Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Guest Post - Suburban Gardening

I have a dear and talent friend that I work with in the ER, Laura H.  She is a woman of many talents - including a professional photographer and owner of Shady Tree Photography, a nurse, a mama, and a suburban gardener.  I love the spirit of a gardener and adventurer/explorer that she carries with her through life.  I wanted to do a few guest posts on how people can garden in suburban settings, and she was the first person I thought of.  Here is what she wrote about her lovely garden -

Spring time came this year and Brooke asked me to write a story for her blog about my garden.  I thought, “oh my goodness who wants to read what I have to say, this is only my 2nd year of gardening.”  I have the heart of a homesteader but no land or experience.  Over the last few months I have been thinking, Brooke probably thought I forgot about her request, but really I just didn’t know what gardening knowledge I would have to pass on to you.  

First, let me just tell you about my garden.  I live in a neighborhood on the North side of Indy, we have neighborhood rules and a small back yard that is fenced in with a pond behind us.  At first I didn’t think I would ever have room for a garden. We had a space just off our patio that I couldn’t even get grass to grow. Why on Earth did I pick that spot to grow a garden???? Well, it was the only spot that did not have a tree, a kids playhouse, sandbox, or place the kids play.  So I thought “how can I make this spot work?”  

The solution was a raised garden bed. We had lumber delivered from Lowes and my dad and husband spent the weekend putting together my 12x12 raised garden bed.  I had “garden mix soil” delivered from a local garden center and went off to Lowes to get seeds.  Our first year garden was amazing. Everything grew so well and we had a wonderful variety of plants.  I might add that I have never been the person anyone would describe as having a green thumb.  All the decorative plants around my house were picked solely based on them being no maintenance or low maintenance. We had potatoes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and snow peas. I was so proud that we grew this beautiful garden and my kids learned lessons about growing our own food. 

looking for a puma
This second year we added different varieties of lettuce and squash. Carrots were our least productive last year so I did not grow them again this year. We also added okra this year just for fun.  Unfortunately, last year we lost 2 decorative plants on the side of our house so this year I took advantage of the open spots to put in raspberry and blueberry bushes. 
Lady bugs ordered online to aphid control
 Our only trouble this year was bugs.  I am researching ideas for next year about spraying essential oil mixtures and other safe ideas for keeping bugs from eating the lettuce plants or swarming my snow peas.  My goal for next year is to add another 4x4 raised bed in a space we had to remove a tree and make it a strawberry garden.  

So although we don’t have a huge yard I am learning how to make use of our space and intermix gardening and providing homegrown foods for my family within the guidelines our neighborhood permits.  That being said, I will never stop dreaming of a day I have acres of land to have a huge vegetable garden, a fruit tree orchard  and all the other ideas I can dream up.

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