Kitchen Garden 2012

We spent all of last Sunday outside preparing our kitchen garden.  Seeing as it was Mother's Day, my girls were more than happy to help. I'm so lucky.

You may remember that we built this garden last Spring and spent a whole Summer growing veggies. It was definitely a great learning experience that the whole family enjoyed. Unfortunately, it didn't do much to encourage our pre-schooler to eat her veggies, but perhaps this year...{yeah, right}

After the growing season last year, we knew we needed to incorporate a much more substantial support system for the tomatoes and beans. I think by the end of last Summer, we had a series of bamboo stakes that were strung up to the wasn't exactly the look I was going for.

This year, we found these very affordable trellises at Lowes. There's just something about cedar in a garden...the smell, the rustic quality...I love it. Speaking of Lowes, have you tried out their pick up service? So good. Order online and it's ready to be picked up at Customer Service in 20 minutes. Perfection. 

Last year we filled this pot with mint and chives. At the end of the season, I put it in the garage for the Winter. It took less than a week to come right back to life. Mint is practically indistructable. Always amazes me. 

We planted some lettuce early in the season and it's just starting to come out. Can't wait for fresh lettuce from the garden. Last year, I remember proudly serving a fresh salad to a guest only to discover a tiny worm in it. And that was after at least 3 washes and several trips through the salad spinner. Needless to say, not my finest moment.

This year we're growing:
three types of lettuce 
two types of tomatoes
green beans
sugar snap peas
yellow summer squash
red peppers
hot peppers

Fingers crossed, we'll be enjoying the fruits of our labor all Summer. 

linking in with:
Met Monday

until next time,

Welcome To My Kitchen Garden

I am thrilled to welcome you to my kitchen garden!

Although we had terrible weather in the forecast for this weekend, we ended up with some nice, long sunny days allowing us to put the finishing touches on the garden and finally get the plants in the ground.

Last we chatted, we had built the raised bed gardens and then the fence. For a recap, click here.

Next we covered the perimeters of the beds with fabric weed stop and then a thin layer of gravel to hold everything in place.

I love the way in turned out! 

And finally it was time to get the plants into the ground - of course, the whole family got in on the fun!

We used a combination of plants and seeds.

In the box furthest to the left, we planted strawberry, blueberry, eggplant and red pepper plants. As well as cucumber and yellow summer squash seeds.

In the back, we have a pot holding the mint and chives - these guys will take over your garden otherwise!

The middle bed is mostly plants - three types of tomatoes, two types of chili's, herbs, as well as radishes.

The bed furthest to the right is mostly seeds - two types of lettuce, arugula, beets, onions and potatoes. 

Our daughter definitely enjoyed planting the seeds the best!

Now the real challenge begins - remembering to water, weed, thin out where needed and of course, harvest in several months. 

We're pretty excited for all the possibilities - wish us luck!

Linking in with Met Monday at BNOTP.

Until next time,

Keepin' the Critters Out

Enough about the indoor remodel for the time being, let's check out what happened outside over the weekend!

Last we left you, Mr. DD had built some lovely raised bed gardens. 
We knew we wanted to do something to keep the critters out, but we weren't sure what.
I'm not crazy about the fencing attached to the boxes themselves, so I suggested a fence surrounding the garden. 
It took some persuading, but in the end Mr. DD was on board.

He started by driving 4 posts into the ground.

Then he attached 2x4's along the bottom and top to create the supports.

Of course, our little helper was keeping all the measurements nice and precise!
Then we ran chicken wire along the inside of the fence, attaching it with the handy staple gun.

Next up came the door.
And more chicken wire.

Until we were all fenced in!
Of course, we had to add some decorative caps to our posts as well.

I may very well have delusions of grandeur with this fence - taking up a lot of space in an already small backyard - but I think it's adding a bit of interest to what has quickly become a barren space.

What do you think?
Too much or just enough?

Future plans include gravel paths between the beds.
And planting; the lettuces are going in this weekend, a bit late, but better than never.

Until next time,

Raised Bed Gardens: A family affair

It was such a lovely day today, that our whole family spent the morning outdoors working on the new raised bed gardens!

There was a bit of work done in advance, in terms of clearing space! But for the most part, this whole project was started around 10am and completed by 1pm!

Further evidence of work done to clear the area!
Have I ever mentioned how overgrown this whole area was when we bought the house?
For a refresher, click here.

Mr. DD started with 6, 2x12 planks of pressure treated wood, and quickly turned them into 2, 4'x5' beds and 1, 4'x4' bed.

Once the frames were constructed, we stapled chicken wire to what will be the underside of the boxes. This should help to keep any little critters from digging under and up into our gardens.

Flipped over and in it's new resting spot.
Our daughter was a big help - as always!

One of my books suggested applying wet newspaper as a first layer. This will ensure nothing grows up from the ground below and also adds a nice composting layer.
(The wetting part is really just to keep the paper in place)

Next, we added 2-3 wheel barrows of soil per bed.
Again, our helper ensured that this would be a smooth process!

Then we added a layer to each box from the composter that I started last summer.
So excited to actually use it after all these months!
To read more about how I am making composting work for me, click here.

Once the compost was tilled in, we added another 1-2 wheel barrows of soil to each box.

Here they are all filled up and looking ready for some plantings!

We left about a 18" between each box for easy access to all sides.

The view from my kitchen!

Future plans include a chicken wire fence surrounding the entire garden.
And of course, doing a bit of planting and growing.

Until next time,

Spring is in the Air

We've been enjoying some ridiculously nice weather here in Chicagoland over the last couple of days. Full days spent outside - playing in the park and in our own backyard. Threw in a wee bit of yard work to balance out all the fun!

I have to say, it really does feel like Spring is on it's way.

Which, of course, just means we better start getting the plans ready for our raised bed gardens.

I picked up some easy reading for while I'm on holiday and a couple of seed packets to get planted just as soon as we get back.

Open to suggestions of reading material for the eager, but novice gardener.
Send them my way, if you have any.

Planter plans are in there as well - Mr. DD got the play-by-play by his Dad last weekend.
Can't wait to get started on those!

I've also made some preliminary plans to remove more of the overgrowth in our backyard - I need as much light as I can get.

Lots more to come on this one!

Until next time,