January 5, 2011

Vegetable Gardening

Did anyone else get their vegetable gardening catalogs yet? They always send them in the midst of the bleak winter when you're yearning for color and delicious summer fruits and veggies. Now I will plan a garden about 4 acres large and by Mother's Day, I will have to whittle it down to 3 tiny raised beds and a few loose pots.

When I was little, my friend's mom had the prettiest garden. She grew flowers in the front yard along the walkways, which the butterflies loved, and a vegetable garden in the back. Her gardens were not huge, although they seemed that way when I was little, but they always had enough veggies to collect every time I was over there. I remember how colorful they were and how fun it was for my friend and I to stand in that garden barefoot and collect veggies in the bottom parts of our sundresses.

Now, I have had a garden on and off since I was, well, very little and I am still a terrible gardener. (Before you laugh at this picture, remember: It was the 90s and my socks match my tie-dye.)

Gardening is fun for me and I work in the garden almost everyday in the summer and I normally end up with about 5 tomatoes and a green bean. I am normally frugal but I do admit to spending about $50 in the summer on enriching my soil and other garden needs. What am I doing wrong?

So I have decided I no longer want to waste money, even though the garden is a lot of fun. I'm asking my readers for tips, suggestions, and book recommendations that will allow my garden to be fun and frugal.

Any ideas? Any books you could recommend?  


  1. I just started sending requests for catalogs. The garden is going to be really scaled back this year. After ten years of intensive raised bed gardening our soil is starting to play out. We will be planting lots of cover crops to try and replenish things. We are hoping to find someone nearby that maybe can't garden anymore, then we can garden thier plot for them on shares. My main advice is don't over plant, that is what we've done wrong the past few years. Go slow and be very careful picking seed variaties. Often a good hierloom variety will do better if they are a variety that originated in your area.

  2. Thanks so much woodsrunner, I thought that might have been the problem too. Last year I moved my beds to a place I had never used before and got new dirt but it took so long to get everything together that I planted really late and didn't get much from it. Our native soil is practically orange from clay. I'd like to get some heirloom seeds from around my area but really don't know where to look.

  3. I have absolutely no experience in gardening, ouside of childhood memories of picking carrots and such, but I wanted to ask - do you compost?

  4. I don't compost, my parents have heard horror stories about compost piles attracting rats. We used to use the bunny waste and that used to work really well.

  5. I have no idea about rats... We've had a compost pile for all my life and all we've seen was a marten... but then, our situation is probably very different from yours. Czech Republic is different from the USA in terms of climate and soil and all such... We actually live in an old town (dating back to Middle Ages) near the black soils of the Labe river, so it's all different. :-)
    I'm mostly interested because I'm in the process of writing an essay about Prairie farming in Canada, and now I'm reading a Manitoban schoolbook on agriculture which was probably written in late 1890s-1910s (no publication date :-( ), and with all this am now looking into something I've never studied before, so it's all new and exciting. :-)

  6. Hana, I had to look up what a marten was. They look really cute.

    How lucky that your soil is dark. Ours is mostly clay here. I've only been to Canada once, and all I saw was snow!

  7. Well, ours, in our little, untended garden, is more like a forest soil, I guess, due to the two big spruce trees that have been in our garden for years and years. (One of them we had cut down last year.) We get lots of moss...

  8. Hi, I'm a devoted organic gardener Elizabeth Valdez and am known by my friends whilst the recycling queen. I live on a small country property in South Australia.


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