We finally conquered my raised vegetable garden today! More on that in a sec… :)
First, hi! How was your weekend? This was the first weekend around here that really felt like summer, and I spent most of it outdoors, twirling in the sunshine.
Starting with attending opening day of the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning with my Mom. It was a ZOO with 40,000+ people visiting more than 250 vendors, but I feel like this officially kicks off summer!
Local farmers are about 6 weeks ahead of schedule because of the incredibly warm spring we’ve had, so there was a cornucopia of brightly colored flowers and produce to choose from.
Plus, Pupusas to eat! :D
Oh sweet, sweet pupusa – it’s been way too long!
These babies are a Farmer’s Market favorite, and are thick, hand-formed corn tortillas (more like pancakes they are so thick,) sandwiching fresh spinach and massive amounts of gooey cheese. They’re cooked ’til crispy on a griddle, then topped with crunchy slaw, and fresh salsa. Cray cray.
My Mom and I split a pupusa every time we come to the market, but this was the first time we have ever completely demolished the entire thing. Cough.
I walked away from the market with more than a full stomach, as I stocked up on seedlings for the aforementioned vegetable garden: basil, chives, cucumbers, kale, sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, and celebrity tomatoes. (Plus a few other plants I got from the store today that I am THIS EXCITED ABOUT.)
After the market, I dropped my Mom off, then picked up Ben to head to the YESS Duck Derby.
Thank you x1,000,000 to those of you who donated – they ended up crushing their goal!!!
The event was packed with families, but Ben and I still had fun walking around, listening to the live bands, and watching as 38,000 rubber duckies were dumped into a pond to “race” to the finish line.
None of our ducks won, and as a result we are not $10,000 richer (damn), but it was all for a great cause. :)
It was a hot & sticky afternoon, so after the duck derby Ben and I walked to a nearby bar to watch the Kentucky Derby on an outdoor patio with an icy cold beverage. I swear you could have heard the crowd cheering for Dullahan (the horse from Iowa) all the way in Kentucky. Another 100 yards and he totally could have won! Although, 3rd place isn’t too shabby either. ;)
Today my Mom and I got down with our inner gardeners, or rather, I channeled hers as I can’t keep a fake flower alive, and constructed a raised vegetable garden!
I’ve been wanting a vegetable garden for years, and finally decided this was the summer to do it. I’m hoooorrible at keeping flowers alive, but something tells me I’ll be better at vegetable gardening because you can really see and eat the fruits (pun intended) of your labor, ya’ know?
I’m planning on sharing all the steps tomorrow, but basically we built a frame, lined it with newspapers, filled it with dirt, then planted the seedlings.
In a few week’s time Ben and I shall be dining on home-grown cucumbers, tomatoes, chives, basil, kale, brussels sprouts (can hardly contain my excitement) and WATERMELON (OMG I cannot friggin’ wait to see if they turn out!) I also left room to add spinach, peas, and parsley to the garden. Just gotta find some seedlings first.
One thing that surprised me about the whole process was how hard gardening is (well, at least the initial setup). My Mom and I were sweating like little piglets as we hauled dirt, dug holes, and pushed in stakes. Definitely counting today as a workout day.
After getting mud caked from the tips of my toes, to the tops of my eyebrows, and even on my lips (how?!), I am now showered and resting uncomfortably on the couch. My arms and abs are already sore!
Ben’s got something simmering on the stove for dinner. He won’t let me look, and made me turn my head when he came in with the groceries. What is this boy up to, I wonder? ;)
Have a great night, everyone!
Do you enjoy gardening? Any tips for a rookie like me?
Watch out for those watermelon, they LOVE to travel!
You might want to do some research on peas and watermelon because they will not fit in that little area. The watermelon will take over your yard!
Anne Weber-Falk 05.07.2012
Oh I was just going to write the same thing! Watermelon needs room to spread. The peas and cucs can climb a trelis but that watermelon has legs.
we actually just planted ours this weekend as well! Tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, spinach, green beans, and zucchini. Had to get my snap peas back from my mom to plant, then I’m going to plant cucumbers after June 1st!
I agree with other posters, your bed’s too small for the watermelons, they’ll choke everything out. And, you don’t needs seedlings for anything else you’re planning to plant, just seeds!
