how does your garden grow?

We're having a really good day over here.
No, really, how does your garden grow? Do you have any tips?

All winter long Ryan and I talked about starting a garden. It was the thing we looked forward to most during those cold days filled with more darkness than sunlight. And now winter is over and spring is here and we're ready to plant!

I have visions of a lush English garden, with grey-green grasses, and lavender, and herbs. In my head I'm wearing a wind-catching sundress and a floppy hat, snipping blooms with my antique shears and dropping them into a straw basket. RECORD SCRATCH that's not how things are going. It's more like I'm sweaty, wearing muddy tennis shoes, and frantically pulling out dead branches and weeds before Ralphie wakes up from his nap. Things aren't quite so romantic as I'd like, but it's fun work all the same, and a different kind of exercise that makes my body feel tired in a good way. I may not have the English garden of my dreams yet, but today I discovered that we have a flowering tree, and that's something I've always wanted. We're getting there.
photo (49) Shopping for our first garden. Over the weekend the boys and I hit up the nursery. Lots of herbs and four little boxwood bushes came home with us. We're still waiting to see what will happen with the plants already in the yard, but I'm thinking most of it will come out and make way for new things that we pick out ourselves. The vegetable garden is going to be put in one of these weekends-- lots of tomatoes and beans and cucumbers and peppers. Ryan is working hard on the weedy lawn, and Ralph is working hard on figuring out what exactly grass is, and if he should taste it.
photo (51) photo (50)
So, spill it. Do you have any gardening tips? Any favorite perennials? I'm all ears!

And while we're at it, any favorite baby sunscreens? I've gotta protect those pudgy white limbs you see there.


  1. Last year was the first time in my life that I planted vegetables and cared for them all by myself. I started out with tomatoes and green peppers. The only thing I would do differently is not plant two grape tomato plants. OH HOLY WOW. By the middle of July I was picking 40+ of those bad boys every. single. day. They were delicious, but we couldn't keep up with eating them. Unless you have someone to give them to, or plan on doing some canning? Then maybe plant two? If you even want grape tomatoes?

    Good news is I felt like the best gardener because they actually grew and produced something! :)

  2. Plant peony tubers! You will not regret it. They are SOOO easy and come back bigger and happier year after year.

    I concur with Bethany that grape-size tomatoes are fierce producers. We planted 5 bushes last year and SO many were wasted. I'm doing 3 this year. Sungolds (the yellow ones) are the sweetest in my opinion. You can just eat them off the vine like candy!

    Also, if you get a cattle trestle fence thing and 4 fence posts from the garden store, you can make a gorgeous arch for your beans to grow on for super cheap! Here's the pin I followed to do it for ours. http://pinterest.com/pin/74942781269068534/

    Good luck!

  3. The first year at our home was just like that, waiting to see what would pop up and where. But our veggie garden was actually impressive (still surprised :) We had an overabundance of toms, cukes, and zucchini that after canning we still had to share with many neighbors. But it was very exciting. (If I could make it work I am sure you will have no problem...because you are kind of a mini Martha) :)
    Only advice I can give is that some perennials I planted wouldn't work the first year, but after transplanting them to a different location they were great. So just looking at location for sun, soil, and surrounding plants.
    Also I haven't used it a lot yet, but so far our favorite sunblock is: http://www.target.com/p/neutrogena-pure-free-baby-sunblock-lotion-spf-60-3-oz/-/A-11133516
    Enjoy those sweet thighs and planting!

  4. Ahhh, what a glorious summer ahead of you (theoretically)! I can't wait to have a backyard garden someday.

  5. California baby everything is the bestest. But sorry no gardening tips, I can barely keep the plant in my office alive that only requires minimal watering.