a big smile!)
    Best of luck!

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  64. Nice garden! Love the little strawberries. =)

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  65. The garden's looking good! I currently have vegetable envy since with the new house I'm having trouble making time to do things like adding a garden.
    At our old house I had an accidentally large garden, and a lot of deer. They ate everything! The tomatoes took the biggest hit, though, because they'd come by and lop off the tops!
    I came home one day and there was something suspicious in my garden so I went to check it out. My brother had strung a couple lines of cassette tape around the whole thing. It was supposed to keep out deer. I laughed at him, but since it wasn't super imposing (and you couldn't see it from a distance really) I left it.
    Know what? It worked. I never had anymore problems. Lush tomatoes, healthy green beans, abundant squash. Fantastic!
    The only thing I can figure is that when it caught what little light there was it freaked them out enough to head out. Or maybe it made their legs itchy. Who knows, but I highly recommend it!

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  66. Try using grated bars of Ivory soap around your plants that interest the deer...it works!

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  67. Hi Sara,

    I haven't read all the comments so I am sorry if this is a repeat. I've been a sq. foot gardener for a very long time (growing things in tiny spaces). I have 6 4x4 beds that feed us-and all of our friends and neighbors. They produce so much more than normal gardens. You will be fine with the watermelon and cucmbers but as a couple other comments said, they need to go verticle. Pick up the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. You will love it!! I grow pumpkins, cucumbers, Watermelon, etc all verticle in my tiny beds. Huge pumpkins hanging off a vine is an amazing site to see. He shows you how. My little garden is such a big producer, one time my hubby couldn't see me. I was in the garden and I am 6 foot. Anyway have a wonderful time...oh yah add some marigolds and petunias to your bed and you will have additional bug protection.

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  68. I've planted a garden for about the last 12 years or so, and it's so much fun! I do hope you cleared out the grass under your bed, tho--otherwise you'll get grass right up through it! I also think you'll find that you planted way too much in your little bed--you'll be amazed how big everything gets! It's a learning process, like everything else, and you seem to learn very efficiently! I know you'll have a ball with this!

    Gail D.

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  69. Holy Pete! I am your 11431st follower....if I remembered that correctly! Wow....I have 9 followers (and I am one of them...) LOL
    I am a newbie and I am thrilled to find blogs like yours. SUCCESS for sure.
    Love it....I'll be hanging here much!

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  70. You can keep the strawberries in the raised bed even in winter. I live in IL where the temps get well below freezing and my strawberries have come back this year stronger than ever. And I didn't cover them with anything! Make sure to pinch off your large basil leaves (even if you don't plan on eating it). You don't want flowers to bloom on the plant or the basil can taste bitter. My husband made my two raised beds and I love them. Gardening has been so rewarding. Good luck!

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  71. I've never had luck with strawberries! I guess it's just too hot in South Texas! We've got tomatoes out our ears though!!

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  72. Congrats on your garden! It's so exciting... the best garden blog out there is www.sweetlifegarden.com. They specialize is sustainable raised bed gardens. You will love it!

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  73. Im so there with you. The excitement of watching something you planted with your own hands, turn into something you can put in your mouth is amazing. I do not have children, but I liken it to watching in amazement a baby turning into a full size adult. Well, maybe with out the back talk :-)

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  74. Hey - garden's looking great. Strawberries are coming up for me too. Can't wait to start eating all the bounty!! Thanks for the post. I love reading what you're up to!

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  76. Oh how fun!!
    I can't wait till our house is done and we can start planting for real.
    Congratulations & I love that diy raised gaden bed...I may just have to look into that :)

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  77. yay, that's awesome! i should definitely take that plunge. for now, i am growing 1 zucchini in a pot, and it is already a little baby zucchini. i am super excited about that, i check it every day, so i totally feel ya on being proud veggie parents. my cucumber does not seem to be happy in the upside down pot (which i had hoped to make work). i wonder if i should just take it down and put it in a regular pot. hmm...good luck with this!

