Meet Ashley. When she heard her friend Julie was taking part in our new garden venture, why don’t you know she went straight to her husband and suggested they build a planter box? I use the term “they” quite loosely here, though she did help. And–she prepared nice snacks for him and the boys, smiled pleasantly as she held the boards so he could nail them in place and assisted where possible. (This is all excellent wife behavior and it works–most of the time, anyway.)
Would you look at this amazing piece of engineering perfection? It’s a veritable masterpiece! Compliments help, too.
Note to building crew: lining your planter is a fine idea, but keep in mind your plants’ drainage needs. Soggy roots are like soggy fruits–not delightful. Be sure your planter is capable of draining. Then, add a load of fresh dirt and you’re on your way!
For her first garden, Ashley chose a few of her family’s favorites; another wise move. Growing vegetables that are easy and fun but no one cares to eat is a losing proposition. Trust me. Watching your fruit wither on the vine–literally–is a sad day, indeed. (Kinda gross, too.) For starters, we have beans, squash, melon, carrots and potatoes.
How is she fitting all those veggies in there? I’m glad you asked. Organization 101.
Prior to planting, it’s a good idea to lay those colorful packets out across the dirt. This way, you can eyeball their placement, keeping in mind their friends and foes. Plants have their favorite companions, you know, and they’ll simply wilt and whine when planted too far apart.
If you must squish a few “squabblers” together, so be it. One thing I’ve learned is that Mother Nature appreciates enthusiasm. She’ll give you a pass without fuss the first time you break her rules. She won’t punish you with rotten diseases or nasty infestations to ruin your moment, but next season? You’d better get another box. Oh, honey…!
Once you’ve decided where everyone will be residing, dig according to your seeds’ needs. Rule of thumb: tiny seeds prefer shallow surface planting while larger ones go deeper. And potato tubers? We dug them a special section situating them lower than all their neighbors. Important, because as they grow, you’ll want to continually mound them with dirt. This forces greater potato production and we do want to produce, don’t we? Yes, we do.
Speaking of produce, Ashley’s gone crazy excited and decided to try her hand at composting, too! Leftovers no longer go in the garbage–they go in the sink! (Until we find a more attractive alternative.) Then, her handy-dandy-super-helpful young sons will transport this bin to the outdoor compost pile. Neat system, isn’t it?
Boys love composting, because it can lead to great worm hunting. And any boy worth his sea salt knows: if you plan on catching the big one, you’d better have some worms on hand. Could there be any more fun than finding them on your own? I think not.
Finally, spray a little water over your planter to get your new seeds settled in and then it’s off to the picnic. In no time Ashley will witness an explosion of sprouts across her planter followed by leaves and veggies and harvest and–
Whew! I’m excited just thinking about it!
For those of you wondering how Julie’s garden is coming along, well, you know, life, spring break… Well, life just plain happens. In the real world, our best intentions can easily be sidetracked by a few rows–but not to worry–she’ll be digging into her yard in no time! Tanned from the beach, to boot.
While we’re on the subject of gals in the garden, check out BloominThyme’s new garden series at Galtime.com in the Living section. Join us, won’t you?