Monday, July 8, 2013

Adventures in Gardening

I have a new hobby. And I'm obsessed.

Check out these babies!

Our baby seedlings before planting.

Freshly planted.

Boy have they grown!

Cilantro for days!

Lots of basil.


Two kinds of kale.

One of our free spirited tomato plants.
Our jalapeno plant finally is starting to show signs of future peppers.

Tomatoes are coming soon!

The Food and Garden Club on the campus where I work has a number of garden plots that they let students, faculty, and staff rent out each year. For a small fee, you get to grow whatever you would like in a 4x4 plot.

I have always wanted to start a garden, but wasn't really excited about trying to build something at our apartment. We also have a heavily shaded yard thanks to some big trees, which would make it pretty challenging to grow anything that requires full sun.

So I was so excited to give gardening a shot, especially with a group of folks who know quite a bit more about gardening than I do. Lots of experts to share tips and tricks.

And, even better, I have a gardening partner! My friend Claudia also wanted to give beginner gardening a shot. We like to head out over our lunch hour and check on the veggies and herbs and do a little weeding and watering. Maybe grab a few extra salad toppings too!

We have already learned a few key things:

Tomatoes need to go in cages, almost right away. We thought we could wait on this one for a few weeks, but then our tomato plants had a major growth spurt and got all long and gangly. We had quite the adventure trying to weave them into the cages, and lost some branches along the way. We are hoping that they will straighten out a bit, because they are pretty heavy on one side.

Watering. It's a daily thing. We haven't lost any plants yet, and thankfully, we've had a LOT of rain so watering hasn't been as needed as you would expect for the summer. But we know moving forward that we are going to have to schedule time to get out there every day.

Cat hair and coffee grounds can help keep the critters away. We don't use pesticides at the garden, so we are trying everything we can to keep the bugs and the bunnies out of our goodies. Some bunny loves our kale!

Through the club, I am also trying out composting for the first time. We have a compost area near the gardens, and so I've been saving my veggie scraps, egg shells and coffee groups to take in each day. Way better than having a stinky compost area at home! Plus all of the compost that we make can go back into the gardens.

So that's where you can find me this summer. Digging in the dirt!

Do you garden? What tips can you share with us? We'd love advice!


  1. We have SOOO much cilantro too! I could not believe how big our plant is now. This is my first year too and it's been fun. Glad you are loving it too!

    1. I just found a Pinterest pin that suggests that you cut about 1/3 to 1/2 of it all the way, let it grow back and then cut the other side. Apparently it's not supposed to get to tall? We are giving it a shot. Learning!

  2. Hey Kirstin! Congrats on your gardening spree! My wife and I started doing some serious gardening last year - one 30'x 30' plot, plus an herb garden and three smaller 4'x 4' plots - mainly because we live five hours from the nearest grocery store. It's fun, but definitely a learning curve! I, like you, learned about caging tomatoes the hard way. But here's a small secret I learned, since you asked for tips - if you go with determinate tomatoes (like Rutgers or Romas) instead of indeterminate tomatoes (like Big Boys or Beefsteaks), you need substantially less caging. You know, if you're like me and don't feel like having to cage all your tomatoes. Hail to the garden nerds, or something like that. Have fun with your fresh veggies!

    1. Ooh! Thanks for the great tip! We are doing romas and cherry tomatoes this year. Nothing too big. You've got a ton of gardening space - what all are you growing?


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