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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Our first garden, preparation and planting

June 15, 2009

Eliza and I have, for as long as I can remember, always wanted a garden. While we’ve always had flower-boxes, pots, small sections of flowers next to our homes, etc. – we’ve never had a garden proper and so we’re excited that this will be our first year of gardening.

We live in an apartment building that, much to our dismay, doesn’t have a lot of yard area. When our landlord offered a small patch of grass to us for our own use – we were exited. Allow me to quote Eliza on Twitter:

“After living here for 3 years, my landlord told me today I can have a garden. I think I am going to cry.” – @elizard

So, we got to work – and work it was. First we had to prepare the area for our garden. Here is what the area looked like before we got started.

Garden: Before

Step 1: Get rid of the grass

Typically when tilling a garden you can just till the grass over and allow it to die under the soil. A lot of the grass that was growing in this area had some pretty funky root systems and so I didn’t want to deal with the grass if it tried to make a comeback. So I simply got rid of it.

Garden: Getting rid of the grass

I didn’t have a real spade for this part – which made it all the tougher. I ended up suffering some pretty hefty hand wounds that are still healing now.

Step 2: Till the soil

Turning the soil over a few times, getting rid of rocks (and there were many, many of these in our garden area), and breaking up any of the large clumps of soil help for plants to take root.

The biggest challenged we faced with our soil was the number of rocks. We’ll be picking rocks out of this area for years to come. But, that’s Pennsylvania – one big rock.

Step 3: Planting!

The next day we set out to find some plants. We were starting late in the year so we planted both potted plants and seeds depending on the type of vegetable it was. Lettuce, for instance, will grow from a seed now and be ready in a few months while tomatoes and peppers of all types we started from potted plants.

Here is a list of the vegetables and fruit (since tomatoes are technically fruit) that we planted in the garden (those marked with “seed” means they are starting out as seeds):

  • Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots (seed)
  • Lettuce (seed)
  • Red and Green Bell peppers
  • Banana peppers
  • Chili peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Big boy tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Winter Squash
  • Green beans (seed)
  • Corn

We ended up planting, what I think is, quite a lot of plants given the area that we have. I just found a stock pile of bricks that I’m going to use to edge the garden, hopefully in the next day or so. Once I do that I’ll share some photos of what the garden looks like now. I’m really hoping that we have a decent harvest this year, learn a lot about gardening, and have fun spending time together in the garden and outdoors.