Homegrown – My Garden

photo 2(I almost bought these for our front door)

The weather has been pretty warm here in Southern California lately. Minus our one weekend of rain, things have been great. With the warm weather and the time change, my husband and I have taken to adding some greenery around our house.

Living in a town home, there aren’t many options for gardening and growing things, but I refuse to let that get the better of me. When we first moved in, I bought an 18 inch metal herb garden starter kit. My husband said I should start small before growing veggies. The herbs took off really well, my basil was out of control. The parsley grew, but really, who uses parsley? And the chives never really did much of anything.

After my success with the herbs, I talked my husband into letting me plant veggies. I really love the idea of being able to eat veggies from my own garden. And to be honest, I really am scared about all the pesticides and growing agents that are used to produce our food. I am not a hardcore eco-nut, I just want to know where my food is coming from and how it was grown. I would also prefer it came from my own yard whenever possible.

All that being said, Jacob and I stared by just buying green bean seeds, squash, and several flower packets. I seriously had to contain myself when we were in Wal Mart, Lowes and Home Depot. Yes my friends, we went to three different stores to find things we wanted for our garden.

One of the biggest things for us, we wanted to find containers that would match our patio and fit the vibe we want to achieve on our patio. We got a few clay pots from Wal Mart, and this real awesome iron holder to stagger the pots and stack them. We also went to Ikea and bought a metal bar that had hooks to hang different size pots on.

(Pretty much these, but not with the hanging portion)

After we made several trips to all the various garden stores, we were finally ready to do our work. I will say I was pretty selfish, I got to do all the actual planting. Jacob basically got to bring everything to the patio, water the plants, and clean up my mess.

I removed my basil from the starter kit and relocated it to a new pot to grow alone in a smaller pot. I then planted squash in a small rectangular pot from the Ikea collection. I wasn’t really sure what was going to take root, this is my first time planting straight from seeds and not from starters. I planted cosmos in a small round pot and added it to our hanging arrangement.

photo 1(1)

Jacob had wanted to also buy a long hanging basket to put flowers in. I really love morning glories. I think there is something so wonderful about a flower that blooms every morning welcoming in the new day, a fresh start each morning. I allowed Jacob to plant these, as he was the on who picked out the container.

photo 2(1)

These photos were taken this week. This is the progress of our little garden. I feel like a child with an science fair exhibit. I go out on the patio every evening after work and check the growth of our new plants. I make sure they have enough water and getting the right amount of sunlight.

Because our first round of plants were doing so well, and my green beans seem to be growing at such a rapid rate, I decided to go back to Lowe’s and get a few larger planters and more seeds.photo 1

I had to think, what was going to be the easiest thing to grow and maintain. I also wanted to make sure I was planting food that we would eat. I don’t want to grow things just for the sake of it.

photo 3

This second trip I decided we needed cilantro, tomatoes, crooked neck squash and zucchini. Because my green beans need a trellis to grow on, I thought the addition of tomatoes would be good. I could plant them all in a shared bed and put up one large trellis for the vines to climb. I will say this, I wasn’t able to find a trellis I liked, so I will need to find one before my tomato seedlings sprout.

photo 4

The other thing I learned from my first planting experience, it is very important what soil you are getting. I make sure to get soil that was nutrient rich and intended for starting veggies. The first time I attempted a garden, in my youth, I think I just did it with top soil, which is what I blame for my inability to grow anything the first time.

So basically from Lowe’s, what I purchased was a large bag of nutrient soil for gardens, two medium sized window boxes, and seeds.

photo 5

When I got home, I set to filling each window box with soil, watering it and then making room for the seeds. I also transplanted my green beans into the larger space.

photo 3(1)

It honestly took me no more than 20 minutes to complete all of the planting that I wanted to get done. But the best part about this, is that this is me time. I know some people talk about running, working out, reading, etc as “me” time. And I do love reading, but planting and gardening is me time. I love being out on my patio with Stella tending my few little plants.

It makes me excited that one day, I will hopefully own a home where I can have a yard and plant more. Maybe be able to have pumpkins, and blueberries, and avocado trees. These are the things I dream of. I want to be able to look out and see my own place to get food.

photo 4(1) photo 5(1)

Stella, of course, enjoyed every minute of it. She got to be out in the fresh air, we played a little fetch, and she watched me get my hands dirty.

I can’t wait to watch my garden grow and use all the vegetables that it produces! I will keep you all posted on how it goes. If any of you have tips or tricks of the trade I would love to hear about them.

M. Saenz
Pocket Owl Press


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