Vegetable garden, that is.
Growing up in WV, I would transplant daffodils and ferns from the nearby creek to decorate our yard. Several friends would gift perennials to add to my collection. But flower gardens became a thing of the past once I married. Working full-time those first three years of marriage meant that I had little free time, and then, not much would grow in Goodyear’s desert climate.
Moving into this house, we discovered there were five raised beds in the backyard. I wasn’t really too excited since I’ve never had a vegetable garden, and wasn’t sure I was up for it. But this spring my friend helped me weed the garden beds. She took a shovel to one of those stubborn blackberry bramble stumps, and wow! She finally extricated that tough sucker! A neighbor had loads of extra wood chips she gave us for free. Stephen and I mulched and mulched all around the beds, the flower beds, our fence and our house.
In early May, I was planning our family reunion, so I didn’t have much time to spend on the garden. Without “amending the soil” (a phrase I learned this spring) with compost or fertilizer or anything, I simply planted the seeds in the dirt that was already there. I figured, for the first year, anything that grew would be counted as a success.
Surprisingly, sprouts grew. The peas and beans came up first. They did well, especially after I created string trellises for the pea vines to climb. Our corn is tasseling and I can see the silk of one small ear popping out. There’s a definite height difference between the ones that are in partial sun and full sun.
We have some watermelon vines, two pumpkin vines, several sad onions, and four carrots. The brussel sprouts and lettuce never did come up.A few of our tomato plants came up, but we also purchased some tomato and pepper sprouts from The Home Depot. Our grape vines, which had been pruned back significantly, are growing like crazy, and there are even several grape clusters starting to form.
Stephen and the kids picked about three dozen cherries from our backyard tree using Stephen’s cherry-picker macgyvered out of a rake and a paint pail. The kids were excited to help pick and shell some peas and beans—which we’ve enjoyed eating. Harvesting fruits and veggies from our own yard is a happy surprise!