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  78. I hope this first year goes great for you! As an "experienced" gardner, here are a few tips: strawberries are awesome and come back very year, so they need their own raised bed - they branch out (send out shooters) in the late summer and fall, let then fill in the whole box. Vine plants also need their own space - hope they don't take over in your small space. Have fun and add a new box next summer!

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  79. Wow! Your garden looks fantastic. I'm sure you're having fun watching it grow, and just think how good everything will taste. You done right by using Miracle Grow Potting Soil. That's what I use and I highly recommend it to others. You are doing a super job.

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  80. Try using dried cows blood meal! You can buy it at Lowes. Just ask for it they will know what you are talking about! I lady at a nursery told me about years ago. It works. Bunnies were eating my marigolds and I put it out. didn't have any more problems. They don't like the smell of it. Enjoy your garden. It looks good!!!

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  81. Thank you for sharing your garden with us. Our veggies are all in now too and we have many beautiful sprouts. Are strawberries have flowers ( a new blog is scheduled).
    I always enjoy my visits to your lovely blog.I hope you'll stop by Katherines Corner. I'm having a giveaway. xo

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  82. Good ON ya for getting started in edible gardening! It's SO fun and rewarding. Last night, we had a huge caesar salad from our own romaine lettuce; nothing like it--so tender and delish.

    I just started veg gardening a few years ago. As a few others have mentioned, I've been square-foot gardening and really like that I can cram more into my raised beds than if I planted in rows. I've blogged a little bit about it if you want to see:
    http://eatingetc.blogspot.com/search/label/Garden

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  83. You've inspired me!! Did you plant SEEDS or PLANTS?! I'm assuming it may be too late for seeds, but maybe not?! I'm in the NW. My other question is ...is there a bottom to your 'raised' garden. Hope that's not a dumb question!

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  84. Another trick to keep the bunnies out of the garden is to plant marigods around it...they don't like the smell of the flowers.

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  85. Congratulations Sarah on your new and beautiful garden! Summer is fast approaching and it's nice that you have something to look after to.

    When your garden is growing (especially if it has gorgeous flowers), it will give you fulfillment.

    I've always liked gardening ever since my mother gave me my first garden kits and pots - that was 20 years ago. Since then, it became my passion and true hobby.

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  86. I had no idea Home Depot had such an inexpensive garden kit! I searched high and low and only found kits for $100 and up. I was excited to see this post too because we just finished building our raised garden bed and I posted the how-to on my blog last night!

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  87. Your little guy is going to have SO MUCH FUN picking and eating strawberries from Mom's garden!!

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  88. I've been so debating on what to do about a garden this year. Was thinking maybe putting some stuff in pots, but really didn't want to as I don't have any extra pots to use. I heard about the kit but was on the fence. I'm going to do it. Thanks for the push!!!

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  89. Maybe this has already been suggested:
    Pick the flowers off your strawberry plants until June 1. Let them grow after that. This way, all the plant's energy will go into making it stronger to support those berries when they do come on! It will also increase your crop next year (size and quantity)! Promise ;o)

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  90. I didn't read all of the comments so someone may have said this already but last year I sprinkled human hair(yes,hair)around my beds to keep the critters out and never had a problem. We have rabbits,deer,etc but one whiff of the hair and they didn't go near it. My hair dresser gave me a bag. Sounds gross but better than losing all of your hard work by letting the animals eat it instead of your family ;)

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  91. Try tulle or netting over top of the garden to keep out rabbits and pests. The downside is that it will also keep out ladybugs and GOOD insects.

    Next year, instead of miracleGro with all it's chemicals, try adding just topsoil and cow manure and compost. MUCH healthier for your plants/garden/worms in the long run. Worms--hey, you can also just add more worms to the garden, too!

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  92. Your garden is so cute! I did my first garden about 2 years ago. This year I planted peas, green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Last year I had basil and when the japanese beetles came out, they attacked it - what was left was some pitiful looking basil. If anyone knows a way to keeps those critters off of my basil, please let me know. Happy Gardening!!!

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