For most people learning from mistakes, although difficult, serves a great benefit. They know what to do or more importantly what not to do next time. However, for some the equation they learn looks something like this: I failed; I clearly did something wrong; I obviously don’t know what I’m doing; I can’t do this so I quit.
This is the first year that I have had a garden and as you can imagine it has been a festival of fail. Here’s what I mean:
Hello community! My name is Ray and I plan to become a regular contributor to this site. Being, “new to the crew” I felt an introduction was called for. To start my introduction I have to confess… I’m not in the ‘Burbs. So, you may ask yourself what I’m doing here. Here’s how I see it: Despite my rural location I have challenges not so different from those of the suburban gardener (which I will explain later). I believe that my vantage point of our common challenges and sharing how I overcome them may be of benefit to the ‘Burb community. My goal, first and foremost, is to share the knowledge I get through trial and error to others so they don’t have to experience the error part.
So, how did I get here?
The short of it is this: I grew up with Mike and Jeremy and they are, and always will be lifelong friends. Mike told me about his and Kristy’s gardening efforts (of which I knew nothing about) and in turn I told him about mine (to which he was equally oblivious). When we realized we were on the same track Mike told me about the site and I checked it out. The first posts I read were, “Who Do They Think They Are?” and, “What’s This All About?” First of all, if you haven’t read those two posts yet get over to the General tab and check those out. Anyways, as soon as I had finished reading those two articles I knew that I was in complete agreement with what they were doing. Furthermore, I knew that anything I could contribute would compliment, not conflict with what was going on here.
What those two articles impressed upon me most was that this is where it starts. That most of us not only take the systems of support that we rely on (in this case food) for granted, but that we usually contribute little or nothing to them ourselves. This is where it started for me: I will no longer be solely a consumer who relies on the producer. That if only minimally at first, that I too will become a producer. That I will increase my production until I am no longer dependent.
My mission and reason for coming onboard with this site is to help other people. While I don’t know much now I want to learn through the experience. I only hope that I articulate my experience well enough that you can use it to add to your own knowledge base. I thank you all for the opportunity to contribute to the community.
Ok, So I thought that I would throw out a quick update.
Jeremy and I had planned to spend all of the afternoon working outside and planting more of the veggies we had planned on getting in the ground. Unfortunately, we were greeted this morning by more rain….cold, windy, gross rain. So we have once again had to postpone further work in the gardens. We are really anxious to get the rest of our stuff out so that we can focus on getting everything in order. Plus camping season is upon us and we would prefer to be able to go away for the weekend, instead of worrying about getting our veggies in the ground. Hopefully we will be able to accomplish this by the end of next weekend. *Fingers crossed*. Anyways, since I don’t have any new news… I figure a picture is worth a thousand words.
“Long as I remember, the rain been comin’ down…..and i wonder, still i wonder, who’ll stop the rain.” -Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I know we haven’t updated the site in a bit (Except for the sweet new theme! Thanks Jeremy!), but please keep checking back. I’m sure many of you are aware of the incredible amount of storms that have been passing through the South Eastern U.S. lately. Our progress has been greatly hampered due to these storms, and a few other factors. I’ve been down in my back (lovely situation at the ripe old age of 25), Kristy has been tied up with finishing up her last semester of College, and the same goes for Sarah. Jeremy, just like everyone else, has been very busy as well.
We’ll do our best to get some updates soon, I hear the Sun is supposed to shine for at least a day or two in the next week. As far as Kristy and I, several of our plants have taken a beating due to the storms and being unable to get them into a proper home (the outside garden). We’ll be sure to show you our failures, as well as our successes in the coming few days.
Thanks for hanging in there, we promise we’ll have more fun to share soon.
Today Sarah and I actually got started on our garden. The beds were still
in pretty rough shape from last year so there was a bit of prep work to be done.
After a little clean up and some dirt preparation we got a few things in the ground.
Since I don’t have any awesome stories of polar bears riding dinosaurs and
fighting ninjas, I’ll just skip ahead to the details.
Due to the limited space and still quite early starting time, we decided to
keep things relatively light until a few more weeks into the season. The temperature
here in Kentucky has been all over the place, so for some things it’s still a little
risky to be planting.
See a full list of what we planted and intend to plant after the jump.
*These first few articles and pictures are a little out of order because the idea for this site came about after we had already planted stuff in peat pots. So just bear with us, if you need a timeline to follow, let me know and I’ll draw one out. I’ve been going back and explaining what we did, and showing you things, but the pictures are from weeks after we purchased and planted this stuff. We just wanted to get as much information out there as possible*
Mike’s Starting Materials
Alright, so I thought I’d show you guys what I started out with. Since this is our first rodeo, Kristy and I decided to get an early start on things in case we messed something up. It turns out, our early start may have been a little bit too early, but we’ll get deeper into that in some coming posts.
