Monday, April 12, 2010

Planting Begins For The Organic, Heirloom Gardening Wannabes

I told you when I started this gardening venture that I would share with you the successes as well as the mistakes we make a long the way. We'll I've already made plenty of mistakes with this garden. The first one being that I started seedlings in my house (some of which I could have sown directly into the ground). I lost the broccoli, cauliflower, and basil when I tried to slow down their rapid growth (they were getting leggy) by putting them outside one day (hey, the sun was shining, it seemed safe, NOT!). Then I planted my pea starts (picture above) the day before we had a blizzard and temps in the 20s. The other mistake was letting my toddler "help". Josiah snapped the picture above of a very irritated mama who turned around after planting some pea seedlings (yes the seedlings that died in the blizzard) and discovered that my daughter had pinched off the stems of all my watermelon, cantaloupe and some of my bean seedlings that I wasn't planning on planting yet but had brought out with me to the garden because they were all in the same flat. Urgghh!   The thing I AM happy about is that I finally got my garden completely "pinned down". Our remodel has taken precedence over our garden. Michael didn't want to spend the money to buy the metal pins, so he kept using make-shift wooden stakes. Every time I turned around our garden would be flapping. Can I say another, "Urgggh!" here? Just keepin' it real. Well Michael was at drill this weekend so I snuck down to our local farm store and bought over 100 metal pins to stake down the plastic. Yeah, no more flapping! So worth the $11 bucks I spent on pins. Shush, don't tell my hubby ; ) Here is a picture of the garden after Josiah and I finished pinning everything down and placing the last of the newspaper (unprinted roll) and straw down the rows where we walk.  
Yesterday was finally nice, so I decided to get brave and plant some of my cold weather seeds directly into the ground since I haven't had much luck with transplanting seedlings. Josiah thought it was great fun to put the seeds into the ground because he got to use Dad's special knife to cut the plastic where the seeds were going to be sown. Yes, I was watching him closely.
For the smaller seeds like carrots, radishes, lettuce, onions and turnips, I decided to cut a slit down the row and then pin the slit just slightly open. I know I'll probably have to do some weeding (the thing that has always stopped me from attempting to grow a garden in the past), but I'm hoping the weeding won't be too bad.Here are what is left of all the beautiful seedlings I  showed you in a post a couple of weeks ago. Basically, all I have left are 3 bean plants, one very sad-looking pea seedling (lonely, I'm sure, since all his friends died in the blizzard), celery and three varieties of peppers. Some friends gave me the tomato plant for my birthday. Hopefully I can keep it alive until it is time to plant the warm weather stuff (not for at least another month). I'm certainly learning a lot. Thanks for all your advice! Somehow I still managed to mess up, probably because I got impatient. Who me? I can hear my husband laughing in the distance.

It was nice to take a break this weekend and garden instead of exclusively working on the house. The only thing I did for the house was attempt to clean it and stain our new fiberglass front door which was a huge "nail in the tail". It is super hard to stain fiberglass as it doesn't absorb the stain and takes forever to dry when it is cold. I finally got the thing ready for Michael to hang tomorrow. So darn excited to have a front door again. Now we just need steps and a concrete floor to actually be able to use the door. At least we won't be keeping the weather out with blankets, plastic and a board. We're slowly gettin' there. Thanks for all your sweet and encouraging comments. Keep 'em comin'! They're getting me through these extremely busy, sometimes stressful days.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

God Bless,


The Real Me! said...

My husband was reading over my shoulder and he said he was glad that he wasn't the only one with gardening woes. LOL! So thank you for making him feel better at your own expense. LOL!
I hope things run a little more smoother from here on out.

Leslie said...

You're not alone in the mistakes department when it comes to gardening. I've done my fair share of planting too early and too late, as well as forgetting to water enough, and even occasionally over watering. I've even mistaken the plants for weeds and picked them. lol It all seems to come together though, and every year you gain new lessons and experience than help make a better garden the next year.

Andrea said...

What an adventure. We all make mistakes...I am thankful for the opportunities to "try again!"

Blessings, andrea

Anonymous said...

I think all of us in the NW are having gardening woes this early spring! You're in good company. During lovely March we planted peas and beans, directly. April has been so cold, somehow the peas have managed to come up, the plants look hearty and ready, haven't seen the bean sprouting yet. Indoors we have cinderella pumpkins and butternut squash started, the pumpkins have their first leaves, the squash haven't poked through yet- I bought my felsnaptha, washing soda and borax at Fred Meyer, do you have Freddie's in your area?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

We don't have a Freddy's anywhere near us. I have to order my felsnaptha and washing soda through a local hardware store as no one in this town carries it. Kind of a pain, but at least I am able to get it locally.

Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

Love your beautiful garden 'story' and that you shared each of the 'what has happened' steps... even your daughter's 'help'.

Yesterday was a great day to be outdoors... we dismantled what was left of our poor 'old' greenhouse and pulled up lots of the black landscaping cloth and tons of pins!

Will be using them tho for 'the next stage' of our garden life:)

Take care!!!
p.s. You could use Walls of Water for tomatoes!

ryanjess said...

Wow, quite impressive work on the garden! My in-laws have a beautiful garden and I have convinced them into growing a few extra things for us this year! Maybe someday I will be brave enough to attempt it on my own! :) Hope to see you tomorrow at MOPS.

Patty said...

If at first you don't succeed try and try again. Maybe your next seedlings will be more successful. I hope all goes well with your garden from here. Blessings.

LizyBeth said...

I am trying my first garden this year; SO glad to know that I'm not the only one making mistakes. :) Thank you for sharing.

About the metal pins... my mother- in-law loves to remind me that "sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than to wait for permission." ;)

RaD said...

Looks like you've done your homework at least. You may have made mistakes but to me you seem very gardening educated :)

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...


LOL! That is a great quote. Luckily my husband didn't seem mind. The ego seemed to still be intact ;)

Your too kind. I'm just trying listen to advice along the way. I still haven't cracked a gardening book. I feel I can learn more from listen to others gardening testimonials.

Sarah said...

Oh Jackie!...I'm so sorry that your gardening has had a few hiccups! We are now in our 8th? year of growing our own vegetables and fruit and we STILL make mistakes!

My hubby planted our tomato seeds inside the house (we have to in our climate as it was still frosty two weeks ago!) but like yours they were getting leggy...when they go like that we just re-pot them and support them for a few days after the re-potting with a lollypop stick (popcicle stick?) They strenghten up after a little while and the stem bulks out to support the height...we just keep doing that until we can plant them!

Hope things go a little smoother for you guys from now on!

God Bless

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Jackie, the first year I attempted a garden on my it flopped horribly! You look like you are doing well. Just keep at it. It is definitely a learning process through trial and error! But, so worth it when you have all those fresh organic veges!

tamy said...

children are a blessing even if they pick all the squash plants to bring them in the house because they wanted to eat squash.

Camille said...

Dear Jackie ~ Hang in there!! You have ALOT on your plate with the renovations and the garden. Take it one day at a time and try to ENJOY the journey! :)


Amy said...

My garden is slow going this year. I am learning about this new to me zone. I keep telling my daughter that we learn something new everyday.

I am nervous to use Fels Naptha. It is make from petro chemicals. Don't you use Zote? It is safer and cheaper.

Have a wonderful day.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention! I just did some research on it and you are right, petro-chemicals are in Felsphatha. It says it is low-toxicity, but that still makes me nervous. It says that when used over a long period of time, there can be health side-affects.

I did some research on the "Zote" soap that you suggested (never heard of it before) and it does look like a much safer alternative. Best of all, it looks like it is still cheap to buy. I'm hoping find some around here or at least be able to order some. Thanks for the heads up! I just included this info in my homemade laundry detergent post.

Thanks everyone for your gardening encouragment. I needed a pep-talk, LOL!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

You don't do anything halfway, Sis! You amaze me!

He & Me + 3 said...

I know that in the end you will have a beautiful garden with lots of treats. I still need to get over and get my plot. I was headed there today but it rained.

Lisa said...

AH, the more I read about gardens, the more I want one! I hope to see yours up and sprouting soon!

Amy said...

Please let me know if you need some Zote. I can get it at Big Lots for 80 or 88 cents a bar. I would be more than glad to send it to you. If you want it send me your addy to my email.

Have a great day.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks for the offer. I'm going to see if I can get it through my local hardware store first (I like to support them), but if I can't, I'll probably take you up on that offer. You're so sweet!


Brenda said...

Your garden looks fantastic! I know how frustrating the leggy seedlings can be - we get very little light in our apartment and my seedlings really suffer because of it. I think nearly 70% of my lettuce croaked this year because of less-than-ideal conditions. I have some really funky looking broccoli and cabbage starts,'s fun though! I love just having the green, growing plants around (even if they never produce)!! I hope I get to see your garden (in person) sometime this year! :)


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