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How Does Your Garden Grow?

The following is a guest post from Kirsten in New Mexico about her gardening experience.  I’d start a vegetable garden right now, were it not for the fact that I think we’d get thrown out of our apartment if we tore up the lawn.  Landlords are so sensitive.  


Three Reasons to Plant a Vegetable Garden (As if You Needed Three):

  1. Saving money.
  2. Enjoying fresh from the dirt, pesticide free, deliciousness (rinsed, of course).
  3. The mad props you’ll receive from your friends/neighbors as you share your crops with them.

It’s not too late to start a garden this year.  The Master Gardeners say:

In general, vegetables that grow best in cool weather are leafy greens, root crops and various members of the cabbage family. Beets, carrots, peas, chard, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, turnips, radishes, spinach, oriental vegetables like Chinese cabbage and bok choy and transplants of late cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts may be planted in early August for fall harvesting.


The Gardening Process


This is our second summer here in sunny Clovis, NM harvesting the Lord’s bounty from our backyard escape; well, everything that Buck and Gidget our vegetarian dogs aren’t chowing down.


This year our gardening journey, and it truly is a different journey every year, started out with a great deal of planning.  Asking ourselves what we wanted to harvest and what would grow well in our climate and soil.  You really wouldn’t look at our soil and think that anything great would come out of it.  Clay-like and hard to turn over initially, surprisingly everything that we have attempted to grow in our backyard of Eden has thrived.


Get Growing


1. To get the most produce for our hard-earned pennies we determined that we wanted plants that would yield multiple fruits/veggies vs. a one-shot plant (one seed = one edible item).  So, we went with peppers, tomatoes, spinach, sunflowers, squash, snap peas, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelon and corn. 

Tip: If you are in an area that does well with squash and zucchini, only plant ONE of each variety, otherwise you’ll be eating it all winter and then all of the following year.  We may even enter some of ours in the county fair this year.  No joke, they are like baseball bats.


2. Starting some plants from seedlings we started them indoors in early April to give them time to mature before shocking them with a transplant to the garden.  We started turning the garden in mid-May and planted our sprouts and a few more mature plants in the garden, anxious for them to provide us with some ingredients for salsa.

Tip: If you plant your supposedly benign green bell peppers next to anything spicy, they may cross-pollinate.  We harvested our first ones and they burned my lips O-F-F, OFF!


3. The plants started grow and began to blossom, along with our dog’s appetites.  Last year we put up a modest iron fence, with roughly 7-inch gaps between the poles.  Buck and Gidget began to patrol the perimeter to find any weaknesses; leaving a well-worn path in the lawn with each pace.  It was soon after the appearance of their path that we started to notice bulging in our iron fence posts.  Hmmm…. 


In an effort to halt the salsa fest, we have tried twine (didn’t faze them), fishing wire (ha, what a joke), and chicken wire (this seems to do the trick).  If you are in need of other solutions, I have also heard that black pepper or red pepper flakes are effective at repelling hungry pups. 


Despite the culprits best efforts to discourage us from harvesting, our yield is still impressive this year.  It is truly amazing just how far a little seed, a little work, and a little bit of chicken wire can take you.