Growing up my family always had a large garden. We planted everything imaginable - peas, green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, onions, lettuce, and plenty more. My sister and I always helped our mom and dad work in the garden each spring. My dad would plow the garden and make rows and then give my sister and me some seeds, along with a stick that he'd cut off to be the exact length that we needed between each seed. That was our job - planting the seeds. We complained a bit, but it was sure worth it when harvesting time came and we had fresh veggies on the table.
I first started gardening on my own two years ago. My dad made me two 4'x4' raised garden beds for my birthday and that was the start of it all. That summer I later added two additional 4'x4' beds and then more after that. I've been adding more each growing season and have plans for a few others this season or next. My garden currently looks like this:
In it I have planted two different kinds of peppers (jalapenos and California Wonders), three different kinds of tomatoes (Roma, Cherry, and Jubilee), two different varieties of lettuce (salad bowl and Grand Rapids), spinach, yellow squash and zucchini squash, peas, cucumbers, okra, cantaloupe, radishes, beets, watermelon and green beans.
These two beds are 12 feet by 4 1/2 feet and in them I have Blue Lake String beans planted. They are doing very good and are beginning to show blooms.
I only recently added this next bed. It is a 6 foot square bed, and I planted watermelons in it. Next spring I plan on planting my lettuce and spinach there. This bed is in the shadiest spot, and I'm thinking the shade will keep my lettuce and spinach from wilting so badly in this hot southern sun.
This photo shows my garden on the other side. These are my oldest beds.
Here are my peas and some zucchini. The peas have done excellently this year, which they haven't done in the past. I think I'll get one more harvest from them. Then I plan on digging them up and planting additional squash and okra. Next year I'll make more rows of peas. This year I only did four.
This photo shows squash, cukes, and okra with lettuce in the back. I'll have individual photos of everything further down.
This is a recent addition to my garden. I made a walkway around our storage building and added a few beds here. The kids and I also planted a few things in some pots I had growing dust. You can see these up against the building.
This photo shows some of my squash, which is about ready to give me my first squash of the season, with my compost pile and tomatoes and green peppers in the back.
This is simply a shot of this area of my garden as seen from a distance.
This shows the other end of my garden as seen from a distance too.
Another angle - from the side.
This is zucchini in the front with peas in the back. The beds that contain the peas are 12 feet by 4 feet. The bed with the zuchhini is something like 8 or 9 feet by 4 to 5.
This shows the back of my garden - cantaloupe, okra, squash and cucumbers are seen in the front. Lettuce is in the back but you can't see it too well.
This triangle bed was an afterthought after making my walkway. I saw some space I could use. I had radishes planted here but beetles got to them before I could do much about it. It currently holds beets, which you can see beginning to poke up.
These two shots show my lettuce and spinach in the front. The lettuce is doing really good this year. It hasn't done so well in the past, and this was going to be my last attempt at growing it. The spinach, as you can see, as not done well at all. I think I'll try one more year next season and then give up if it does no better.
Here you can see my compost pile where I am working at making my own soil.
This shows some more yellow squash which is not doing near as well as the squash on the other side. My peas are in the background. You can see that they are beginning to turn yellow at the bottoms. One more harvest left.
Just a blossom on my peas.
And here is one of my peas. These are Sugar Snap peas with edible pods, and they are what I plan on planting each year now.
These are my peppers in the front and tomatoes in the back. As you can see they are not doing too great. This is my first attempt at growing peppers. This is also the worst my tomatoes have ever done. That's a new bed and I'm wondering if the soil wasn't too good or something.
Compost pile. Gross, I know, but it will sure make some good soil. And it's a great way to recycle!
Lettuce (Grand Rapids variety). This is the kind hubby prefers this year.
Lettuce (salad bowl variety). This is the kind the kids like. They love eating it right out of the garden. We've been sharing with the rabbits too.
My sad and most pathetic spinach. So disappointing because I love spinach.
The squash that is about to be harvested. I found two on it yesterday during a brief look. These plants are huge and are beginning to grow out into my walkway!
Cucumbers in the main part of the photo.
Okra in the back. They're still quite small, but I've had great luck with okra in the past.
Cantaloupe in the back.
I have walkways throughout my garden to enable me to get to everything easily and to keep me from having to mow around things.
So there you have it - my garden. This is my third season at it, and so far I've learned that it's all just trial and error. It's all about learning which type of veggie grows well and when and how to plant it. I try to do it all as organically as possible. I even use the waste from my rabbits to fertilize things. I use newspaper and leaves beneath my soil to provide some organic matter, and of course, as you could see, I compost as well. I am also keeping a gardening journal where I detail when I plant and what varieties I plant. I keep track of how well each things grows and which part of the garden it was planted in. This is how I found out that these peas are what to plant from now on. I've planted different kinds in the past that did not do well at all.
Gardening has provided me with a great outlet for stress relief. It's also given me great pride when I get to feed my family things I grew myself. Plus, the veggies taste great, and it saves money!