Garden Chit-Chat

March 16, 2011

Spring is getting closer and as I mentioned on the Coupon Geek Facebook Page yesterday, I’m itching for the weather to get warmer here in Illinois so I can start getting to work on this year’s garden. Last year was my first year attempting to try my hand, or should I say green thumb, at a bigger garden. I figured I’d be outside with the kids quite a bit so we may as well have a little project to do while we are soaking up some of those summer rays.

I went back and forth whether I wanted to try a normal garden or take a chance at Square Foot Gardening. Since our yard is mostly clay soil, I figured I’d go with SFG. And I don’t regret it one bit–nor did I miss any of those crazy weeds. Oh, a few would blow in now and again but for the most part, my garden was free of them. (But it wasn’t free of a little critter that hopped right on my foot when I went to reach for a tomato. Thankfully, that was just a cute little bunny or I’d probably still be shaking from the surprise.)

While we tried to get a jump-start using some seeds, I have to say, I failed miserably at growing seeds indoors. They sprouted. We all got excited. And then somehow, I killed them all before I could get them planted. But, I’m going to give it a shot again this year. I think I might have left them too close to the window during a strange late coldspell that we had. Not sure. But I was so excited when little by little, each seed that we sowed outside grew.

Prior to that year, I had only planted a couple tomato/pepper plants that I bought as starters. Or I had a couple container tomato plants. So imagine my excitement when in our first year, we were growing strawberries (picture above is some from our garden!), beans, lettuce, carrots, kohlrabi, a few pepper varieties, tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, and some spices. And one plant that became my favorite, completely by mistake!

I wanted to plant some rhubarb so I could make a strawberry rhubarb pie. I bought some seeds but when I went to plant them, it clicked—it wasn’t rhubarb but Swiss Chard Rhubarb. Completely different! Swiss Chard is more like a spinach and you actually eat the leaves where, from what I gather, Rhubarb leaves are actually toxic and you just eat the stems. But it turned out OK as I fell in love with cooking up Swiss Chard in garlic and olive oil for a side dish for us. It became one of my favorite things to grow—probably just because it prospered so much!

My goal this year is try to get as many Coupon Geek readers that haven’t gardened–to try their hand at it this year. Even if it’s simply just a few container plants or some spices you grow in your kitchen window. It’s completely amazing at how fresh your food will taste and how much fun you’ll have with the kids. You might just get them to eat more veggies if they grow their own–as I found that to be true here.

More Chit-Chat to come….

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen March 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hi there!
Great to see that gardening is getting in your blood! I’ve done it for years and saved lots of money by raising my own. Maybe you will get into canning and freezing next!

As far as starting seeds, you really need a grow light. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I just have a shop light with the grow light bulbs in it. You can get them at any hardware or big box store. But the plants do need a certain amout of light to prosper before you can transplant them into your garden.

When my son was little, I gave him his own garden plot. He had his own tomato plant, a row of carrots, peas, green beans and flowers. Don’t forget the flowers! You need them for pollination! Letting your kids have a little area for themselves really keeps them interested. Especially if supper that night is from “their” garden.

Enjoy!

2 coupongeek March 17, 2011 at 11:49 am

Excellent idea on them having their own spot. Thanks, Karen! I’m going to check into a grow light. I’d hate to fail at the seeds again. I know it can save so much not having to buy starters so I want it to work.

3 Sam March 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I’m going to start my first garden this year I’m so excited. I’m going to try from seed as well and see if I can get them to grow.

4 coupongeek March 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The first year is fun, but a lot to learn, too. Seeds were the hardest for me. But if they don’t turn out, some garden centers will discount the starter plants so watch for those sales.

5 Sam March 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

I work for a hardware store and have lots of people willing to help me so hopefully I won’t kill everything lol

6 coupongeek March 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

Maybe you’ll have to pass me along some tips, too! :) This is just my second “big” year of gardening. So much fun!

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