Our Vegetable (& Fruit) Garden – June 2010


In a continuation of Thursday’s post about our garden, here is a look around our vegetable garden and the fruit trees, plants & bushes we have around our yard.

Our green and red pepper plants are not doing so great and we’re not sure why. The plants each have a pepper but have few yellowish leaves and don’t seem to be growing much. We have one head of romaine lettuce, one brussel sprout plant and lots of grape, cherry, better boy and beef steak tomatoes. (BTW, we’re much happier with the beef steak than the better boy this year. I think this is the last year we’re going to plant better boy.)

The peach tree is doing pretty well. We have some little black spots on our peaches but not the big black mold spots like last year (known as Black Spot, from too much rain.)

I can’t wait for these babies to get ripe!

I’ve been loving the black raspberries this year! I’m looking forward to the bush getting bigger so we can eat more than 1 or 2 berries at a time.

Foreground – flowering yucca in our cactus garden. Background, l-r – vegetable garden, compost bin, peach tree.

I know it’s out of focus but that there is a cute, teeny little watermelon. We have 3 or 4 of these pea size cuties so far.

Jason’s Mexican (key) lime tree is looking good. I wonder if we’ll have enough to make a key lime pie.

Our Vegetable Garden – May 2010


A few weeks ago we had the first “harvest” from our vegetable garden: a handful of tiny, delicious strawberries. This weekend we shared our first small cherry tomato. Isn’t it cute? It was yummy.

The raised vegetable bed with 4 varieties of tomatoes, red peppers, green peppers, brussel sprouts, arugula and romaine.

Baby green pepper:

Better Boy tomato plant:

Looking forward to these in a few weeks! Thanks to our greenhouses, we should have an early crop!

The herb garden:

Raspberry bush:

Peach tree:

Yesterday we bought two blueberry bush stems on clearances at Lowes. Not expecting any harvest this year but I’m looking forward to blueberries in the future!

I forgot to snap a picture of the Key Lime tree Jason bought a few days ago. We’re also considering adding some more fruit trees this year to make a mini orchard – maybe pear and fig. I’m so excited to have all these fruits and vegetables right from our own urban backyard!!

Vegetable Garden – Building a Raised Bed


As I mentioned yesterday, we loosely followed Pioneer Woman’s plans to build a raised vegetable bed. We started out with six 2″x6″ untreated pine boards, 8′ each. (Cedar lasts longer than pine but since we’re not sure if we’ll keep the garden here for the next 10 year, pine will be fine.) We also bought a box of deckmate outdoor screws and a package of 18″ pine stakes.

After sawing two of the boards in half (to 2″x6″x4′), we predrilled holes in each end of the 8′ boards using a simple template. I held the boards together while Jason drilled the screws into place. First level of the frame is built.

We decided where we wanted the bed and then Jason mowed the grass down low in that spot. Next step, pound the stakes into place and screw the frame to the stakes.

The second tier of the walls can be assembles right on top of the first tier, which is now secured to the ground. First, Jason screwed the corners together, then fastened the top tier into each stake. This prevents the boards from warping and bowing. We hope.

PW doesn’t mention doing this but we like to create a barrier between the yard and the new garden soil so the grass (and WEEDS) don’t grow up through. A layer of black trash bags will do the trick.

Next step: DIRT. We bought up all the top soil that the Home Depot had sitting out – 11 cubic feet. I wanted to get at least 16 cu. ft. so we’d have 6″ of fresh soil. To fill in the other 5 cu. ft. we grabbed a few bags of Moo-Nure fertilizer and one bag of Nature’s Helper which “Saves Water / Retains Moisture” (I have no idea what it is.).

Clever bar code placement.

Jason mixing the cow poo in with the top soil and magic water saving stuff.

Here are our greenhouse frames (cold frames) made from old windows. We also have glass windows to set over the top to seal out the cool air. Hopefully the peeling paint is not toxic…

And here are our finished raised vegetable bed.

Vegetable Garden – Planning


It’s our fourth summer at this home and we’re putting the vegetable garden in it’s third location to date. This year we decided to building a raised bed for the first time, 4′ x 8′, roughly following Pioneer Woman’s instructions.

Originally I was thinking of doing a square foot garden – giving us space for 32 plants.

But Jason, my green-thumbed husband, said a square foot is not big enough for some of the things we wanted to grow – especially tomatoes. And we didn’t really need 32 different plants. Plus, we have 2 cold frames made from repurposed windows that we decided to use as greenhouses in the vegetable beds during the early spring months. There’s around 3’x3′.

Here’s the plan we came up with:

We’re starting watermelons, brussel and basil seedlings in the greenhouses for now. The cold frame on the left will be home to: strawberries, red bell peppers and green bell peppers. (We decided not to do chili peppers again this year.) The frame on the right with house: better boy tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, grape roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Between the frames we’re going to try out brussel sprouts for the first time. Along the front of the left frame we’re planting romaine lettuce and along the front of the right frame, arugula.

I’m very excited! We’ve never done strawberries or brussel sprouts or romaine lettuce before. We’re trying sugar baby watermelons this year. Besides this 4’x8′ planter we also have a young peach tree and raspberry bush that we have high hopes for this year.

In case anyone is wondering …

Planted from seed:
sweet basil
sugar baby watermelon
brussel sprouts
romaine lettuce

Purchased plants:
strawberries (pictured above)
red bell peppers
green bell peppers
grape roma tomatoes
cherry tomatoes
beefsteak tomatoes
better boy tomatoes