the gardening begins!

Last week I was off from work for 4 straight days…can we say “hallelujah!”  The first day was cleaning and laundry day.  I worked overtime both weeks prior to this break and the house had gotten out of control.  And we all know how much a dirty/cluttery house drive me crazy! So, first things first, lots of cleaning.  Next, I decided this was pretty much the only opportunity I would have to get our garden started since we would be crazy busy in April!  We will be out of town 3 weekends for weddings and all my workdays will be during the week. So, if we wanted a garden this year, now was the time to get things going.

I have been putting off going to Lowe’s or Home Depot since the warm weather set in because I knew I would buy way too many plants and flowers!  I LOVE a garden center.  But, I needed to get a raised garden, so I finally gave in.  After doing some research (on Pinterest, of course!) I decided although building a raised bed with pallets would certainly be cheaper, I couldn’t do it on my own.  And Greg was working all the days I was off so I couldn’t expect him to devote his work days to building us a garden. And I couldn’t be sure if the wood on pallets had been treated with any chemicals, which I didn’t want mixing in the soil with all our veggies.  I read on some websites that cedar naturally resists rot, so I figured that was my best bet.  Home Depot sold this one for $80 and it was 4ft x 8ft which fits perfectly in our garden area.

And it was SO EASY to put together.  Seriously, it took all of 10 mins to set up.  The rest of the garden preparations were anything but easy.  First of all, our garden area (which was built by a previous homeowner) had gotten completely overgrown with weeds. It was a total jungle!  Greg and I cleared out one side last week (where the raised bed will go), but today my step-dad came over and helped us clear out the other side, as well as tilled up the ground so we could fill the bed with dirt.  Thank goodness for a motorized tiller.  There’s no way I could have loosened up the ground with a hoe.  So he tilled, and we filled the beds with a mixture of dirt and compost.  It would have been better had it not rained the past 2 days since this made the dirt pretty clumpy, but hopefully it’ll dry out by tomorrow and I can put veggies into the ground.  Here’s some of our work today….

Here’s the view from our back deck looking out towards the garden area.  There’s my sweet step-dad working away!  By the way, today was his birthday, and he still was more than willing to do manual labor to help us with the garden 🙂  Thanks Dwayne!
Here is the side of the garden that had not been weeded at the time (and what the other side looked like prior to last week’s work).  And by the way, I learned what poison ivy looks like today and also learned that we have a lot of it in our yard :/  Luckily, though, we didn’t get it on us, and I sprayed the heck out of it to hopefully kill it all!

And here’s today’s progress on the raised bed…

My mom had some landscaping liner that we laid out under the bed to help keep weeds from growing back up.  We will cover the areas around the bed with gravel to make pathways and help with drainage.  So far I have bought 3 types of large tomatoes, 3 types of cherry tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, strawberries, cucumbers and watermelon plants.  Yep, really hoping that watermelon actaully grows!  Last year I did tomatoes and green bell peppers and they all grew wonderfully!  My strawberries did not do as hot.  The plants grew but didn’t produce any berries. I changed up the way I planted them this year (added rocks for better drainage and planted them in large containers so they’d have more room).  Maybe this year will be better.  Dwayne suggested putting some strawberry plants in the ground just on the other side of the raised bed.  So I may build-up some mounds for them their and see how it goes.
We also did lots of work on the front yard today. Greg trimmed up a ton of wisteria vines that were out of control and taking over some trees. He also mowed the grass and raked up a giant section of mud and leaves that had collected in the driveway all winter.  Lastly, we dug up all the ivy growing around the mailbox (that was also taking over the yard and growing out of control). I would like to plant some flowering plants around the mailbox, cause our front yard is desperately in need of some color.  Seeing everyone’s azaleas in bloom these last few weeks has made me realize how bare our front yard is.  We need some color!!
I didn’t get around to taking pics of the front so I’ll be sure to do that tomorrow and hopefully give an update on the veggie garden.  But I can’t guarantee how much work I’ll do tomorrow. My hands and back are pretty sore from today’s achievements.  I may not be able to move tomorrow!  But I’m happy with our progress 🙂