Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gardening: The Urban Farmer

My husband has a bit of a green thumb. Okay, he's slightly obsessed with urban farming! I know, I know! It's all the rave! However, being that our "nest" is part of this blog title, I can write about our budding farm, right??

This is what our garden looked like during Year 1 (3 years ago):
We grew some herbs...

We had a tomato plant...

We grew one eggplant...

Some flowers...

We grew a lot of lettuce that year...

We had a pond...

We grew about 30 green beans

Being our first attempt at gardening, we were pretty pumped! But with each Spring, my husband has managed to improve his gardening skills. Three years later...

Our snap pea plants have prevented me from buying them at the store for weeks!

 Our Italian green beans started from seed and are now huge!

(Yes, they're over 7 feet high... and growing!)

 Our tomato plants in April...
Our tomato plants now! (They are soon going to tower over my 6'4" husband!)

 Our squash plants...
 A ripe beet...

 (From the left, clockwise) Our watermelons, tomatoes, cantaloupes, peppers, cucumbers, jalapeƱos, eggplants, more peppers, spicy basil and other herbs)

From this year alone, we've been able to collect quite the harvest! Here's some of what we've picked:

Carrots and Squash


More squash, cucumbers and purple Italian green beans

Here are a few of my hubby's harvest yummies:
Some roasted beets (with roasted beet leaves)...

Wild arugula atop prosciutto and peas...

Canned spicy carrots!

This is just the beginning of this year's bounty! Has it always been a cost-effective way of buying produce. No way! Is it time-consuming? Heck yes! 
But my husband loves it and we can rest-assured knowing where our produce is coming from! (Plus it tastes better!)

Thinking of starting a garden of your own? 
Rule number 1: Be patient! 
It's taken my husband three years to learn from his mistakes and improve his gardening knowledge. Each Spring he keeps a record of his learnings for the next year, and each year he's gotten better!

Rule number 2: Have a plan!
Don't plant too much your first year. When planting something, consider the light source throughout the day, how big the plant will get (including whether it will cast shade over those around it), and research any ailments the plants are likely to get (so you know what to look for).

Rule number 3: Put in the time!
Gardens require a LOT of attention! Be ready to put in time 3-4 days a week (between gardening, feeding, pruning and weeding.)

Rule number 4: Buy plant food and fertilizer!
Yes, you need them. Yes, they will improve the quality of your plants. Yes, you need them!

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