I would say my gardening prowess is best defined by my ability to spend money at Home Depot. I have never considered myself to have a green thumb, and have viewed lawn and garden care as my husband’s domain.
Last year, when I decided to get more frugal, I got interested in growing our own vegetables. Armed with all the knowledge the internets could provide, I jumped in by planting a square foot garden on the side of our house.
This year, I wanted to expand our garden but still was stuck with the problem of too much shade. One day, as I glanced outside our side entrance I realized we had a bed that got pretty good sun. As I stared at it mid-day, I was convinced it was the perfect location for another square foot garden.
With the passion of a person who likes to bite off more than she can chew, I began to rip out the plants in this bed and prep the space for my new vegetable garden. I decided the bed needed to be raised because there is a half wall on the back edge of the bed and I wanted to increase opportunity for maximum sun exposure.
I built another frame, spent more money at Home Depot, and after a few weekends, voila! Another square foot garden bed for veggies!
I filled the bed with lettuce seeds on the left (where it still looks bare), bell pepper plants in the middle, and basil, cilantro, and peppermint on the right.
I love starting with a plant because it is so much easier than seeds. More on that later…
Of course, after building this bed and paying more attention to the sun it received, I realized it was still less than the optimal 6 — it really gets closer to 4 hours.
I didn’t plant any tomato plants in it because I didn’t think they would do well with the lesser sun. But then, one day, as I was staring at the back of our house, I realized right off of our back steps gets pretty decent sun. We don’t really have any bed set up there and the ground isn’t level, but I saw how well my planter was doing and I got to thinking…
I figured I could do some kind of smaller container garden and get a couple of tomato plants in it, but what to use? I didn’t want to spend any more money at the Home Depot, so I looked around the yard for something I could re-purpose and looky what I found!
We have an old rusted out wheelbarrow that had fallen apart and was just languishing. It has holes from where it was screwed into its base, so I thought… perfect!
So… I put some gravel in the bottom for drainage, then top soil and fertilizer and voila!
A redneck container garden!
You may be wondering.. what about the SFG bed from last year? I have to say, it is in pretty sad disarray.
At one end, hubs transplanted some brussel sprouts into. They seem to have taken hold, but are an unruly mess and I have no idea if they will produce.
In the middle, I planted some jalapeno plants. They’re still small, but I have hope they will do well.
At the far right (and not pictured), I planted more lettuce seeds. I was hoping to experiment and see which bed did better at growing lettuce.
I turns out I’ll never know, because it seems squirrels or somebody must have planted something in my bed because I kept finding it dug up. The only greenery to pop up in that end have been weeds.
I also bought some zucchini and cucumber plants for the hubs. I expected him to plant them in his garden, but it never got tilled, so the plants just sat around. I didn’t want to put them in my beds because I know they spread. So finally, just to get them in the ground somewhere, I planted them in some soil against our wall. The dirt looks pretty dark and I was really just putting them in as a holding place.
So… after a few weeks, how’s the garden doing, you ask?
Bed #1 — in the side yard by our backdoor seems to be doing mostly great!
The peppers and herbs are going gangbusters. I also put in a dill plant and a cherry tomato plant a neighbor gave me.
Here’s some close-ups:
Bell Pepper close-up
Cherry tomato plant
Then there is the lettuce. Frankly, I have no idea what in here is lettuce and what is weed. I keep picking out the obvious maple trees but am letting the rest develops.
A few days later, look at the blooms on my zukes!
Also, my tomatoes in my redneck container plant are also thriving. I swear they seem to reach a new ring on their cages every other day.
Just how redneck is it to use a wheelbarrow as a container garden? Probably not terribly, but when you consider what I had to do to keep my cages from falling over (I don’t have enough depth for the cages to dig in)… lets just say I don’t expect this plot to win any garden club awards.
I had to tie them to what is supposed to be a lovely hanging planter.
But look at what’s growing! I already have the beginnings of one cherry tomato!
I love watering the beds in the morning and listening — I swear I can hear stuff growing.
I will try and remember to take some more pictures as our bounty hopefully starts to fill in.
How is your garden growing?