Inch by Inch, Row by Row

by Angela on June 9, 2011

…gonna make my garden grow.  All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.

That was a song I learned during childhood, and it still sometimes haunts me when I’m “gardening.”  You see, my thumb is about as green as coffee.  Oh, what’s that?  Coffee is brown?  Yes, exactly!  I have a brown thumb.  This brown thumb could kill a cactus with minimal effort.  So where the song makes gardening seem so easy with a rake, a hoe and a piece of fertile ground, I have to laugh because it’s not so easy for me.  So it was quite surprising to the hubby and to myself when I decided to try and grow some herbs and vegetables this year.

I didn’t go all out and dig up a garden in our yard.  Where we live, yard space is a precious commodity, so I wasn’t ready to give up part of the yard for a garden that may or may not survive my wrath.  Instead, I decided on a potted garden on our deck.

I started this whole experiment (some may call gardening a hobby, but it’s most definitely an experiment for me!) about 2 weeks ago.  I hit our local Home Depot and scouted out their herb section.  There was this great starter kit with 4 nice little pots in a planter.  The packaging mentioned something about “everything you need to start your own herb garden.”  This apparently includes cow patties.

garden soil patties  

Oh, I kid.  These were actually soil patties that, once you add water, PRESTO:

garden soil patties broken down

So day 1 of my herb garden looked like this:

garden herb planter day 1

From left to right, we have parsley, cilantro, chives and oregano.

But I didn’t stop there!  I love home grown tomatoes.  They just taste so much better than store bought tomatoes.  And my mother-in-law is always giving me “extras” from her garden, and I even had a friend give me some from her topsy turvey because it was just overflowing with tomatoes.  So I thought to myself, “Self, if tomatoes are so easy to grow, then maybe you should give it a try.”  So here is my tomato plant on day 1.

garden tomato plant day 1

And since the kids were excited about my experiment, they picked out a strawberry plant…

garden strawberry day 1

…which we bought with a little bit of a head start.

garden strawberry closeup day 1   

So, the usual culprit of me killing plants is pretty simple…I forget to water them.  I just don’t think about them and by the time I remember to water them, it’s usually too late.  My mother-in-law has rescued a few from me before and I’ll go to her house a few months later and she would have already taken my same, dying plant and transplanted it into THREE huge pots because it got so big.  But this time, I knew I was going to be writing about it, which holds me accountable for the love and care of these plants and I’m happy to report that so far none have bit the dust.  In fact, check out what I have growing on my tomato plant:

garden tomato closeup day 21

It’s an actual tomato!  No photoshopping, no stock photo, this thing can be seen live and in the flesh on my deck.  And the strawberry plant isn’t looking too shabby either.

garden strawberry closeup day 21

And here are my herbs:

garden herbs day 21  

The oregano is on the wimpy side, but the parsley and cilantro are lookin’ good.  The chives are still iffy, but I’m not giving up!

What’s great about this experiment, is I could, in the near future, be saving money on tomatoes, strawberries and herbs.  But also, I know what I’m feeding my family by growing my own food…no chemicals or pesticides.  If this experiment is a success, I just may have to give up a patch of my yard to grow even more vegetables. 

What do you have growing in your yard or in pots?  Any advice for the inexperienced gardener?

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Amy Brich June 10, 2011 at 11:07 am

I just love home grown vegetables so much more! Scott is the gardener in the family and we have a couple huge gardens. If you need any help or have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. I do know he waters the plants ALOT though! Sometimes twice a day in this heat. Good-luck.

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