A garden story…and a question

hello wonderful reader friends! 
As you may remember, one of my goals this year was to plant a garden.

And I did.
And I will tell you all about it.

But first, will you answer a question for me?
Would you buy one of these?

It’s a handmade, hard-bound journal. A repurposed old book.
I made this very first one for my husband for Christmas, and I have been thinking about opening an Etsy shop and selling them.

This one has maps, some of the original pages of book, and even an envelope for keepsakes!

Sooo…would you? Please understand my question – I am not asking will you (i.e. if I open this store I expect you to buy one) – no, no, no. I am asking would you. In other words, is this something that you or someone you know would ever be interested in? Is it a place I should invest some time and labor?

Leave me a message if you can – I would love to know your thoughts!

But back to the garden.
My darling little girl came 9 days early. That threw a little kink in my plans.
But my husband was so amazing – he still built me my raised bed, then filled it up with dirt.

Why yes, that is a trash can acting as a wheelbarrow! We do it African-style around here 🙂

I planted with great hopes.
Broccoli, melon, 3 kinds of tomatoes, zuchinni, squash, bell pepper, mint, basil, sage…

Yes, in a 4×4 raised bed.
Ha! If any of you have any garden experience you will quickly see that I didn’t. None. Obviously.
I planted enough to cover my whole backyard. Except I put it into a 4×4 raised bed. Nice 🙂

Well, nature quickly took over.
I planted about 3 weeks too late. And it’s been obvious.

The broccoli bolted (which it is doing in the picture above. Unfortunately, when I took this picture, I didn’t know that was possible. I just thought “O look! My broccoli is making pretty flowers!”
FYI for all of you other non-gardeners out there. It isn’t supposed to do that.)
My melon never took.
My zuchinni and squash gave me one nice little vegetable. Then everything wilted & died. I tried self-pollinating. I tried watering. I tried it all. I have no idea what happened.
Of my 3 tomato plants, only 1 has given me any produce. Exactly 2 tomatoes thus far…but more to come! The other plants? Yep, they are dying.

I have gotten lots of basil! And sage. And mint.
My pepper plant is growing small little peppers. But I just noticed the bottom of one of them is rotting….hm, why?

But, my 30 before 30 goal was stated as this: “Plant a garden and grow tomatoes”

Therefore, I would like to consider this year a success.

My landlord came over the other day & said (in his wonderful South African accent), “You know no one is getting tomatoes this year? It’s just too hot” That made me feel lots better.

I have learned a few things:

1. Zuchinni and squash need LOTS of room. Like they could have used that whole 4×4 bed. The melon would have taken up most of it too…if it had grown.

2. You can self-pollinate a zucchini if it’s not flowering well. This didn’t work for me, but I am glad I know it now. YouTube has lots of videos on how to do this.

3. Mulch is important! It helps keep weeds at bay, keeps the dirt from packing down after rain, and keeps roots cool (which is important for plants that get to hot…and bolt).

4. Basil, mint and broccoli will “bolt” if it gets too hot. Bolting is simply flowering. The plant knows its not going to make it much longer & so it will try to flower so it can spread it’s seeds and grow the next year! There are ways to stop this (right now I am harvesting basil nearly 3x a week to keep it from bolting!), but I didn’t know that before my broccoli did it.

4. Gardening takes work & patience. Well, I knew that, but I am enjoying discovering it for myself. I have really LOVED learning all about vegetables, and I am eager to plant a fall garden in a few weeks & see how that goes!

 And that is my garden story – hope you enjoyed! I am happy to give you any tips I have…which are few, but ask away!

P.S. Don’t forget to tell me your thoughts on the journal!

Enjoying my little journey,
~ Melissa


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Caren story on July 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I would totally buy a journal like that! Very cool idea!


  2. Posted by Heather on July 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    would love to buy one!!!


  3. Posted by Myndi McCallum on July 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Hey! I think the journal is ADORABLE. So creative and unique! Would be a great gift, for sure! So, YES, I ‘would buy it’. 🙂

    I love that you had a garden and are not giving up! Just ask God to give you a green thumb! We know He’ll give you the desires of your heart!! I want to have a garden one day, too! Keep it up – I look forward to seeing your fall garden pics!!! =) ~Myndi~


  4. Posted by Lois Lewis on July 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I would defiantly buy that type of journal. Always looking for a new unique place to scroll thoughts. AND thanks for the broccoli tips and gardening tips in general. I, like you, planted very late. Let’s just say I have high hopes but low expectations for this garden dear – seems fitting for this new season of life ;). Peace sister.


  5. your blog is delightful!! i just saw you post a link on FB & had to come take a look. 🙂
    just to answer your question…i would totally buy that type of journal…it’s almost somethink like that or nothing at all for me. haha it’s awesome!
    nicely done on the garden by the way! enjoy the fruits of your labor. 😉


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