If I Plant It, It Will Grow – Growing Tomatoes From Seed and Building More Square Foot Gardens!

Tomato Seedlings“If I Plant it, it will grow”.

This year I am doing something I’ve never done before – start tomatoes from seeds inside!  I saved seeds from my heirloom tomatoes last year and I also purchased several different heirloom varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (their catalog is breathtaking!).  I disinfected my containers with a solution of water and bleach, moistened my seed starting mix and planted 20 tomato plants.  All went well, except for one mistake!  It is always a good idea to read through all instructions first instead of going step by step.  I only wanted 20 tomato plants in my garden.  I followed the instructions to plant 2-3 seeds per container thinking I would just cut away the tomatoes that looked to be the weaker seedling.  Well, that is not what followed in the instructions … it told me that once the “true leaves” of the tomato appear to transplant each of the tomatoes into a 4 inch pot!  Yikes!!  That would mean I’d have 60+ tomato plants (all my seeds germinated)!  I will transplant more than 20 and give some away to friends and plant less next year.  

Tim built me shelves for my plants and I bought double light fluorescent light fixtures for my plants.  The tomatoes germinated in 7 days, with my seeds that I saved germinating first!  They are thriving under the light which I leave on approximately 16 hours per day. It is fun to watch them grow and now will be ready to transplant as the first true leaves have emerged.

Tomato Plants

Tomatoes transplanted after first true leaves

I’m hoping for tomatoes like I had last year!  Grow baby grow!

Rainbow Carrots and Heirloom Tomatoes

It has been almost 1 month since I planted the tomato seeds and they are thriving!

Tomato Plants

Tomatoes not quite a month old!

Tomatoes not quite a month old!

This weekend I purchased two more square foot cedar bed kits at Home Depot (they were on sale) and added them to the existing 4×4 bed and look what we came up with!  Now I will have plenty of gardening room to plant everything I love.


Spring is really taking its time here in NE Ohio.  I looked at pictures at the same time last year (check it out here and learn more about square foot gardening) and all the leaves on the bushes and trees were out fully  by now!  I can hardly wait to start planting outside … but I think I’ll have to patient and wait a few more weeks.

Happy gardening!

Garden Update – If I Plant it, it Will Grow – Nourish Your Body … Nourish Your Soul

My last garden update was on June 2nd.  The garden is thriving and soaking up sunshine and daily water.  Pictured above is a basketful of kale and lettuce.  I am loving my garden lettuce salads.

I just took a look at last garden update and I can hardly believe the difference!  I am so happy with the progress of my first vegetable garden – it would seem I have inherited my father’s green thumb for gardening!  Woooo whooooo!!

Take a look.  The picture below was taken at the first of June.

The picture below was taken the first of July!  Amazing … this gardening thing is awesome!  I was curious yesterday and went out to measure my purple potato plants.  They measured 3 feet, 4 inches tall!  Wow … and the information that came with them said they are supposed to grow 2 feet tall.  I hope this means I will have loads of purple potatoes to dig up!  I also measured my tallest tomato plant and it measured 5 feet 7 inches already and has over 10 tomatoes on it.

With 15 tomato plants I have a feeling I’m going to be very busy making tomato sauce, salsa and canning tomatoes.  How great will that be to have in the winter months … so much better than canned from the store!

The bush beans are doing fantastic and will be ready to pick soon.

My smaller raised bed is also doing well.  I’m curious to see how my cauliflower will develop.  So far, it is just a plant with huge leaves.  If you see the holes on the leaves you’ll see that I share my vegetables with the insects!  Organic all the way!

The peas are finished – they don’t tolerate heat well and we’ve been in the midst of a heat wave.  Next year I plan on planting more snap peas – they were the best snap peas I’ve ever tasted.

Just like the Energizer Bunny my gourmet salad mix and lettuce keeps going and going and going.  Next year I’m planning to start some lettuce inside from seed.  The gourmet salad mix I planted outside from seed has done amazingly well.

Once potato plants flower you can dig up the “new” small potatoes.  I decided to let them go undisturbed and will wait until they are larger.  It’s actually surprising that I waited.  Patience seems to be my biggest challenge right now.  I keep looking at my carrots and beets and can hardly wait to pull them.  I did pull one of each and they weren’t ready yet, so I’ll need to be patient for a while longer.

Flower Gardening is also good for the soul!  In addition to my gardens, I have a lot of perennial flower beds.  Flowers were my first love, they are good for the soul, they are beautiful and brilliant, and they make me happy.

I have many different colors and varieties of Lilies.

Pink Phlox in bloom.  One of my favorite Phlox is the candy cane – the pink and white flower.

Like a burst of sunshine …

And at the end of the day, you can walk up the path, sit down and enjoy the bounty of your garden, relax and take in the beauty of the flowers and listen to the soothing sounds of the fountain nearby.