What we bought:
12 – Jiffy 50 Plant Trays
3 – Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix – 16 Quart
1 – 6’ “Greenhouse” Shelf, 4 shelves
Lots of Seeds
Tomato – Box Car Willie
Watermelon – Allsweet
Lettuce – Black Seeded Simpson
Mustard – Tendergreen
Beet – Tall Top Early Wonder
Tomato – Beefsteak
Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing
Basil – Sweet
Pepper – California Wonder 300 TMR
Cayenne – Ring-O-Fire
Tomato – San Marzano
Thyme – Common
Basil – Genovese
Parsley – Moss Curled
Cayenne – Long Thin Cayenne (GMO)
Pumpkin – Dill’s Atlantic Giant (GMO)
Green Beans – Kentucky Wonder (GMO)
Some quick notes on the list of what we bought. We caught the Jiffy trays on sale in early March for about $4 cheaper than they normally are so we stocked up. The organic potting mix is pretty self-explanatory; we’re trying to remain as organic as possible. Which is why the seeds you see are almost entirely Organic Seeds. The ones marked with (GMO) are not definitely genetically modified, however they weren’t marked as Organic and we’re just going to assume that they are. We likely wont be saving seed from these. The greenhouse shelf….ohhhhh the greenhouse shelf. This thing rocks, hardcore, no kidding it’s awesome….
However, we… do not rock. Remember how I said we’d screw some things up, and this was all an adventure? Yeah well, we like to deliver on promises. Make sure you check out the “Plantegeddon!” article that’s coming up next.
What’s this all about?
Alright, now that you’ve met everyone, here’s what we’re going to do here. We’re gonna grow some food.
Simple enough right? I thought so.
We’re all just trying to gain some control over what we put into our bodies, and meet our own needs. We figure this is the most logical first step. We have dirt, we have sunshine, and we have time. The time part is very limited of course, but we’re going to make it happen. To put it into one sentence, this is the beginning our journey into Self Sustainability.
We’re not exactly Tin-Foil hat wearing folks, but we do fall into the category of “preppers” a bit. We’ll be avoiding the political gloom and doom stuff on here, but you may see the occasional post regarding disaster preparedness and stuff like that. This part of our personalities likely ties back to our parents, their parents, and beyond. Folks who lived through things like the Great Depression, and just general hard times have a different outlook on food and preparedness. Mix that in with some of the hippie new-age views of the Gardening in the ‘Burbs family, and you get what you see here; Four folks who want to know what they’re eating, where it came from, and have some stashed away for later.
In addition to the normal gardening stuff, you’ll get to enjoy some of our “contraptions”. Jeremy and Mike grew up with little money to spare. As their parents would quickly point out they were never hungry and always had everything they needed in life, but that’s not to say they had a lot left over. With that came the need to fix things when they broke, and make do with what they had. This is fairly common in rural America, but it’s lost when you get to the ‘Burbs and ‘Urbs. So, with that being said, we’ll be doing a lot of rigging, and fabrication of our own contraptions. Some of these will be garden related, some will not. However, most will have a focus on Self Sustainability. We’ll try our best to share our plans (which we don’t normally have) and finished products so that you can replicate them if they fit your particular situation.
As for the gardening, you’ll get to see our different methods of growing our own food. Jeremy uses a raised bed structure that worked very well last year. Mike will be taking his first steps into gardening, and will be tilling up some of his yard and growing some things in containers. Hopefully, at the end of the growing season, we’ll all get together and do some canning/drying/freezing of our surplus so that we can stash it away for the winter months and beyond. We’ll also be practicing some seed-saving techniques, and hopefully doing a bit of “selective breeding” of our plants.
It is important to note, that we’re striving for a very organic system. We’ve done our best to get seeds and plants that are not genetically modified, and come from organic sources. This was a bit of a task, more than it could have been, and we’ll try to get a post together covering what we did. I’m sure some people will find fault with what we did, but hey… we’re new at this and we’ll get better in time. Both of us are using composting methods and we’ll do some posts on that as well.
This should be fun, let’s get started!
Welcome to Gardening in the ‘Burbs!
We’re here to teach you absolutely nothing. We’re in absolutely no way professionals, nor do we have a clue what we’re actually doing. We’re learning with you.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s fill you in on some of the details about what’s happening here, who we are, and what you’re likely to find on this site.
Let’s start off with who we are, so that you’ll understand a little bit about us, and why we do the things we do.
Jeremy is a Computer Programmer/Developer who currently resides in Lexington, KY. He and his wife Sarah live in a Duplex with their two beautiful and rowdy Siberian Huskies, Shilah and Kita. Jeremy, though now a city dweller, grew up in the sticks of Eastern Kentucky just down the road from Mike.
Mike is a Server Administrator who currently resides in Richmond, KY. He and his girlfriend Kristy live in a house with their miniature-tiger-like cat, Sheldon. As noted above, Mike grew up in the sticks with Jeremy.
Interestingly, Sarah and Kristy also grew up just down the road from each other in the sticks of Tennessee. They’re both nursing students, with limited time, so you may not hear much from them.
So sit back, enjoy the ride and laugh with us. We’re sure to have some mis-haps, screw-ups, and likely limited success in our attempts at Gardening in the ‘Burbs.