garden upgrade

It’s been about a month since my last garden update. I’m learning as I go so in the past month I’ve made some upgrades and conclusions about my two growing spaces. For any newbie gardeners out there, I thought you might enjoy some tips!

Vegetables like consistency in watering. They like the soil to stay moist all of the time.

The the first week or so that I planted my outdoor garden, I found it difficult to regulate how much water they needed and when. I had trouble with over watering in my greenhouse and was scared I’d hurt these new plants too.

As luck would have it, I ran into a display at Lowe’s for a drip system that looked perfect for my problem. It has a timer that I’ve set to 15 minutes in the morning and 15 at night. Lately during these super hot days, I’ve also turned it on at lunch time to combat the major wilting.

The good thing is that the little drippers are direct (as you can see in the photo above) so you know the plant is getting the water. This is unlike watering with a hose where the plant is getting some water but the weeds around it are also getting a ton! I had a LOT of weeds before I put the system in.

The next thing I realized that I needed were some tomato cages. The bamboo pools weren’t tall or strong enough to hold up my flourishing plants. A couple times I came home to a plant bent over a touching the ground. I was like an ER doctor in a life-threatening situation in the way that I moved to jury-rig a taller pole! I saved them both times, thank goodness.

After that, I got the cages and carefully inserted them into the ground. Once the tomatoes start growing I’ll be able to rest the limbs on the levels of the cage so we don’t have anymore close calls.

My biggest plant which happens to be one of the guys that fell over, needed some more stem support so I used twist ties to help it stand a little better. I’ll readjust the ties as the plant keeps growing.

Roary was being a good girl that day so she got to hang out with me outside the fenced-in backyard. This normally doesn’t happen because if a squirrel or a scent is near by she can’t help but bolt. She decided that it was way too hot to stay next to me so she found the only shaded spot and plopped down in the sea of ivy. She’s a prissy lady who doesn’t even like to put her bare bottom on tile floor (only carpet), so this was really funny to us. 🙂 So hardcore like her hound dog sister nowadays.

The last upgrade I did was cover the drip system and surrounding soil in mulch.

I’ve heard that this will help keep the moisture in as well stop the weeds from growing. I don’t know about that though, those weeks are ruthless!

Oh! You can see in the photo about how I rigged up the taller poles, ha.

This is a picture of one of the very, very tall tomato plants in the greenhouse. The LED light has helped their growth but I think it came along a little too late. Because they spent most of their growth searching for the sun, they’ve grown too tall and thin. They are flowering but even the biggest tomato cages are too short for them.

Recently, a landscaper confirmed that we have to take a couple dying trees down in our backyard so I might try again next year with the greenhouse or expand my outdoor garden. For now, I’m going to try my best to keep the greenhouse plants going and see what happens.

My conclusion is that the outdoors plants are doing much better! I was afraid that they wouldn’t get enough sun but obviously they’re doing better than the ones indoors.

Gardening is so fun!

How’s your garden growing? Do you have a link to any photos? I’d love to see!

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my greenhouse gardening

I’ve only grown a ‘garden’ once and that was last year on my back porch. It was one of the many projects that I took on while my husband was deployed. I grew flowers and green onions all from seeds. Almost every day I would check my pots to see if anything had grown. It was lots of fun.

When we were first looking at our current house, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact that there was a greenhouse sitting in the backyard. I imagined tomatoes to the ceiling and luscious whatevers growing everywhere. I could feed my family!

The only thing was, I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to grow vegetables, let alone in a greenhouse. So this past Sunday I started and found some help in the process.

The lady who lived here before us was a gardener. We were told she died of cancer 5 years ago. My father-in-law also died of cancer and so I feel a sort of connection to this house (or her). I’m sympathetic.

You know how some houses can creep you out and some not? Even in it’s current disheveled state, this one is comforting. Maybe it’s the lady, maybe it’s not.

I’m not trying to scare you! Hey, I don’t even go into a ROOM if a scary movie is on and I’m still alive, so just keep reading. 😉

I mean she left me a greenhouse. I’d say that’s my first sign. It’s an 8×10 (I think) with a functioning fan to suck out all the hot air and heater that we need to fix. The previous owners left a lot of stuff in it so I began by clearing out the space while my husband cleaned the outside to let more light in.

before

Ay chihuahua.

Before the planting began, I bought a couple of different organic seeds of vegetables that we frequently eat in the house -> carrots, roma tomatoes, spinach, arugula, peppers, green onions, and zucchini.

The carrots are iffy since they’re a root vegetable but I thought I’d try them anyways. The lady left a huge, deep pot that I thought they might be able to thrive in.

I also lucked out and accidentally bought the bush variety of the zucchini and tomatoes. The vine varieties wouldn’t have worked since they would’ve needed space to spread.

She also helped me a ton by leaving a lot of pots behind. I combined the pots I already had with hers and laid them out on the shelves from largest to smallest. For some reason I thought that made sense.

I then took my seed packets and placed them in the pots to visualize it all. I only needed to buy two more pots to fit everything.

I can’t find the item online, but the soil I used is an organic potting mix from Lowe’s.

I spotted fish tank pebbles in the corner of the shelf and figured I should line the pots with them before I added the soil. I believe it helps drain the water?

Also, I wasn’t sure how high to fill the pots but again the lady helped me out and I saw old dirt lines in a couple of pots to guide me.

Oh and she left me a frying pan in there so I kept it and used it as a pot saucer which I assume is what she had done. Pot saucers help to catch drips and overflow.

My husband had little pieces of scrap wood leftover from a project so I used them to label all the pots.

And no I’m not a magician! I originally had the tomato and pepper seeds in starter pots inside my house so they’ve been growing for a couple weeks.

I planted the arugula in the lady’s crazy pot in the back. I think it’ll work well.

As for the strawberries. They’re an added bonus! I got to work on Tuesday only to find a box of strawberry plants that one of the vets had brought from her own garden. I excitedly scooped up two! I bought an additional two pots and planted them the next day.

I was on such a gardening kick that I moved these EXTREMELY heavy planters to the backyard to make a grouping. They were scattered around the front as well as the side yard. The two larger planters were already filled with soil so I topped them off, filled the smaller one, and then planted flower seeds that I had saved from last year.

I tend to over water so I am resisting the temptation! I know all these plants have a long way to go but hopefully I’ll have a few success stories in the coming months!

I hope the lady would be proud.

Do you have any gardening projects going on this spring?