Linda Kidd 05.07.2012
All I can say is she is just like your grandfather! A natural with a hammer or drill!
Iowa Girl Eats 05.07.2012
I have! What recipe did you use – I’d love to make it again!
A heavy application of straw between your rows will help keep weeds down. I like to use this method versus a herbicide. Your garden looks great! I started mine yesterday as well! My favorite part of gardening is the “Harvest party” with friends/family and making a meal from all of the fresh produce. Any reason to get together, right?
I’m not into gardening at all, but I’m editing a gardening book at the moment :)
Your veggie patch is adorable!
I have always wanted to garden but I have such a brown thumb, I figured I wouldn’t try. Your raised garden looks great. Hope your dinner was a great surprise. :)
your planter is big enough for just the watermelon and cucumber alone, those two should be moved or they wont grow well since they don’t have enough room! and get a cage for your tomatoes. everything else looks good :)
Planting a garden is so much fun! Good luck with it :)
Lauren @ Sassy Molassy 05.06.2012
Yeah that reminds me I need to get on the ball with my vegetable garden. I weeded it a few weekends ago. time to get to planting! Nice work.
Your garden looks amazing, Kristin! You and your mom are a formidable team. You’ve totally inspired me—when I have more space I’m 100% starting a garden.
And I would totally count your garden-building as a workout too. All that digging, lifting, etc.? Absolutely!
Greg Hankins 05.06.2012
We live in Cedar Falls, but try to get down to Des Moines for the farmers market once a month. We were there Saturday, and I had the pupusas – my favorite breakfast item. Did you see the lady mixing the masa in the big vat behind the scenes?
I agree with the earlier comment re: the watermelons. The vines are too vigorous for a small space, and they will take over completely.
Hurray for farmer’s market season, both because I love hitting them up myself and because I love to see your pics! Also love your adventures with Iowa Mom, your relationship is so similar to mine & my mom’s. :)
Gardening is super fun, definitely a workout, but oh so worth it!
those pupusas look delicious! can’t wait to see how your garden turns out. :)
What a fabulous day! Your garden looks perfect…I’m in awe that you and your mom did that in one afternoon!
Love your gardening bed, I made my second bed this weekend. I can’t wait to fill it up! Farmer’s Market season is my FAVE time of year in the Midwest!
Excited that you are getting into gardening! You will never want to buy a grocery store tomato again. I found that once I got into home cooking, I soon realized growing my own veggies was the way to go, and it opened up a wonderful world of reconnecting to the earth and where my food comes from. Before you know it, you will be wondering about composting, cold frames, starting plants from seeds in the late winter . . . it is a wonderful world, gardening!
I also recommend just buying a packet of pea seeds and plunking them in the soil. They will need a trellis but they are super easy to do. So will your cukes – need a trellis. You can also grow watermelon vertically on a trellis too! Another tip – I wouldn’t worry about spraying for weeds. I have found with my raised beds that weeds are not too big of a problem as long as I pluck them out when they are small. Just spend a few minutes every day watering when it is hot/dry, hand picking weeds, and you will be amazed at how your plants know what to do. Oh, and don’t feel bad if something doesn’t grow like you want – there is always next year. And don’t go too crazy with the number of plants you want to grow your first year, like I did. It can get overwhelming!
I gardened today and am beat as well – it is a wonderful way to work exercise into a daily routine.
Shauna Dieter 05.06.2012
I love gardening, my mom taught me a bunch – two tips:
1. Pinch your basil off at the top most leaves and it will grow in to TWO shoots! Do it again a few weeks and you’ll have 4 shoots! Otherwise you will get one spindly shoot and no basil!!! :(
2. Pinch the “suckers” off your tomato plants, this is where the plant grows two shoots and in between the shoots tiny leaves grow. Pinch off these leaves. This will make your plants make more tomatoes since its not wasting energy on shoots.
great tips! I
Iowa Girl Eats 05.07.2012
Love this – thanks!
Love your blog! As along time veggie gardener here near Washington, DC, i will share my pea growing secret. You don’t need seedlings. Just get pea seeds, which look like dried peas. Soak them for a few hours and then plant them. They can grow on the fence you put up around your raised bed. Peas are so easy and they are quite vigorous from seed, just remember to soak them! Cheers! Beth