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?
You and your pupusas! Never heard of them before IGE… and now I’m on the hunt to find one in Sioux City, IA!! :)
I love my garden, especially this year! I built a super duper raised bed… and it looks so beautiful in my yard! You can see it on my blog, if you click on the link.
Mine has a great trellis built on the back and sides for my peas and cucumbers to grow on. You definitely need your cucumbers to grow up on a tomato cage (works perfectly) or trellis so that they aren’t taking over the garden and that they don’t get too soggy or yellow sitting on the dirt.
How are you gonna get in there to weed and harvest?! :) You have it all caged off! I’m sure there’s a way…
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl 05.07.2012
Veggie garden turned out beautifully! I’m jealous that your farmer’s market is open already – ours? Not until June…
Hi kristin, You Need to Watch Your CUCMBERS or They will take over the garden, I mean the whole garden, or make the garden 4 Times as big. Any Type of vine Plant will take over.
I agree with other comments that you have too much stuff in a small space unless you use VERTICAL space. Get trellises or make a simple teepee out of sticks and string for cucumbers and watermelon to grow UP. Both spread out a LOT so those could take over your entire bed from the looks of it.
Peas are really easy to grow from seed (way cheaper than buying seedlings — same with cucumbers and any squash), but it doesn’t look to me as though you have space. You would DEFINITELY need to grow them on a trellis. They send out “feelers” that grab on to anything. Giving them something to climb not only frees up space but makes harvesting easier, too. Otherwise, pea plants can become a tangled mess. They hate hot weather, too, so I’d skip them this year or get them somewhere shadier.
Also, chives are so simple and can be perennials here in Iowa (ours are on their, oh, 6th year with absolutely no tending and rabbits and deer have left them alone) so I’d suggest transplanting them into your yard now to make space in your raised bed for something else.
I am a new reader who is enjoying your blog very much. But, what does cray, cray mean?
Ryan @ Spicy Richmond 05.07.2012
This is my first year with a raised bed too! All that’s in it at this point is tomatoes but I want to add squash and watermelon and hopefully some peppers. Yay for fresh veggies!
If you have the room for it, making a bigger garden so that you can get a small tiller in between the rows instead of weeding seriously cuts down on my work time…gardening can become your life! If you let it get out of hand, it’s a long day to get it all cleaned up again.
I’m on my 3rd year, and raised my garden this year as well. My favorite things to grow? Green leaf lettuce…perfect to just go pull of what you need for a dinner salad and it grows back fairly quickly so we eat on the plants all summer. Fresh green beans are at the top of my list, I can’t even stomach the canned ones anymore! And they grow and grow all season so you will always have an abundance. Cucumbers are great to eat fresh, but they produce so much that I also make and can pickles to have year round…it’s nice to have jars of them lining the basement walls!
Make sure to trim your tomatoes back so they don’t waste energy growing the leaves instead of the tomatoes…and make sure you have lots of friends who like fresh produce to share the wealth with, I always have way too much for my fiance and I!
Good luck, you’re going to love going out there and picking your crop, its the most rewarding feeling!!
Teresa K. 05.07.2012
My tip to you – lol – is don’t play the horses! (wicked, I am!)
Best of luck on your garden – remember don’t plant anything you don’t like – and do water the heck out of that watermelon (YUM!)
Gorgeous garden! That is one of my spring projects as well… although we are still in the 50’s here so not quite ready! Soon though…very soon. :)
I love gardening! It’s the one area of my life where I feel free to try things and make colossal mistakes! Cause it’ll all be okay! Fresh herbs are awesome. I would also suggest getting parsley, thyme and cilantro if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.
Audrey Daniels 05.07.2012
Hey if you are at the farmer’s market on May 19th stop by the Blank Park Zoo booth! We’d LOVE to meet you! (We will also have some animals to come check out) :)
I’ll have to send you pictures of my raised beds…you might be jealous! Yours looks great!! I have yet to plant most of them, so much rain in NE Iowa recently. I do have tons of volunteer dill and cilantro coming nicely and some freshly planted basil!
Oh, how I miss the downtown Des Moines farmer’s market…such a good one! Good luck with your veggies!
I was like a kid on Christmas when I woke up Saturday and knew I’d be shoving a pupusa in my face for breakfast! Cute garden, but cucumbers and watermelon will take over EVERYTHING, so make sure you have enough room for them to fine out, or add a trellis for the cucs!
I love Duck Races! We have one in my hometown too! Your farmers market looks much more exciting than mine,how did you get the above shots?
And your garden is too cute! I’ve always wanted to do a raised bed but I’m to lazy. I just stick it right in the ground. Great Job!
Jamie K. 05.07.2012
I would love to try one of those Papusas! Too bad the Indy Farmer’s market doesn’t have anything like that! Love your blog and recipes. Thanks :)
Woot! If I could have made one suggestion it would have been to put landscape fabric under that bed, that grass is going to take over in a few years. At any rate, now all you need is a compost bin to put all of those vegetable scraps in so you will have great soil next year too. I saw where someone posted about using wood mulch, that is not a good idea in my opinion, it sucks the nitrogen out of the soil as it decomposes, it would be better to use straw. Also, if you plant marigolds near your tomatoes it will keep the stink bugs away. Good luck.
Just a tip for next year! Since your space is limited, you could consider planting your herbs in pots leaving room for other veggies!
I love gardening! Two tips–drip irrigation & soapy water (to kill the bad bugs). Wait, third tip–mulch! Get the natural wood kind so it’ll break down and compost into your garden over time. I second the tomato cages comment or else run some hog wire down the middle of your bed and plant your twining things near it.
Jennifer C 05.07.2012
Welcome to gardening…once you start you will be doing it forever. It is a very rewarding hobby. We have two raised beds and we are in full growing mode!!
Planning your layout is very important based on plant sizes, height, etc. We never plant creepers in our raised beds (watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, spaghetti squash). The watermelon will take over your bed with the enclosed sides. Plant them separately (maybe out side your fenced yard) once they start growing (and they will spread everywhere) you will not be able to mow the grass around them. Plant the cucumbers at the edge of your bed and have a vertical surface for them to climb. The tomatoes need a good amount of space with cages at one end, make sure their height won’t shade the rest of your garden. The herbs can be planted closer together they won’t take up much space.
It is almost to late to plant kale and spinach (from seed) it is a cold weather vegetable. They are first to plant and first to harvest.
Good Luck and I can’t wait to hear how successful your garden will be!