Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

by Kimberlee

A  Spring day in Minnesota?

Not at all, right now, in fact.  This Spring has been ghastly!  For months, the weather has been mostly colorless...  OK, rewind.

Last Autumn, I discovered a community garden on the outskirts of our apartment complex.  I visited it several times, hoping someone would be there at some point, but whomever was responsible for it came and went, and I wasn't quite sure if the garden belonged to my complex, or whomever.  But it was a gorgeous little plot of land in the back of an open and unused field here on the edge of town, and I wanted a part of it!

last year's garden

We found out that the patch was, in fact, run by our landlord, so all we had to do was sign up.  My husband got completely on board, and offered to take care of all of the veggies, which is great, as I've been out of the growing stuff market for a while.  I grew up on a small farm in The Country, but lived in New York City, the Hartford since I was 20 years old, and think I've developed something of a Black Thumb over that time.  In that, I managed to kill an aloe plant.  OK, several aloe plants.  And a fern. Several Spider Plants, etc etc.  ANYWAYS, I haven't had my hands in the ground in a while, and wanted to focus on the things that I knew I had a better chance of not killing, like the herbs and flowers.  In any case, my husband studies things meticulously before he does them, and I tend to be much more of a Learn as I Go, so I knew our veggies would be in much better hands.

He set up a pretty nice seedling area in our guest bedroom using a shelf unit and heating/UV lights:

And as you can see, it's doing really well:

We've started on the tomatoes and peppers, as well as my lavender and thyme. 

Minnesota had a really looooonnnggg Winter, like the rest of the country only much, much worse.  So when it finally broke 50 for a few days in a row a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get started on planting the patio.

I had a fairly nice patio going on last year:

And I was even more excited this year, as I was going to do herbs and whatnot.  Of course, after seeding my hanging planters and putting my annual container back out, Winter came back, and it has snowed several times since then!  So I pulled the containers back off the patio and put them into the guest bedroom with their friends.  I've been researching some ways to container garden for the patio, and stumbled upon this AWESOME and low cost space-saver:

How to Turn A Pallet into A Garden

How cool is this?  My patio is tiny, so this would be perfect.

So what this means is that once it gets warm, we're going to have to GO.  We're not late yet, but I'd like to have some time to prepare the dirt!  I hope it warms up soon, for the sake of the veggies & herbs, but also for my sanity!  I hope you all join me as I learn about growing veggies, herbs & flowers.  I also plan on blogging some nice recipes with our crop, herb drying & usage (I want to make soap, sachets, etc) and pretty floral arrangements (maybe make some candles, too).

If you want to know the whole truth, I'm really just trying to impress the cat.


  1. Gardening can be so relaxing or at least that's what I heard!:)) I've never tried, but we'd like to grow some plants too, mostly spices on our terrace!
    Your salad will taste better than ever before with tomatoes and peppers grown by you!

  2. i so hear you on the looooong winter! your seedlings look amazing - I'm definitely jealous of them. :)

  3. That pallet garden is so neat!

  4. Your seedlings look like they are off to a great start!! I'm hopeless at gardening, so I really admire anyone who can keep plants alive (I struggle with the herbs and flowers, too!). How cool that you have a garden plot with your apartment - have fun with it!

  5. I wish you the best of luck. I just moved from Minnesota to California so I'm impressed by how much you're already managing to grow. I'm trying my luck out here but it's imperative now to remember to water things every day because it won't rain here from April to October. It's not natural!

  6. That is really neat- i've seen a lot of different uses for those pallets but never as a garden! I'm glad you found my blog; thank you for entering my giveaway! Good luck!:)

  7. LOVE this post. Yay for gardens...Yay!!!


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