Practical Gardening

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My front flower bed the first week of June 2018

These days who has time for gardening!  I don’t, but some how I managed to end up with this enjoyable garden.  The important thing is to make gardening practical.  No one expects you to spend your entire weekend gardening.  I try to spend as little time as possible working on my garden and below I tell you how I did it.

Today I am proud of myself for turning my yard into a bit of an oasis.  I moved to this house in February 2018.  It is now The beginning of June and I am enjoying harvesting and eating veggies from my hard work from early after the move.  I have gorgeous cherry tomatoes, carrots, and beets. I have also harvested my first two squash.  They look like a cross between a zucchini and crooked neck.  I have enjoyed fresh cilantro in many meals.  Earlier in the season I was enjoying home-grown lettuce salads, what a treat.

You may be thinking, how did she get a garden going after just moving.  I am wondering the same thing myself.  I had some help from another gardener.  She had a bunch of lettuce and tomato sprouts in cups (red solo cups with holes in the bottom) and offered some to me.  I almost turned them down, but I am glad I accepted them because it forced me into action to keep them from dying.  I had a mostly empty flower bed outside my front door when I moved in, so I decided (since its not in an hoa) to plant the seedlings in there.  I didn’t really do much prep to the area, but I did add a big bag of garden soil to a small section and got the seedlings in the ground.  Once that section was doing so well I decided to buy another bag of soil and worked on another small section of the flower bed.  After 3 bags of soil and lots of seeds later the front flower bed is teaming full of life with lots of edibles.

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Seedling transplants Feb. 2018

How to start your own garden without it being too time-consuming nor expensive.

  • Choose a small area to work with, keeping in mind any obstacles to the plants getting water, sun, and nutrients.
  • Soil.
    garden soil
    • Do you dare just stick seeds in the ground and hope they grow?  You could.  But since I am in AZ and the soil sucks, I decided to go with buying a bag of soil every time I buy groceries.  This gives me time to plan out another spot to work as I finish planting an area.  I usually pay less than $10 per bag of this large bag of soil.
  • Choose which seeds to plant.
    • It is important to know which seeds you can plant for the time of year.  I use a couple of resources:
      • If you happen to live in Maricopa county Arizona, you may like to use this planting calendar from The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.
      • I also signed up for email alerts from The Old Farmers Almanac.  Now I receive an email every two weeks with a list of what to plant in my area over the next two weeks.
    • choose seeds of plants you will actually eat.
      • For example, I do not grow okra because I don’t like okra.
      • Plant and extra seed or two of the veggies you know you love, just in case any of the seeds don’t sprout.
    • Designate a box of some sort for your seeds.
      • Sort them how you would like by season or other.
      • I resort my seeds every couple of weeks as my email alerts arrive.
  • Seeds
    nasturtium seeds
    • seeds are FREE
    • I received free seeds from my local public library.
    • Join a local gardening group online and post a request for some seeds you want.  There are tons of groups like this on Facebook.
    • Use nasturtium seeds near squash plants to avoid squash bugs.
    • Plant marigold seeds throughout your garden to keep many garden insects away.
    • Plant beans and peas with your plants to provide nitrogen to your garden.
  • Transplants.  If you would like to start with transplants like I did, go for it.  Just know it can be difficult to harden off some plants to get them ready for the harsh outdoors.  I prefer seeds because I hate spending a bunch of money on a plant that may die.  Keep it inexpensive if you want by using seeds.
soaker hose system
  • Watering
    • I use a soaker hose.  I started with one big long soaker hose and as I added a new bag of soil then seeds I would reposition the soaker hose to incorporate the newly planted seeds.  One long soaker hose is watering this entire bed.
    • Watering with a soaker hose is water saving and super fast to set up.
      • Cover your soaker hose and garden with composted wood chips after installed.
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March 18, 2018. Notice how you can barely see the soaker hose?
  • Mulch
    • I would recommend adding composted wood chips on top of you newly planted seeds, after the watering is set up.
  • Weeding
    • I spend very little time pulling weeds, but it is a good idea to get rid of any weeds that may choke out any plants you actually want to survive.
  • Fertilizing.
    • Epsom salt can be added every 2 weeks directly to the soil, just follow the instructions on the package.
    • plant beans and peas in with your other seeds to add much-needed nitrogen to the soil.

More to come…

  • Harvesting
  • Saving seeds
  • composting
    compost tumbler
    compost tumbler
    • I want to get this composter someday.  I can hope, right.

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Published by

karenkkj

Whole food Plant-based mom, runner, educator, health coach.

One thought on “Practical Gardening

  1. Beautiful garden! I used to have a raised bed garden when we owned a home. Now, we RV and my husband prefers me not to garden in pots that we would have to move around with us. Someday I hope to have another garden though (on my son’s property). ❤️

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