This year is my 3rd season growing food in my beloved little garden. The first season (2020) I remember being so concerned with following the “rules” of gardening; spacing, exact planting dates, pruning every day, watering perfectly. Safe to say it became extremely overwhelming! I did, however, have tomatoes growing well into mid-November (the only crop I managed to grow, mind you.) Last year I had a newborn in March (2021) so my plants were extremely neglected. I didn’t even have time to plant everything I wanted to and ended up with an entire bed full of wildflowers because my daughter dumped the entire packet into the soil.
That was the most amazing part of the whole garden, absolutely gorgeous! I will forever dedicate some part of the land for a cut-flower garden so that I can enjoy blooms all season long.
I still had a good harvest of tomatoes, a few peppers, peas for a couple weeks into summer and some weird cross-bred cucumbers. Even with it being so neglected, the garden thrived. Just goes to show, nature will do whatever it pleases!
Dreaming of a Potager Garden
With the confidence I have gained so far, and massively inspired by a few homesteaders on YouTube (Jess of Roots and Refuge, and Shaye of Elliott Homestead), I decided that this year I would attempt a Potager garden. Essentially, this type of kitchen garden is known for having herbs and flowers interplanted with your vegetables. Each variety of plant works together to improve flavors, add nutrients back into the soil, attract pollinators and repel pests. Not to mention it is stunning to see so much variety and texture within the garden beds! I fell in love at first sight but wasn’t sure how to approach such a beautiful garden layout. To Pinterest I went in search of companion planting charts and inspiration.
Then, one chilly afternoon with coffee in one hand and a pencil and sketchpad in the other, I stepped outside to dream up a plan. Once my sketch was finished, I stalked the weather app, impatiently waiting on the weather to cooperate. And man, did it take its time!
We had a really late season frost this spring that set back our garden plans a few weeks. However, the first warm weekend with no plans finally arrived and my little gardener heart ran immediately to grab soil and all my plants, with my dreamy little sketch in hand! I visited a local nursery this year and I could have spent all day long browsing through all of the varieties of flowers and plants and trees. I will never again shop at Lowe’s (sorry, not sorry though.) The heirloom varieties made my heart sing, and I am anxiously awaiting my first Cherokee Purple tomato to ripen! But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we have to fill the beds!
Filling our Garden Beds
Our garden beds are 2’W x 6’L x 2’H each (3 total, connected in a “u” shape.) Due to soil erosion, they needed to be refilled quite a bit. *This is something I am researching a bit to find a good cover crop solution so hopefully we don’t need to replace so much soil next growing season. I’ll report back with what I decide to try this fall/winter as well as how it works!
In total we used 6 bags of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil per bed (18 total) as well as 1 bag of Timberline Soil Cow Manure & Compost (3 total.) There are many different options for filling your beds on a budget, this is just what we went with this year in order to get our plants in the ground a little quicker!
Plant + Seed Shopping!
This year was the first time I visited a local nursery instead of going to Lowe’s for my plants. Needless to say, I will always go to Westwood Gardens for any plants in the future! Their selection was incredible and included several heirloom varieties I couldn’t wait to try out (Cherokee Purple tomatoes and Purple Beauty bell peppers were the two I grabbed first.)
In total I spent around $60 and got the following plants/seeds:
- Cherokee Purple tomatoes (slicer)
- Sweet Marzano tomatoes (paste)
- Sunrise bumblebee tomatoes (cherry)
- Purple Beauty bell peppers
- 2 sweet basil plants
- 2 English thyme
- 2 packs of marigolds (orange and yellow)
- Dinosaur kale
- Bush beans seeds
- Sugar Daddy Snap Peas seeds
- Zinnia seeds
- chamomile seeds
Into the Soil
After layering all of the dirt and compost into the beds, I laid out all the plants and seed packs to get a visual of where I wanted everything to go. With a little tweaking of the layout finished, I was finally able to sink my hands into the dirt and actually plant the garden!
I had some help from the toddler, though he was more interested in trying to eat the soil than help plant. I may have freaked out a little over the dirt in his mouth…it had cow manure mixed in y’all! Disgusting. And we’re immediately done for the day! Ha-ha.
Enjoying the Garden
Have I already mentioned that you need to put a chair in your garden? If not, go do it. Trust me! There is no better place to relax than kicked back watching the bees, feeling the wind and enjoying the peace and beauty of a little garden.
One of the greatest blessings of the garden is how much adventure and creativity it provides for my children. They love to catch worms, watch the ants, dig around and play in the rocks out here. I love that they find the garden a peaceful fun place also.