Starting Small

After gaining a better understanding and respect for projects in the yard and the power of the wild side of nature to persevere, I have decided to start focusing my energy on a very small garden in front of our house. This is Zone 8 from my map of the yard.

Here is what I was working with:

Zone 8 Before

The plan is to fill in the top part with Azaleas and leave the bottom for rotating annuals (right now it is going to be mums for the fall).

Progress has been made…

Zone 8

Zone 8

Category : Gardening | Blog

I’m not the only one who enjoys eating from the garden…

I went up to my garden to pick my very first tomato the other day.  It was a tiny grape size heirloom tomato, but I wanted to do something special with the first pick of the season.

Before they were eaten

I was so proud of my tiny little veggie successes!  And the one ripe tomato I picked made a great crostini with goat cheese and basil.

Tomato Crostini

The next day I returned to the garden to pick some more tomatoes only to find that the tops of all of my plants had been eaten.  Further investigation revealed hoof marks in the dirt and to add insult to injury, deer droppings.  The next morning, the suspects were caught red-handed!



I was mad at first, but then I looked at the little babies and who can stay mad at this face for long?

Suspect #2

After looking into solutions and dealing with 100+ temperatures this summer, I have decided that the revamping and completion of Zone 7 will have to wait until next year.  I have learned a lot from my yard this summer and plan to use my newfound knowledge in the future to better ensure gardening success. Tackling some of the other zones in my yard and my lessons learned posts will be coming soon!

Category : Food and Drink | Gardening | Blog

Straight from the Garden!

This year was an experiment in gardening.  I got a late start due to the yard not being ready, working full time, and trying to finish my master’s degree.  The degree is complete and now all my attention has turned to the garden.  This year I was able to plant sugar snap peas, 3 types of tomatoes, 2 types of peppers, carrots, 2 types of basil, mint, oregano, and strawberries.

The magic started in Early April in my basement when I planted seeds for the sugar snap peas and carrots:


A week and a half later little plants began sprouting through the dirt.  A very exciting moment for a plant obsessed person like myself. Fast forward to late May…

…and I have a veggie garden and an herb garden.  The strawberry patch isn’t quite finished yet.

Veggie GardenHerb Garden

OK, so sprouting seeds was really exciting for me.  But yesterday I wandered up the hill before work to check on my plants and made a very exciting discovery!  BABY TOMATOES!!!!

Baby Tomatoes

Each of these tomatoes is about the size of dime right now.

Baby Tomato Macro

Getting up close and personal.

Category : Gardening | Blog

Zone 7 Part II

OK, so the weeding is finished and the first garden bed is in.  Now to add more garden beds.  If you are looking for a good full body strength and endurance exercise, carrying 40 pound bags of dirt uphill over and over is excellent (especially when it is 90 degrees outside).  I now have 3 garden beds built, filled with dirt and planted.  Whew!

Zone 7 Transformation Part II

Category : Gardening | Blog

Zone 7 Transformation Part I

The biggest problem with Zone 7 (and pretty much all of the zones) was the weeds.  It took four weekends of weeding and some very sore muscles (trying doing about a thousand squats in one day) just to get ready for the garden beds.  My favorite weed was the very strong vine with thousands of prickers all over it.  I am very thankful for my pricker proof gardening gloves!  Here is the progress so far (yes, those are ALL weeds in the first photo!):

Zone 7 Transformation Part I

The weeding is complete and the first garden bed is in. Wahoo!

Category : Gardening | Blog

The Plan

Zone 7 is at the top of the hill in our backyard.  I chose this spot for my edible gardening because it gets a lot of sun during the day (great for ripening all kinds of yummy things).  Being a perfectionist, I couldn’t just till the land and start planting.  I needed something more attractive and controlled.  I chose to use raised garden beds to get the look I wanted and it makes the plants and my back happy.  After much debating about what to put around the garden beds to control the weeds and improve the look of things (pavers, pebbles, mulch), I have finally settled on mulch (at least for now).  I decided on mulch because it will be easier on my knees when I am gardening, it is inexpensive (free where I live thanks to a leaf mulching program run by city works), and it is much easier to install.  At the very back of Zone 7, the land goes up suddenly about a foot.  Here I plan to plant phlox that will spill over onto the mulched area.  On either side of Zone 7 there are Azaleas planted by a previous owner.  Behind one of the Azaleas, I have also started composting garden trimmings and kitchen scraps to use in my garden beds next year.

Here is the vision:

Zone 7 Plan

The steps involved in achieving this include:

1. Weeding

2. Assembling garden beds

3. Carrying 40 pound bags of topsoil to the top of the hill to fill the garden beds

4. Mulching around the garden beds

5. Planting the phlox

6. Planting fruits, veggies, and herbs

7. Eating fruits, veggies, and herbs (yum!)

Category : Gardening | Blog

Yikes, I have a Yard!

I have been waiting a long time for a yard where I can garden.  My craving for a place to garden was so strong that my entire balcony at my apartment was covered in plants.  Now those plants are lumped by the side door of our house waiting for me to find a new home for them.

Balcony Leftovers

Needless to say, an equally exciting part about buying a house for me wasn’t just the house – it was the yard!  So I got my yard, not what?

First let me start by saying that nothing has been done to this yard in many years.  We have weeds the size of trees – case in point…

tree weed

Yes, this giant green thing in front of our house is a weed.  Getting that out should be an adventure in and of itself.

OK, so the point is I have been waiting to have a yard for a very long time, I have a million ideas of what I want to do with the yard, I am notorious for starting projects and then getting distracted by the next project before finishing the first, and there is more here than I know what to do with leading to a paralyzing feeling of being overwhelmed every time I start to work on the yard.

Deep breath.

What I need is zones.

Yard Zones

Here is a rough zone plan for my yard (not to scale at all).  So which one is the lucky zone I will tackle first?


Stay tuned for the progress updates for Zone 7.

Category : Gardening | Blog

Flowers Galore!

It seems like everyday there are new surprises waiting for us in our yard.  We put our offer in on our house in the summer and closed in the winter, so spring was the only season we had not seen and it has been wonderful.  Here is a taste…




Bleeding Heart


Category : Gardening | Blog