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Green Chair, Black Thumbs

Guess what we did last weekend?

Giant Adirondack Chair

Hint:  It does not involve buying/building/painting/refinishing/refurbishing or otherwise concocting some type of giant, lime-green adirondack chair.

It does, however, involve me, the hubs, and a visit to a plant nursery – three things that have never before come together in the history of existence.

My thumbs are so black, I used to believe that a greenhouse would implode if I walked within 10 feet of one.

My thumbs are so black, plants usually commit suicide around me.  (Who said that?  Carrie Bradshaw?  It doesn’t count if she’s not a real person.)

Yo’ mama’s so fat… okay, we won’t go there.

The point is, I visited a nursery last weekend for the first time since the $100 worth of shrubs (count ’em – five shrubs) I bought when we first moved in shriveled up and died in a way that eerily resembled the way the knight died at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was bad.

But let me start at the beginning.  I got it in my head about a year ago that we needed to build a raised vegetable garden in our back yard (it gets the most sun).  I tried growing some herbs and bell peppers in pots on our deck last year, and they did surprisingly well until our dogs knocked them over and enjoyed most of the “fruits of my labor,” so to speak.

And after I read the how-to instructions on Pioneer Woman’s site, I just knew we could do this ourselves (build the bed, that is – I have no idea whether the plants will actually live).  The project involved wood and tools, so the hubs was all over this one.

Building a Raised Bed

(If you’re noticing the shirt, yes, I married a geek.  But he’s the hot brand of geek so it’s okay.)

There was a bit of cutting, digging, and drilling involved.

Building a Raised Bed

Mara was exhausted.

Exhausted Puppy

But in the end (~$60 worth of pine and $140 worth of soil – you can see, our yard is all sand so we couldn’t use that), we had a real beauty of a raised bed.  Bow-chica-wow-wow.

Raised Vegetable Bed

It was strategically located near our fugly-but-cheap rain barrel.

Rain Barrel

Next, it was time for a visit to Big Bloomer’s Flower Farm for some expert advice in plant-purchasing and a rest in the giant adirondack chair.

Big Bloomer's Flower Farm

They had row upon row upon row…

Big Bloomer's Flower Farm

…of verdant goodness.

Big Bloomer's Flower Farm

Now if only I can keep it that way.

We ended up buying way too many plants for our 4′ x 8′ bed.  I decided to go with a mixed garden of flowers, vegetables and herbs.  The resulting purchase was something like this:

  • Beans
  • Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Iceberg Lettuce (purchased elsewhere)
  • Romaine Lettuce (purchased elsewhere)
  • Arugula (purchased elsewhere)
  • Rhubarb*
  • Leeks
  • Cucumber
  • Nasturdium (flower)
  • Alyssum (flower)
  • Marigolds (flower)
  • Zinnias (flower)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano

*The rhubarb is being grown in a separate pot out of the dogs’ reach.  Rhubarb is poisonous to dogs, so take precautions and make sure you consult a toxic plant list for canines if you grow your own garden in a yard with dogs!

Quite an impressive list, eh?  We also had some squash and cantalope that we ended up planting elsewhere in the yard because it absolutely didn’t fit in the garden.  We’re going to plant the sunflower seeds somewhere else as well.

We laid everything out to see how it would fit before we planted  (the magic marker was used to mark the edges of the bed in 1′ increments).

Arranging Plants in Raised Bed

IF (and that’s a huge “if”) everything grows as it should, our little bed will be extremely crowded.  But for now it looks like this:

Planting a Raised Vegetable Bed

So now we just water and wait, right?  A friend who actually knows how to garden told me I need to give the plants food.  I thought all they needed was water…?  Ha.  I will probably look for some plant food today during my lunch break.

Can you imagine the face of the guy at McDonald’s when I walk up and ask for some plant food?

It’ll be a hoot.

So I guess we’ll see if our visit to Big Bloomer’s was worth it.  Maybe adding more fresh veggies to my diet will make my own bloomers a bit smaller.  (Was that joke too obvious?  It’s okay… you can tell me.)

Giant Adirondack Chair

I’ll admit that it was the giant adirondack chair that lured us to this particular plant nursery.  How could we resist?

*See this post for even more details about our small garden.

Katie

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Comments

Erin @ Domestic Adventure
Reply

I’m with you on the black thumb thing! Can’t wait to see how your plants do. I’ve been trying to decide if I have the motivation and attention span to plant some vegetables this year!

Kate
Reply

Hey, Erin! You could always start with just a small container garden. I had a rectangular pot of herbs last year (basil, parsley, rosemary and sage), and a small pot with a bell pepper plant. I needed that “tester set” to see if I could even successfully get something to grow before I committed to an entire garden. I don’t know, though. I have such a short attention span, I’m a little nervous I won’t put in the work this one requires! (Fortunately, using a raised bed should help minimize the weeds.)

Leslie
Reply

I <3 Big Bloomers!

tammy
Reply

Kate – first off thanks so much for offering your help to me. It is nice to see more military people moving into Sanford..we were it for such a long time. :)

Now to your gardeing..wow you jumped right in. I was at Big Bloomers today. I got lots of flowers. I did pick up two different types of tomatoes- cherry and big ones. I usually do a veggie garden but with hubby in Afghanistan I figured I’d mark that one off the list this time around.

Love the blog..keep writing so I can keep reading. Might have to get together one day. I have a nice new young air force family that moved in next door. yeah..bring on the military.

tammy

Kate
Reply

Thanks, Tammy! I’m not nearly as crafty as you. (I’m lucky if I can figure out how to sew a button.) I’m not quite as far north as Sanford, but that’s what my address says so I’m sticking to it. Your home is absolutely beautiful, but I can definitely see the draw to Southern Pines. I’m glad you and your family made it home safe from Texas, and hopefully your hubby doesn’t have too much left of his deployment. Four kids?? I don’t know how you do it!

Laurel
Reply

This year is our first garden too – and I’m trying to get all the info I can. Yours is looking great, keep us updated, please.

Kate
Reply

Thanks! I plan on giving more info about mine soon – as soon as we determine whether the plants are going to make it through their first week. :) There actually was a method to our madness while planting, and a reason we didn’t plant in nice, neat straight rows. We’ll see if it works!

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