Gardening 101

This Sunday, after a quick picnic of Maid-Rites and chocolate shakes on a quilt in our backyard, Beau, Cruz, and I got to work planting our very first vegetable garden.  We've talked about a garden for years, yet always seem to let the end of spring/beginning of summer sneak up on us and usually find ourselves having the same conversation about mid-July as we eat our caprese salad with a $3.68 bunch of fresh basil and $2.65 organic tomato from Hy-Vee...
'I wish we would have planted that garden.'

'Wouldn't it be cool to walk out in the backyard and pick our dinner salad?'  

'We'll do it next year, for sure.'  
This was the year for us.  The year we finally decided to stake our claim in the backyard, build our frame, and plant our desirable veggies.  And like about half of life's challenges, this one was way easier than we built up in our heads.  The kind of easy that left us both wondering why we hadn't done this years ago.  
We decided to do two separate raised garden beds, each 4x8 feet with about two feet in between.  We built the frame using inexpensive landscaping timbers from Home Depot, and filled our beds with rich, black soil from one of Beau's co-worker's farms. 

Then came the fun part.  I scored a number of healthy, inexpensive vegetable plants from our greenhouse trip on Saturday, and walked away with a car full of tomatoes, peppers, and fresh herbs.  At $1.29 a plant, I have a feeling our initial bill will pay off this summer.

In our 4x8 beds, we planted nine tomato plants (three rows of three) and four peppers (one row of four) in one bed, and four pepper plants (one row of four) and ten herbs (two rows of five) in the other.  For tomatoes, we went with champions, romas, and cherries; for peppers, we chose bell, banana, jalapeno, chiles, and sweets; and for herbs, we planted lots of basil, cilantro, mint, and lavender. 

As we planted, I realized just why we waited until this summer to make this happen.  I watched Cruz follow us around, plastic shovel in hand, digging his little fingers in the dirt, and realized that having him there to take part in this new little adventure of ours is something I'll remember for years.  You know, that summer when Cruz didn't realize he would get soaked if he walked under the garden hose while watering our plants? 

We had fun.  Cruz pranced around our backyard with garden gloves on, taking his turn digging in the black dirt, and sneaking in a drink or two of our chocolate shakes when we weren't looking.  This summer, I look forward to raising this little project of ours, taking care of it and anxiously awaiting those first few peppers to sprout from their vines.  And like our little garden gnome, it will be so fun to watch it grow, watch it change, and watch it flourish with life all summer long. 

Because after all, if we can manage to keep a human alive for 18 months, we can keep a garden alive...right?!