Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Garden!

In addition to the CSA, I also planted a garden for the first time this year as part of my mission to eat as seasonally and locally as possible.  I didn't plant just one garden, but two.  I thought all I was going to have to do was till it, then throw some seeds in the dirt and then sit back and watch it grow.  WRONG!  The garden is pretty much where I spend all my time.  I'm either working in the garden, going to buy supplies or trying to read up on how to keep my garden alive.  I have a feeling that later in the season I will be spending a lot of time canning/freezing because it is becoming clear that I am going to have an abundant amount of food!  Oh dear...something else to learn about... 

I started with a patch of grass and this is what it looks like now (please excuse the mess of weeds to the right, that belongs to my neighbors).

Garden #1

What is in my garden?  Well, the row farthest to the left is squash (Butternut, pink banana, acorn, patty pan and baby zucchini).  I planted the seeds in the ground about the second week of April.  Behind that row is peppers (Serrano, Thai, purple peppers, yolo wonder, California wonder, jalapeno, habenero, and poblano).  Some are from the student plant sale on campus and the botanical garden sale, and the rest I started growing indoors in March.  There are also eggplants (long purple and black beauty).  The third row is tomatoes.  The ones in the middle I planted from seed.  I bought seeds in February, planted them in little containers and kept them inside until it was warm enough to start hardening them off.  So it's been quite a long process!  And finally, the back row is cucumbers (armenian burpless and lemon) and cilantro.  I read somewhere that cilantro helps to keep insects that like cucumbers away.  I planted all of this from seed too, but started them in the ground and not indoors.  I also have marigolds planted throughout the garden because pests are also supposedly turned off by the marigolds.

In case you were wondering, I got most of my seeds from Farmer D Organics outside of Atlanta.  Shannon and I were in town for a wedding and when I saw it I got really excited and had to stop.  It was a great store with lots of gardening supplies and seeds to pick from!  Most of my seeds are from Botanical Interests, with a few from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  I also got a few random seeds from the farm supply store in town (Griffs).

These are my tomatillas. I started these from seed indoors and I am so excited to watch them grow!

Roma tomatoes that I started indoors from seed.  I'm so proud of how much they have grown!

My tomato plants

Garden #2

This is a portion of garden #2.  The rest of it needs some work before I'm ready to show any pictures.  The part I'm not showing is mostly kale, collards, swiss chard, beets, carrots, lettuce and sugar snap peas.  It is a hot mess of weeds at the moment, so more on that later.  The upper right section of this pictures is spaghetti squash, yellow crookneck squash, baby zucchini and patty pan squash (all planted from seed in April).  The green plants closest to the camera are cauliflower and brussel sprouts (I cheated and bought plants that were already started).  To the right of the brussel sprouts are peppers...lots of different varieties I bought from the horticulture students at Clemson, as well as some of my pepper seedlings.  In the empty patch in the upper left I have some fennel growing, as well as some tomato plants, carrots and radishes (all from seed!)

Cauliflower that is almost ready to be harvested!


One of my pepper seedlings.  Unfortunately, I wrote what kind it is on a stake with non-permanent marker that washed off and I have no idea what is going to come up! 

I also have a patch of watermelon, cantaloupes and honeydew.  This is also not pretty enough to show pictures of quite yet.

These are my gardens!  I hope to give updates throughout the summer, so stay tuned!  If you have any helpful advice on gardening, please feel free to share.


  1. another way to deter bugs is planting african marigolds. They kind of stink which is why bugs don't like them. I read where spraying my plants with soap and water would help but my plants did not like that, so the marigolds worked instead. You just need to plant a lot of them in and around your plants!

    I tried to do a garden this year and I have some tomatoes but I don't have a place yet and at this point it's too late! I hope to make time for fall plants and do a better job.

    It's overwhelming learning how to do all of this, you know? And my grandfather gives me tips but they typically involved pesticide and miracle grow since that's how he's always done it but then I might as well just buy them in the store!

  2. The garden looks great, Amanda! I love garden photos--especially seeing how they change throughout the season. Wow, garden #2 is so lush and green.

    Not sure if you'll get pesky birds pecking at your tomatoes once they start to form, but I was told to cut up nylon stockings and tie them around the tomatoes. For just a few tomatoes it does the trick! (I used old ones, and look for them every time I stop in a thrift store.) If you have a whole row, though, maybe a net will be worth the investment.

    Also, to keep the tomato plants growing "up" and putting life into the main shoot (rather than putting off new shoots and getting totally branched) pinch off the suckers that form at the base of leaves. Just google "tomato suckers" to see what I mean. At the beginning it feels like you're restricting potential plant life, but in the end, it saves you from getting too many small underfed fruit.

    happy gardening!

  3. I started seeds indoors for the first time this year but I haven't moved any of them outside yet. It's great that you got such an early start!

    I've been trying my hand at companion planting too this year. I put onions and leeks in among the broccoli and kale and I'm going to put spinach under the pea/bean trellis (which is cone-shaped and about 5 feet tall) because it will like the dappled shade when the summer really heats up. When the indoor basil gets a little bigger I'll put it near the tomatoes because it will supposedly make them yield more. I'm growing a bunch of sage from seed because it's supposed to help keep some pests away. I bought a beautiful little fennel plant only to learn that you are apparently not supposed to plant it near ANYTHING except young dill. Sigh.

    Anyway, your garden looks great and I can't wait to see updates! Keep us posted with photos.


    1. Thanks for all of the advice! I've got marigolds all around my plants, but that's the first I've heard about planting basil near it. It's too late to start basil from seed I think, but perhaps I will buy some. I'm glad to know about the tomato suckers too. I have a ton of tomato plants! My goal is to can a lot because canned tomatoes are so awful for you (the acid breaks down the chemicals in the lining of the cans, especially BPA).

      I'm really intrigued by the companion planting. I'm thinking about trying it next year when I have a better idea of what I'm doing. Let me know how it goes!

      I had no idea about the fennel...what a bummer! I have some growing next to tomatoes and squash right now....perhaps I should pull it up before it develops any further? I really like fennel but it is so expensive at the grocery store.