How Does Your Garden Grow?

I am one proud momma.  My child likes to play with worms.  I couldn’t be happier. 

A few weeks ago, JD and I started working on our garden beds.  When we first moved into our house, our backyard was a jungle.  Really, I mean it.  There was a brick driveway that you couldn't see because of all the weeds and alley access hidden by small trees.  Most of the nasty stuff is gone, but we are still battling years of the previous owner’s failure to maintain the yard.  See original yard here.

This was after we started work
We’ve always wanted to grow our own veggies and we even had a small raised garden at our previous house.  It was very successful in the cucumber and jalapeno pepper department.   We hope to have the same luck this year but with more veggies.

We found a design plan from Pinterest (seriously, what did I do before Pinterest??) and tried to it adapt it for what we wanted.  We loved the look of corrugated metal and cedar and new we wanted a large planter and several of them.

We set out to build planter #1.  It was a bit rough going and the end result wasn’t exactly what we had envisioned.   We wanted it to look rough, but not exactly that rough.

We started one side (sorry for the crick in the neck)

one done, 3 more to go
Cutting the tin was a pain!
not exactly the finished product we had imagined
Planters #2 and #3 were exactly what we wanted and were easier to build than planter #1 (They were easier because we didn't follow the directions from Pinterest).  The most annoying part of building all of the planters was cutting the metal.  We used a ‘saws-all’ type tool and it worked, but it was just a pain in the butt.  If anyone would like to share how to cut metal an easy way, please do!!
2nd one done! much better!
After the planters were built, JD and I had varying opinions on where exactly we wanted them.  Facebook pole time.  Sad to say JD’s idea won (although it was starting to grow on me so I wasn’t too sad to use it).

my idea:  straight in a row along the fence

JD's idea:  staggered.....yes, I know, it's a winner
Once the planters were in place, we I cut metal mesh to fit in the bottom of each planter.  Hopefully, this will keep the gophers and moles away from our veggies.  It looked like I had been in a fight with a rose bush once I was finished.  I had scratches all over my legs and arms.  That metal mesh stuff is one tough cookie (great, now I want a cookie to eat).   

After the metal mesh, we had some large pieces of concrete and large stones we used to fill up the bottom.  Our planters are 2 feet deep, that’s a lot of soil.  Once we had the large rocks/concrete pieces in, we poured in #57 gravel to take up more space and to help with drainage (no moles getting through to my veggies). 

Now time for the soil.  Since we needed several cubic yards of soil (and gravel), we had it delivered to our alley.  Good choice. 

Before we started loading up the garden beds with the filler, we decided to put in worm towers.  We (We?) drilled a lot holes in pvc piping and buried a portion of it in the soil.  The worm tower is supposed to promote worms carrying compost throughout the garden bed.  We put some dirt, wet newspaper, grass clippings and compost into the tower to feed the worms.  

worm towers with a little terra cotta topper

oops box, closest to the bottom
This is when we found out CJ likes worms.  We would show her a worm and then let her put it in the garden bed.   Once the worm wormed (haha I crack myself up) its way down in the dirt,  CJ would ask ‘where’s my worm??’.  So stinking cute.

We now have veggies growing in our back yard:
                  Cherry tomatoes
                  Bell peppers
                  Jalapeno peppers

We are still planning to plant some herbs and maybe a few others.  But right now our beds are pretty full.  We finished off the garden area with some slate and brick edging.  We ran out of room in the beds and had to plant a few plants in pots.

All planted and ready to grow

This is my first time growing a garden this large (don’t laugh at me, this is big for me).  So if anyone has any tips, feel free to shoot them in my direction.

A few months later, here's what I have:

I was a little concerned with the 'black' spots, but was told it was normal. 
Tiny squash!
and now huge and warty {is that normal??}
Bell peppers 
I see an almost ripe cherry tomato

starting to look like a jungle again

view from the garage

1st harvest!  Zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and a couple of jalepenos  


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