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The last garden I ever did was as a teenager. My Mom and I had one glorious year of gardening, yielding zucchini, green beans, carrots and cantaloupe. Last year was the first year since, that I decided to give gardening another try…and in the midst of a summer heat wave and drought, no less! 
Having a young one year old at the time, I kept my gardening start meager, and planted about 5 vegetables. I made a make-shift 2’x10′ raised planter bed, and cased it in with two rail-road ties I found in my backyard (we rent). My sister helped me carry over 400 pounds of dirt back to that space, and it turned out quite successful, even despite the heat. Here’s what it looked like then (at the end of harvest):

Well, this year we are making a LOT of changes this year, not only to our garden, but also to our ugly, embarrassing backyard space. Even though it’s still ugly now, this yard of ours has certainly come a long way since we moved in. The last renters pretty much trashed the backyard, and almost 4 years later, I still am finding a mixture of plastic pool remnants, broken beer bottles, and buried dryer sheets (Ahem?) among the dirt…but it’s a 100x better now for sure! 
Progression photos starting from about 3 weeks ago:

 Day one: Moving the old garden bed.

 Pointing out the many worms to Nathan. So far it grosses him out! 

 Nathan helping me dig the whole time! I took a week break from “moving the garden”, due to injuring my back out there. I should have taken it slower I guess. But, then, that’s not really me.

 Back again a week later (and much warmer out!) with my great helper, and we finished moving the rest of the dirt that day. Nathan is holding one of his favorite water toys…a powered irrigator, made by Stryker, that Daddy brought home from the operating room at work (un-used, need I mention??).

 All the dirt is piled against the back fence. I heaved-hoed the railroad ties behind the shed there, and Nathan helped me build one of four raised garden beds (from Christmas Tree Shops..$20ea). Nathan was the official screw holder for the project. Of course he “mis-placed” some, but he did fill every hole with a screw for me! He’s an amazing kid!

 I spray painted the grass areas where the planter beds would be placed.

 And Nathan again helped me dig up that grass and relocate it (as sod) to the old garden bed.

 Due to these planter beds being made of “natural wood,” the tag that came with them said they may crack and mold. Fun. I decided to take the extra time to seal them so that they’ll last us more than one season.

 Mommy did this smelly step by herself, and outside of course!

Here’s where the dug up sod went.

 And this is after I got done moving all. that. grass. Phew. I’m telling you….NO need for any official workout, here! This is how I’ve been keeping in my best shape!

 The sod fit quite nicely in the old garden space, although I should have dug the hole out deeper before laying the sod. Oh, well. Maybe next time I’ll remember.

 We added a mixture of topsoil (70%), Sphagnum Peat Moss (20%), and Peat Humus (10%) to each garden bed. An online query suggested using a mixture of organic matter in your garden, so we made up our own healthy “mix.” My garden last year still grew, despite the “stick and stone” topsoil I ignorantly bought last year. I’m expecting this year’s mixture to be as good as Miracle Grow!

Now for planting day…my favorite!!!

 I had started 2 flats of seeds indoors a month ago, and some were seriously outgrowing the space, so I felt rather urgent to get this garden bed ready to go. We feel like we past the last frost last week, so anytime to plant is perfect (NOW)!

 beets, spinach, kale, and salad greens.

 zucchini, snap peas, and honeydew (plus cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn in other beds).

 Mostly planted now. I still need to buy and plant a few extra tomato plants.

 Steven was out there with me planting away too…(It was Nathan’s nap time after all), but his focus was mainly tending to planting the blueberry bush, bleeding heart plant, raspberry bushes, and tending to his lovely, thriving grapevine.

 The kitchen herbs get their own pot.

 I browsed Pinterest late last night, and chose to make one of the easiest and quickest veggie marker crafts I found, using a Pampers wipes container, my label maker, and some packaging tape.

 I also dug up some gorgeous, overgrown Iris bulbs that were in our front yard. I transplanted them to lovelier places throughout our backyard. It’s all starting to come together….a little less ugly now. But, more to come for sure, and soon!

And I’m throwing this picture in there because……just so you know…..when Mommy decides to write her blog post during the day and not check on her son, THIS is what usually happens. He turned himself (and the couch, floor, window, play table, +…) completely into a blue Smurf! Ooops. But, completely washable, thankfully!  So, since I’m a pretty good mama the rest of the time, when I am paying attention to him, we’ll just let this one go, right? Ahem.

Love you all! Thanks for reading!


Joy2Sew is a sewing business specializing in bridal alterations, custom costume creations, sewing lessons, and pdf patterns for children's costumes.

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