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December 22, 2013

Building a Garden for Good Eatin'

December 22, 2013

Long before I owned a home, I knew that I wanted a garden. As a vegetarian, fresh produce is part of almost every meal for me, and there is something ideal about walking outside and picking from a personal selection.

However, my experience with growing anything, even houseplants, was pretty limited until my husband and I purchased our first home a few years ago. Before we started opening boxes, I had already loaded the living room with house plants. I didn’t think of this at the time, but I was really taking baby steps towards a garden – one of the 2014 projects that I’d like to accomplish.

Most of those plants that I originally purchased back then are no longer with us. It took some time, and unfortunately several test subjects, but I can proudly say that I now have over a dozen plants in my home, and all are happy and healthy.

Last year, I took a few mores steps and planted several outdoor plants – shrubs, decorative grasses, hostas, etc. I also started a “mini garden” which consisted of potted herbs. For the most part those turned out pretty well, though I still haven’t mastered the art of cilantro.

2014 seems like the right time to take it up a notch and actually attempt a vegetable garden. Here is my personal brain-map for the project:

  1. Read! Browse blogs, look for a book and jot down general tips along the way. Perhaps start a garden journal.
  2. Decided on the structure/location. A raised garden, as opposed to planting directly in the ground sounds nice, but I need to weigh the pros and cons.
  3. Research & determine what to plant. What is easy and realistic? A few options that sound tasty: cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes, collard greens, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, and several different herbs.
  4. Create a planting & harvesting plan. I imagine that each seed has an optimal planting time. During the colder months, I should create a schedule for when each one will need planted. In addition, one thing that I learned from cilantro is that some plants need harvested daily. I should also create a plan and schedule for harvesting.
  5. Buy seeds. Seems pretty easy, though I might want to look into a few plants that sprouted already and let them grow from there.
  6. Research organic fertilizer and “pest” methods. I’m not interested in chemicals or anything that might harm furry friends, but I will need to research and consider how to keep them away.
  7. Plant! I imagine this will require several steps that I’ll have to map out post research. Soil preparation and tools are the first two that come to mind.
  8. Weed early, weed often.
  9. Harvest & EAT! That part, I can definitely handle.

For all of you green thumbs out there, what are your tips and suggestions?

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: Plan / outline / mind-map a project you want to tackle in 2014.

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