Getting Down and Dirty

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.  ~Lindley Karstens,

It amazes me that even though we only just started gardening (and at this point, it’s mostly been weeding and turning over soil to prepare to plant), I wake up every morning wanting to get up, change into an old pair of jeans, and dig around in the dirt.

Unfortunately, I’ve just been too busy to get out there every morning. I haven’t been able to get out there any day in the past week! It’s killing me!

So instead I draw up plans for what I want to plant, design the new fence/gate to keep the dogs out, and research what should be planted next to each other and whether they like sun or shade, etc. Since this is my first real garden, there is a lot of information to take in, and I’m sure there’s going to be a big learning curve!

Our backyard wraps around the house in a U shape, and the bottom portion of the U is actually a cement patio with a (drained) jacuzzi, bar-be-que, and 2 patio tables. The two sides of the U have grass, and the dogs enjoy running around and playing out there.

Sean and I have decided to take the right side of the U (facing the house) and turn that into our garden. This is where his step-dad used to grow all kinds of stuff along the edges of the yard, but we have bigger plans! We’re going to tear up all of the grass, build a fence/gate to keep the dogs out of the garden, and move the compost pile to its old spot behind the shed. Also on our to-do list is to tear up all of the rose bushes that line the walls, because we want to grow corn and climbing things against it instead. Then we’re going to put down a couple of little brick pathways through the garden, and plant anything and everything we think will do good there.

Before we came up with our “master plan” for the garden, we made a pallet planter, and planted a couple of little things around the edges. We’ll have to dig these things back up and transplant them elsewhere when the time comes, but for now we’re leaving them be. We currently have a couple of trees as well that we are leaving: an avocado, plum, and apricot tree, and a Meyer lemon in the front. In the garden, we have cherry tomatoes (left by Sean’s step-dad), Serrano peppers in a pot, Celebrity tomatoes, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and a couple flowers. We’re thinking about planting everything from corn and potatoes to herbs and bok choy.

Here’s some pictures of what it looked like to begin with, and how it’s all progressing so far.

Before We Started:

The evil rose-mato bush!

The Pallet Planter:



serrano peppers starting to sprout correction: these were weeds. don’t know where they came from. i got a little too excited, but we’ve now pulled these out as the REAL serrano pepper sprouts have started pushing through.


Avocados are starting to grow! Can’t wait for home-grown avos!!

Apricot tree is blossoming and sprouting leaves!

Also, we saw that the plum tree has its first blossoms of the season as of today (only 3 so far, but at least it’s started now)! We think the apricot blossomed sooner because it gets more sun than the plum tree, which is shaded by the house for much of the day. Also, one half of the apricot tree has MANY more blossoms than the other side, for the same reason.

Unfortunately, I will be spending my morning helping my mom in the office for the next couple of weeks and won’t get to spend them in the yard during the work week. Hopefully we’ll get back into the swing of things this weekend and finish tearing up the dirt and getting the fence installed.

Regarding the fence, we went to Home Depot this morning to pick up supplies to build it. Pre-made picket fencing in 8′ pieces, and posts to drop in and nail the picketing to. We will need to go back to get some cement to go around the bases of the posts, or find someone who has some leftover we can use. The fence-line is only 16′ total, including the 2′ gate we’re planning on, and we already had some hinges and a latch from when we were going to build a dog-gate for the hallway, and then decided to use a plastic baby gate we found instead.

Of course, as soon as we strapped the picketing to the top of my car, it started pouring rain. We only live 5 minutes from Home Depot, so we figured it wouldn’t be too bad, but because of all the red lights, it took us nearly 15minutes to get home, and the wood was soaked. As soon as we got back to the house, the rain stopped. -_-; Hopefully the untreated wood wasn’t damaged, but it’s a nice reminder that (1) we will need to paint or treat the wood to keep it from getting future water-damage, and (2) weather in So. Cal is very, very strange and unpredictable sometimes.

On the other hand, I’m sure the plants in the yard are loving the rain and soaking up the water. I wonder how many more blossoms the plum tree will have tomorrow?



About elizabethanne

I'm 22, living in Southern California, and trying to figure out this crazy thing called life.
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One Response to Getting Down and Dirty

  1. Lilybell says:

    Oh yummy avacados! Our avacado trees are tiny and still in pots, but we grew them from seeds. Great excuse to eat some avacados! =)

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