The Garden Grows: Part Two.

In case you missed part one of our garden project – here you go!

When we last left off, we had ripped out a retaining wall in the backyard, had a lawn half-covered in dirt, I’d bought a bunch of veggies to plant, and I had no idea what I was doing.

Here we are a month later, and while that last part remains the same, the garden is coming along and a few things are actually growing!  Imagine that!  So now I’ll back up and show you what we’ve been up to this past month. 

After all the sod was laid and the rest of the mulch chips were spread, here’s how things looked…

20140508_122230 (640x361)

The mulch and grass still needed to fade/blend together, and the upper retaining wall was just a big dirt pit, but we are tackling this yard renovation in stages.  And let’s remember that this is how it all looked originally… Yikes!

20140502_082907 (640x360)

And now just a few weeks later, here is where we are today!  Can you handle the excitement!?

IMG_4368 (640x427)

We planted our garden on May 10th, so a little less than a month ago.  I did a bit of research on veggie spacing and planting times, and then I decided to just sort of wing it.  Since I had already bought everything ahead of time, I figured I’d just sort of plant it all and see what happens.  Think of this as a what not to do type of post! 

Casey’s mom sent a cute little kid’s gardening set with gloves and tools for Cullen, so he was ready and eager to help. 

IMG_3685 (640x427)

I bought waaaay more tomato plants than anyone could ever need, so I decided to space them out along the back of both boxes.  I did five across in each box, and separated them by variety.  Hopefully we’ll have slicing and cherry tomatoes to pick later this summer!

IMG_3690 (640x427)

Along the front of the boxes, I planted all of the greens.  I wasn’t quite sure on the spacing of these, so I just dug holes and prayed for the best.  So far so good?

IMG_3697 (640x427)

The real question remains – if I don’t kill all the plants, will the dogs?  So far Huey has shown no interest whatsoever, but Indy has been lurking and sniffing.  And this morning I went to check one of my ripened red strawberries and IT WAS GONE.  Just a pulpy stem and extreme gardening sadness left in the pot.  I’m watching him like a hawk now…

IMG_3708 (640x426)

Cullen loved helping, and I hope it is a fun way for him to learn more about food, and hopefully enjoy sampling things as they grow. 

IMG_3714 (640x427)

After our initial planting, the boxes looked like this…  Tomatoes and greens in the left box, and more tomatoes and some swiss chard in the right box (along with empty planting space for future veggies to come!). 

IMG_3720 (640x427)

Beyond the boxes, we also did some strawberries in pots and up on the dirt hill (because I couldn’t think of a better spot and they really needed to be planted!).  I had a few leftover tomato plants that went into pots too.  Oh – and I’m planning to get stakes for all the tomato plants as they grow taller – just haven’t done it yet!

IMG_3731 (426x640)

IMG_3736 (427x640)

Our weather has really warmed up in the past few weeks, and the sun has been hot and wonderful!  We’ve been watering both the garden beds and the sod every night, just to help keep things hydrated and make sure nothing burns out while it’s all still getting established. 

IMG_3740 (640x427)

IMG_3755 (426x640)

And so now, three weeks later, here’s how things are looking back there…  Strawberries are starting to grow, and a few are even turning pink and red (or at least they were…sniff). 

IMG_4364 (640x427)

We have a good number of small green tomatoes growing, which is pretty exciting.  Cullen checks on this pot every day – seems to be his favorite!

IMG_4365 (427x640)

The strawberries up on the wall aren’t doing much.  The plants look fine and aren’t drooped or yellowing or anything, but they also don’t seem to be growing any buds.  They are a different variety from the berries in the pots (that ARE showing buds) so maybe they just bloom later? Fingers crossed!

IMG_4369 (640x427)

I don’t know if you can tell very well in the pictures, but the tomatoes are already significantly taller than they were when they were planted.  We’re starting to see some small green tomatoes and lots of yellow flowers form.  I probably need to get those tomato cages sooner than later!

And while it remains un-pictured, I just planted some summer squash and eggplant in the empty space a few days ago. 

IMG_4371 (640x427)

The swiss chard seems to be very slow growing.  Again, not struggling at all, but not really shooting up either.  Hurry up, greens!

IMG_4373 (640x427)

In the left bed, things are actually looking pretty good!  The day after I initially planted everything, it all wilted and looked terrible, and I was pretty sure it would all die.  Indy running through the beds and trampling it several times definitely didn’t help.  But a little love and extra water has done wonders, and most of it is flourishing now!

IMG_4374 (640x427)

The speckled lettuce all the way to the left is getting much bigger, and Cullen and I have shared a few leaves when we’ve been out playing from time to time.  The other Asian cooking greens and spinach are growing slowly, although nowhere near harvesting yet.  The red lettuce is really starting to perk up, and the kale is shooting up too!

IMG_4377 (640x427)

I know it’s all common sense and shouldn’t be such a surprise, but I can’t believe this stuff is actually growing and looking different every day.  It is so fun to watch it happen, and it’s even better to share it with the family.  I need to do more research on pruning and harvesting, because right now I have no idea when things are ready and how I can encourage ripening, etc.

I’ll be back with part three soon enough.  We just planted herb boxes over the weekend, and we’re hoping to do a big patio paver project in the weekend to come.  My body is sore just thinking about it.

Hurray for summer!  How are your gardens and pots looking so far this year?