I cannot at the moment, think of a better way to nourish the soul and the body!

Garden Update – Nourish Your Soul

On April 10th I posted “My First Vegetable Garden – If I Plant it, It Will Grow”.  What a difference 7 weeks has made in the growth of my vegetables.  My mantra “if I plant it, it will grow” is working.  Having a vegetable garden would definitely go on my list of “Why have I never done this before?!”.  I’m sure we all have those “lists“.  What are some of the things that would go on your list of “Why have I never done this before”?

I’m just happy that I have discovered the joys of vegetable gardening now!  Who would have thought that a little girl and grown woman that doesn’t like to get dirt all over her hands and under her nails would fall in love with vegetable gardening?!  It happened … each morning now I walk down to look at my vegetables and observe them and view the changes.  It is amazing to me that something that I planted from seed and nourished has grown and continues to grow.  It truly is nourishment for the soul.  I never “got it” until I actually started my own vegetable garden. I find immense pleasure in watching my vegetables grow and in watering and caring for them.  I had my first lettuce salad from the garden and an arugula and lettuce turkey sandwich – that was one of the best turkey sandwiches I’ve had!  I also discovered that arugula is one of the fastest growing vegetables from seed … it should be ready to harvest 30 days from planting.

Take a morning walk with me and see what’s growing in the gardens.

Peas, Arugula, Potatoes, Kale, Beans, Eggplant, Beets, Tomatoes, Sage, Lemon Basil, Lime Basil, Peppers, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Swiss chard

Radish, Carrots, Purple Basil

Isn’t this the most beautiful color of lettuce?!

Growing in a container I have Citrus Mint.

And … Chocolate Mint.  This smells heavenly!

I hope you enjoyed the walk through the vegetable garden.

May all your gardens grow well and flourish!

My First Vegetable Garden – If I Plant it, it Will Grow

I could not help but think of the line from the movie “A Field of Dreams” “If you build it they will come” as I was planting my first vegetable garden.  I said to Tim, If I plant it, it will grow”.  People have told me not to be disappointed if my garden doesn’t do so well the first year.  If my veggies don’t do well this summer I will be disappointed!  That’s just the way I am.  However, I’m remaining optimistically confident and repeating my mantra If I plant it, it will grow”.

Topsy Turvy Hanging Frame Tim built last year. We grew tomatoes and peppers in topsy turvys and had great success.

I have only grown tomatoes, peppers and herbs, never a vegetable garden, and never from seed.  I started looking on the Internet for beginning gardening advice, tips, etc. and discovered a wealth of information.  Seriously … what can’t you find on the Internet!   What interested me most was Square Foot Gardening.  The square foot garden is a raised bed and is sectioned off  in a grid of square feet.  The premise is you are able to harvest a lot more produce in a smaller contained area with less work and less weeds –  no more row gardening.  For example, you would plant 16 carrots in one square, larger plants like tomatoes, one per square.  Sounds perfect to me!  Mel Bartholomew wrote his first book on this entitled Square Foot Gardening and a wealth of information about Square Foot Gardening is also available on-line.  I purchased Mel’s second book “All New Square Foot Gardening”.

(I bought this small 4×4 raised bed kit, I didn’ t have the heart to ask Tim to build me another bed, at least not this year!)

I couldn’t contain my excitement and as you might imagine Tim was just thrilled to be involved in yet another one of my projects, which meant he was building my garden!  Ha ha … there is a downside to being so talented at building and fixing things around the home!  I really do think he enjoys building me things even though he may grumble at first.  He constructed my raised bed and even dug up and tilled the grass for me, set the frame down once it was built, and filled the bed with soil we had delivered.  Of course I was out there watching . . . we joked that I made a good supervisor!  Just like road crews, one person working and 3 standing around watching (me and Irish & Bailey were watching).  Just like any good supervisor I did my homework, read and planned the garden.  I never had any idea that vegetables had companion plants and that the vegetables needed to be rotated each year.  The rest of my job was easy and fun; staining the bed, writing names of vegetables on my seed marker signs and planting.  As a supervisor, I will also be in charge of watering, fertilizing and pulling any weeds that may make their way into my garden.

Even though this is my first garden and I really knew zilch about gardening, you could say I started gardening at a young age, helping my dad plant seeds in his vegetable garden. He had a huge garden that he maintained for years and my mom froze and canned vegetables. 

A garden that massive was a tremendous amount of work and we all helped out and pitched in.  When I told my mother I was building a raised bed garden I think she was surprised, but pleased.  She said when I was younger I never liked working in the garden and getting my hands dirty.  I still don’t like to get my hands dirty and dirt under my nails … but that’s what gardening gloves are for!

I’m so excited to be starting a vegetable garden – just the thought of being able to pick fresh produce in my backyard produces a smile!  And now … one more time I’ll repeat my mantra “If I plant them they will grow!”

My spring flowers are growing beautifully!