Urban Gardening – Part One

      Last summer, which was right after we got married, I made a partial attempt at growing things on our patio. Mostly herbs given to us by awesome family at our rehearsal dinner, but I also managed to grow some small tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. I had strawberries but they ended up eaten by…something out there. There was so much going on that summer that I decided to take up more serious gardening Next summer. 

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Which is now!

So here is the adventure thus far: In case you haven’t noticed Keith and I live in an apartment. Our gardening space equals: our patio. Unless I get creative, which you know I did. On the ground in front of our back patio is a small-ish area between bushes which grows little to no grass, goes relatively ignored,  and seems to have a knack for accumulating unsightly random trash. Not the prettiest place.

YOINK!

You're welcome, Neighborhood.

You’re welcome, Neighborhood.

What we did:

– headed to Home Depot to acquire 14 cinder blocks (about $1.50 to $2 each) and green spray paint (to make them pretty).

– went to Southern States with the help of awesome Caity Murray’s gift card to us, and bought about four bags of soil, some seeds I didn’t have yet, and a few already-growing plants (lemon balm, strawberry plants, and small onion bulbs).

– I had the lattice from last year and placed it near where I planted the cucumbers.

– I constructed/painted and then filled the garden with soil, including filling several of the cinder block holes to hold small individual plants.

– Next I grabbed an empty notebook and sketched out the garden and started writing down what goes where so I can keep track of/remember where I planted things.

– As I planted each type of seed, I made sure to follow the package directions as far as how much sun they need or how far down to plant them. This garden gets plenty of direct sunlight for at least one third to one half of the day, which I’m happy with.

– The excess soil was used to fill five pots on the patio and one very large container next to the garden. All planting containers and the garden combined, I have the following planted now:

Vegetables – jalapeno peppers, onions, cucumbers, carrots,  asparagus, spinach, kale,  swiss chard, buttercrunch lettuce, green beans

Fruit – strawberries

Herbs –   dill, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, chives, lemon balm, mint

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This has so far been a success EXCEPT for coming out to check on the garden during the first week after planting and seeing that squirrels had dug up half of my seeds.

My feelings about this were surprisingly akin to fury.

I tried sprinkling cayenne pepper over the garden, which *sort of* half worked but not enough to feel worth it, plus after a rain you have to do it all over again.

The second phase of part one involved buying a roll of chicken wire and bending and snipping it into a cage-like form. I didn’t follow any particular diagram for this, I just used a measuring tape, heavy gloves, wire cutters and garden twist ties to construct this, just big enough to tuck inside the cinder blocks. The cage is also supported in the corners and in two places in the middle by those little garden posts you can get to support tomato plants (Cheaply obtained at Lowes).

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garden

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Also added some marigolds.

Also added some marigolds.

Strawberry plant, yet to be covered with bird netting.

Strawberry plant, yet to be covered with bird netting.

Things are already poking out of the ground, coming alive and reaching up towards the sun. There’s something awesome and wholesome and zen about being elbow-deep in the garden, coaxing sleeping things to wake up and become something else. The spiritual implications of this aren’t lost on me. Awesome, awesome awesome.

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2 thoughts on “Urban Gardening – Part One

  1. Beautiful, creative work! Neat job with the chicken wire….and LOVE the last two close-up shots. What a happy marigold!

    • Thanks! That chicken wire thing took waaay too long to figure out. I also heard that some critters and bugs supposedly don’t like marigolds, so I figured since they’re pretty anyway I would just use some to frame the garden. We’ll see!

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