May 28, 2018

A Fresh Start: Planting Our 2018 Summer Garden

This past Sunday we had a chance to plant our long-awaited summer garden. We're on the later side for planting here in Virginia and had been putting it off due to really fickle winter weather, followed by record-breaking downpours of rain around here this month. That said, when the sun finally came out, we made a day of it!

In the past, I've started the majority of our plants from seed. Back in April, I did start a handful of hot Hungarian peppers this way; other than that we filled up the truck with sprawling vegetable plants from our local garden center and hit the road to the garden. An old truck, a little country music, and a good dog are good for the soul...

Since our space in the city is much more limited, Mary's Dad saves areas in his backyard for us to plant in raised beds. During the autumn, he rakes the fallen leaves into a giant mound over all the beds which is a neat natural way to create a protective weed barrier. Come spring, we rake all the leaves off the beds to reveal pristine soil ready for tilling. The leaves that continue to surround the beds during the growing months will keep weeds at bay around the beds.

Another tip we've learned from my Father-in-law is how planting marigolds along the corners of each bed acts as a natural bug repellent and adds a touch of color at the same time.

For this first round of plantings, we've got a good start of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini. Mary always like to try a few wildcards too — this year its cantaloupe and a few strawberry plants.

One advantage of planting later in the season was how the plant starters were already mature, so we don't have to play catchup, likely having a better overall chance that all of these plants will survive the season. Getting them in the ground just after the heavy rains also allowed us to work with really moist soil, which we're hoping will have given us a good running start as these new plantings get cozy in their new home.

Planting a garden is something I've come to look forward to every year. Last summer's garden was one of the biggest and best bounties we've ever tried. I simply cannot wait to get some cucumbers to make my "quick pickle recipe"! We're also getting better at knowing what types of vegetables we have success with and which ones we actually use the most of (hello, tomatoes!), so I'm really looking forward to seeing how everything comes along this year.

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1 comment

  1. This is amazing. You did a wonderful job. I liked this post. Thanks for sharing.


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