Digging up grass takes a long time, or I just have a short attention spanMy family and I have now been in our new house for about one year. Last summer I was very responsible and only accomplished the following garden goals:

  • Uncover the brick path from house to garden (it was almost completely covered in grass)
  • Carefully and selectively weed the main flower garden in the rear so as not to weed actual plants
  • Slap forehead after I discover I destroyed valuable plants when I thought they were weeds
  • Create a small garden along driveway
  • Generally weed like crazy
  • Plant a few things (my “few” might look different to me than it does to you)
  • Lay out a walkway through the rear garden
  • Grow a few veggies in containers

Now that all that responsibility can be over with and more of the garden is identifiable, I’m pretty sure that this is the summer I can go to town on this yard.

We have a big yard (finally) and it has quite a bit of shade cover, which is why I have to be a bit stubborn about where I start a vegetable garden. My dear husband has a favorite option but I don’t think that location will provide enough light, and as we all know, a vegetable garden must get as much light as possible. But much of the sunniest portion of our yard is on a slight slope, so that adds a small potential twist.

I think I’ve found the answer though, and I’m so excited to get in there and dig! A wonderful friend of mine asked if I would be interested in doing a garden together with her, so I feel confident that I can accomplish this garden because I’ll have back-up. The strategy we are going to use is to plant a mounded garden rather than a traditional flat garden in skinny rows.

Edward C. Smith wrote the Vegetable Gardener’s Bible and in it he shows how a mounded garden supports root growth and leads to a superior yield, and even less weeding. I won’t go into that now, but seriously, if you haven’t heard of planting in anything but straight, flat rows, it’s definitely a trip to the library to check out his book.

Everything I’ve researched tells me that I would have been better to begin my garden preparation in the fall. Oops. I wasn’t ready in the fall! We were still watching the light and learning about our yard at that point. But if you want to be picky about it, I should have laid a garden hose out to deliniate the shape of the garden, chunked up the sod, flipped it over  in the same spot with the dirt side up, and let nature get rid of the grass. I’m in for some hard work since I wasn’t ready to commit before.

A big item to be mindful of is to only plant what you’ll eat and don’t get all crazy and start too big. If you don’t eat what you grow, what’s the fun in growing it (in a vegetable garden)? And if you make a jumbotron garden right away, chances are that you’ll get overwhelmed and begin resenting it halfway through the season. Start with something managable and filled with yummy stuff your family likes!

Now the big dilema is whether to wait to start planting. It has been so unseasonably warm in Minnesota that a big part of me thinks I’m a fool to wait. Lettuce, broccoli and a few other things actually like the cold and so might do just fine now even if it does get cold again. But you can see me exercising my self control in the photo below because I’m only planting pansies…for now.

See how restrained I am by only planting pansies?!

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