You Reap What You Sow

May 30, 2017

Any excuse to be outside is a good excuse, so I’ve always been one to find a way to keep myself busy outdoors. I wouldn’t say I was always into gardening, but my mother certainly showed me the ropes and through the seasons I grew to love it. I’ve been a homeowner now since 2001 and since then I have had a garden. Perennial gardens are easy, low maintenance and great for curb appeal, so that’s what I’ve always concentrated on… until this year.

This year my daughter, Claire, came home from school with some seed potatoes and an itch to get them into the ground. For years, I have wanted to start a veggie garden but felt I just didn’t have the right space. When my sweet Claire came home with sparkly eyes about gardening I couldn’t resist. I got started doing some research and figured I did have a pretty good spot after all, just not a very big one.

In my suburban situation raised beds hit the mark. My hubs and I got clicking away finding a good plan so we could buy some lumber and build the boxes. After a few days of back and forth we landed on buying raised bed kits from Sam’s Club instead. (Much much cheaper and much much less effort).

 Claire marking the outline of our deer fence. Claire marking the outline of our deer fence.  Justin helping out eliminating the sod under the beds. Justin helping out eliminating the sod under the beds.  We had to dig out one side to make the three units level. This was maybe the hardest part. We had to dig out one side to make the three units level. This was maybe the hardest part.

After the boxes were constructed I knew I needed to find some good soil. Bloomington has clay soil, and if not amended, doesn’t make for great gardening. I remembered from a couple weeks ago when I had to drop some yard waste off at Good Earth that they had nutrient rich compost. I gave them a call and had 2 1/2 yards of their Garden Blend soil delivered.

Even though I love a hard day of work I can’t say moving soil is at the top of my list. Getting that 2 yards of soil from my driveway into these raised beds took me almost 2 straight hours of work. Whew! I just kept walking back to the pile of soil and trying hard, through squinty eyes, to see it slowly diminish.

When the kiddos got home I was ready for the fun part. ┬áThe kiddos and I ran down to May’s Greenhouse to hand pick our plants. I worked with each of my kids to pick plants that they would tend, harvest and enjoy eating. My son, Sam, picked out carrots and watermelon. Claire went with tomatoes, beans and strawberries. On top of that I couldn’t resist peppers, onions, zucchini, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary.

With the overpopulation of deer in this area I also had to put up a deer fence. Luckily it was light weight, easy to work with and not terrible to look at. I just used garden stakes and a staple gun, and it went up quick and easy. This way I figure I can take it down between seasons without much effort.

The finished garden is just what I hoped and with 5 peppers, 5 tomatoes, 6 beans and a handful of other plants, I look forward to some good production.