If I Plant It, It Will Grow – Learning as I Grow

Square Foot Garden - Shade Dome

Square Foot Gardening

This is my second year of vegetable/square foot gardening and my garden continues to amaze me. As my garden grows, I continue to learn.

Shade Cover

LettuceThe latest addition to my garden is that space age dome shaped thing.  What in the world is it for??  I will be putting a shade screen cover over it so that I can enjoy lettuce all summer. Lettuce does not do as well in the heat of summer as it is quicker to bolt and will turn bitter tasting.  Without a shade for your lettuce you can kiss all those awesome fresh salads goodbye.  And how sad would that be?!

Living in the Present Moment

Green Snow PeasAnother lesson that can be found in the garden is learning to live in the present moment.  Everything is constantly changing in a garden and if you don’t take a moment to savor moments such as the soft white buds on a snow pea and the peas just beginning to take shape, it will pass you by.  A seasoned gardener knows to pay attention in the here and now, because a few hours later it will not be the same.  A garden is full of reminders that life is transient and you had better enjoy it now.

Growing Vertically

Growing Vertical

This year I’m trying something new in my square foot garden.  I’m growing summer squash vertically.  Yes, you heard correctly!  Not only does it save space in the garden, but it is healthier for the squash as they are not laying on the ground, more prone to disease.

Pictured in the lower right is Nasturtium.  The flowers (once they bloom) are edible as well as the leaves.  I thought how cool and pretty would that be to add edible flowers to my salads.

Some of the Vegetables I’m Growing

Purple Snap Peas

Purple snow peas.  Aren’t they pretty?

Snow Peas

These are the tomatoes I started from seed.  I’m so happy to see they are doing well!  It’s hard to believe all my vegetables started from a tiny seed.

Bush Cucumbers

Bush cucumbers.  The description said they are bush cucumbers and I was thinking great I won’t have to trellis them!  That picture was taken about a week ago and they are quickly getting big.  I’m not so sure they are truly “bush cucumbers”.

Purple Basil


Purple and Green Basil.  I love love love Basil.  Bring on the Pesto!!


I started my Kale inside from seed this year and it has absolutely flourished!  I tried Kale Chips for the first time this year and I have to agree with the majority … they are awesome!

I’m also growing beans, carrots, arugula, swiss chard and radish.

Learning to Live With Rabbits

This year I put up a tall fence around my beds to keep out the rabbits.  Wow … did I have a lot to learn!!  I got up one morning and went outside to look at the garden and to my utter shock and surprise there was a rabbit in the middle of the garden staring back at me!  The rabbit got through a 2 inch opening … if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it!!  And the rabbits in my yard are fat! The rabbit(s) had fun eating all of my Edamame (so sad … I planted these for the first time and they were doing great) “were” being the operative word.  So I waged war against the rabbits.  I put in chicken wire on the lower part all around the fence this past weekend.  Now I know for sure rabbits cannot get through chicken wire.  I came home on Monday and the first thing I saw when I pulled in the driveway was a rabbit staring me down and he/she didn’t look very happy.  Later that evening I discovered that why the rabbit looked so unhappy and why it had tried to dig under my fences.  I was sitting down by the garden and saw some activity in the garden and much to my surprise this is what I discovered – 5 babies.  The mother had made a nest in one of my tomato squares.Tiny Baby Bunny

They are only about 4 inches long and oh so cute.  Maybe I will have to learn to make peace with rabbits; at least little cute babies.

Happy Gardening

If I Plant it, it Will Grow. Now harvesting ….

Now harvesting ….

  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Green Beans
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Arugula

It was hard waiting and being patient to harvest my carrots.  Although, I must admit, I cheated and pulled a couple of them early to see the colors!  Finally, my patience has paid off and I pulled the carrots to discover colors of yellow, purple, white and orange … just beautiful!

My heirloom tomatoes are going crazy!  The Italian heirloom tomatoes are the largest tomatoes I have ever seen and the plant itself grew over 6-1/2 feet tall and had to be topped.  The winner for best flavor goes to the Hungarian Ox Heart tomato and Yugoslavian tomato.  They are big and beefy, very little seeds and a taste that is out of this world.  I have saved the seed and will try my hand at starting them inside for next season – another first for me!  My last count, about 1 month ago tallied 114 tomatoes formed … I’m sure that count is even higher now.

A Learning Process – What I’ve Learned

This is my first vegetable garden, and a learning process. 

  • I’ve learned that I need to thin my beets and carrots better next year so that they grow larger.
  • I’ve learned that I don’t like my lettuce in the middle of the garden and I want to plant it at the edge of the garden shaded by a larger plant.
  • I’ve learned that I love Swiss Chard!  I never tasted Swiss Chard before I planted it and I absolutely love, love, love it!  I’ve sautéed it with garlic, olive oil, lemon and a pinch of red pepper flakes and I’ve made a salad with it … oh soo good!  I’ve dubbed Swiss Chard as my new favorite green!
  • I’ve learned what heirloom seeds are. What are Heirlooms? Seed Savers Exchange defines an heirloom as any garden plant that has a history of being passed down within a family, just like pieces of heirloom jewelry or furniture. Some companies have tried to create definitions based on date, such as anything older than 50 years.
  • I’ve learned that if I soak my seeds they germinate faster! I did two plantings of green bush beans and the first planting I did not soak and they took forever to come up.  The second planting came up in a few days and shot up like jack in the beanstalk! (Of course, I’m sure the warmer soil had much to do with that for my second planting.)
  • I’ve learned that I really don’t want to plant broccoli and cauliflower – they take up too much space and I’d rather enjoy more of some other vegetables.
  • And most important of all, I’ve learned that I love vegetable gardening!

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!