Hey y’all! I’m so excited to FINALLY get a chance to start posting on gardening. I’m so pumped about growing a garden this year. I’ve been trying to learn more and more so that I can get a good production, so I guess we’ll see how this year’s garden grows. 🙂 One thing that I’ve learned for SURE though, is that gardening takes time. And effort. And I’m not just talking about spending some time each week in the garden to take care of things (although that’s certainly true), but I’m talking about being patient over the years as you develop a sense of your soil, the sun in your yard, what grows better where, etc. That is not said to discourage anyone, but instead to encourage everyone! Gardening gets better with time!
I live on a small 1/4 acre lot of land in the suburbs with clay for soil. I do not have a lot of space for a garden, but I do have SOME space and that’s all I need. 🙂 Hubby and I have tried all sorts of ways to get vegetables to grow, and we’ve tried different locations in the yard. With little success at any of it, we finally determined we were going to need some raised garden beds. Those can be pretty pricey, but fortunately I have a super handy Hubby who just took some big wooden signs his company had used for advertising (with permission from the boss of course!) and cut them into pieces to make three 4×4 square raised garden beds. We lined the bottoms with that material that allows water to go out but keeps the weeds from growing in (although we still get weeds anyway!), and then filled them with soil. BUT even after all these efforts, we still ended up with next to nothing to show for it.
But we’re not quitters here. No siree! We figured the problem was likely our soil, so we also started a compost pile on another side of our yard (we’ll discuss composting at a future date) and have started adding some compost soil to our garden beds. I can already see that our soil is getting better and better. I’ve also learned that certain things will grow well here and certain things won’t. Corn. We just cannot get corn to grow well. Unless we were going to till up our entire yard, we don’t have the room for corn because you have to grow quite a bit of it in order for it to produce (it has to do a lot of cross-pollinating with other corn, so you need rows and rows). However, we grow bell peppers VERY well. We’ve got a spot in our yard that the peppers seem to just LOVE. In fact, the bell peppers that we planted last spring (2010) finally died just about 2 weeks ago in that big frost that hit the country. We had bell peppers forever! So this year, we’ll pass on the corn (sad) and grow us some more peppers! (Among other things.)
Anyway, the point is Don’t Give Up! We win some, we lose some, but we’re all learning as we go. And speaking of learning, I’ve also learned to listen to those who have already been there! I recently attended a seminar at our local library where a Master Gardener was giving some information on how to grow a vegetable garden in our area (Upper Gulf Coast Region). The sweet lady doing the seminar has been a lifelong gardener in my area and knows what grows well, tips for helping things grow better, certain tricks to use, etc. I came away with some wonderful information that I know will be of great use because it came from someone who knows my area and the different concerns or problems I may face. So if you have a chance, look up your local extension services to see what they have to offer. There may be seminars you can attend, events to participate in, or you can even just call people with your questions (seriously, it’s what they’re there for!). It never hurts to ask!
Anyway, I know that for most of the country there are still a few weeks to go before it’s planting time (although here in Texas I’ve already got some lettuce poppin’ up! Don’t hate me :)), but it’s not too early to be preparing your soil and getting your gardening game plan on. So for the next few weeks, we’re going to be talking about gardening! Woot Woot! I’m so excited!