Vegetable Gardening

We have had a raised bed vegetable garden for quite a while now.

This is what I know – they are a lot of work and there is one constant battle after another: drought, rain onslaught, bugs, rabbits, deer, groundhogs.

But every year, we keep doing it.

There is something special about growing your own food – knowing exactly where it came from.

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For years we have gathered our kitchen compost and yard compost and put them in a big pile at the back of our property.

We don’t do anything much, except turning it from time to time so it hasn’t become usable very quickly.

It made us so happy this year to put usable nutrient rich compost in our beds.

Isn’t it pretty?

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We have made a lot of changes to the garden over the years, adding more beds each year.  We currently have 8.

I am not sure why, but my girls are doing the Macarena in this picture.

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I wish I could show you glorious pictures of beautiful beds surrounded by lovely pea gravel.

That was the plan, we had the ground cover in between the beds for sometime waiting for stone.

But, the reality is – we made the garden way too big to be able to afford to bring it that much stone.  Fighting the grass and weeds growing between the beds was a constant battle that became very discouraging.

Last year, we cried uncle!

We pulled up all the ground cover and put down grass seed.

Things are pretty scraggily right now, we are just getting started to get it cleaned up.

But all of the beds have weed block and either plants that we started in the house or seeds are in.

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We have a push mower – the totally human energy kind – to use to keep things trimmed up.  We are hoping after this season the grass will fill in a bit better.

If we get tired of mowing, maybe we can just bring over our new neighbor for a bit.

Although I do not believe Duchess has the ability to distinguish between unwanted and wanted greenery.

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Another change we made last year was to turn a section over to a cutting garden – something I have wanted for a long time.

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There will hopefully be lavender, peonies, hydrangeas, daisies and lilacs.

I had to pull two plants that didn’t make it.

Any suggestions for replacements?

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We also found four small snakes as we pulled back the weed cover.

I am not a fan.

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But our overgrown rosebushes are blooming and that makes me happy.

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And there is signs of life with the strawberries.

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If all goes to plan – which it never does, we will have string beans, peas, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, oregano, sunflowers, several types of peppers, pumpkins and gourds, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, three types of roses, and the above mentioned flowers.

That is of course, if our fortress holds up.

Our fencing system goes one foot into the ground to keep out the groundhogs and prevent the rabbits from going under.  It is also 7 ft high to keep the deer from jumping over.  There are two extra layers of mesh around the base to keep the rabbits from eating through the fence and there is an assortment of layers at the gate to keep all the riff raff out.

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Gardening is not for people who give up easily.

Our garden will never be featured in a magazine – it is about function, not really about pretty.  But it works for us.

And, when we are all out there as a family working hard, or when we all sit around the table and shuck peas for freezing, I know we are doing right by our girls.

We are teaching them the traditions of my husband’s childhood and we are creating new traditions of our own.

We are teaching them about working hard and sticking to it.

And nothing beats their faces when they are eating fresh raspberries!

How about you, do you have a vegetable garden?

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9 thoughts on “Vegetable Gardening”


  1. Crikey…you lost me at the snakes!! Keep gardening though…my husband says it’s very satisfying. I say it is if he does it. 🙂

  2. I do have a veggie garden. This is the 3rd year. I think this year is going to be a hard year as all of a sudden, our barren little sub division has rabbits. We haven’t had any up until this last year. We took over the back portion of the someday lot behind us. It was supposed to be the next phase to our development. That isn’t happening anytime soon. So, until it does, it is our garden. It is about 80 ft. wide (the width of our lot) by 12 ft. deep. We have raspberry bushes, a few strawberry plants that came back from last year. We are planting corn, pumpkins, zucchini, butternut squash, a few varieties of peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, cukes, carrots and tomatoes. Oh and onions too, I think. We planted peas and beans last year, but they didn’t come up so well. So this year, we are passing on doing them. We planted all the seeds this weekend. Today is the plants we bought for our garden. Here is a photo of some of our little garden. My sweet boy LOVES to help. 🙂

  3. Oh my….I am in awe of your garden…and can’t wait to see the cutting garden that you have been longing for…My favorite thing?….Duchess!!…What a cutie!!!….and of course the girls…Macarena in the garden…what fun!!…Made me smile from ear to ear!!…

  4. Laura,
    I am impressed. Thank goodness you have something to keep you busy……
    My wife and I have gardened at just about every place we’ve lived but not at current house. Just no place to put it. We love all the trees but seem to hit roots every time we dig a hole. When I planted hostas up by the house I had to locate them to one side or the other of the Maple tree roots. Thank goodness for the “back fence neighbor” that grows enough to share, and the farmers market on saturdays that are a wonderful way to shop and visit.

  5. I suggest Zinnia’s for your cut garden. You can grow them from seed and the girls will love them:)

  6. Zinnias are a good suggestion. I don’t know why, but Stella d’oro lillies seem to be everywhere around here, and they seem to be a hardy little plant. Do Cosmos grow well in your area?

  7. Oh and I also remember reading somewhere that marigolds help deter snakes…but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

  8. We are in the process of putting in a garden in our new home. We planted 11 lilac bushes yesterday, and this week we’ll construct the raised beds for strawberries and raspberries. Have you thought about Daylilies and Ladies Mantel for your replacements?

  9. How cool! I grew up with my parents always having a section of our small yard for gardening and I remember how cool that was so I started one a few years ago when my kids were young. We all lost interest, me because it’s hot in Texas and them, well because they were kids. I would love to have a section of yard to be able to do half of what you do!