Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

Our First Garden: Part Two

by Tara

After countless hours of pulling tendril after tendril of thick, white, quack grass roots from the ground, it was finally time to plant. Beginning a garden a full week after the very latest recommended planting date probably wasn't the greatest idea—would we even be able to harvest anything before the frost?—but we decided to go for it anyway.

Dark Minnesota Soil Tara Poking Two-Inch Holes for Seeds Tyler Filling in the Holes Watering the Garden

After the seeds were in the ground, properly spaced and tucked in with a blanket of soil, we checked the garden every morning for any signs of life. Finally, some green sprang forth from those tiny, dry, seemingly inert pods, and we marveled at their birthing process, feeling inordinately protective of the little seedlings.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Anaïs Nin
Radish Seedlings Cantaloupe Seedling About to Emerge New Life Growing Baby Beans!

Besides the little seeds we planted, there were also larger, heartier specimens to set in the ground. I planted tomatoes and peppers, and soon enough, adorable, baby versions of their future edible selves began to appear, dangling from the plants. Why are small things automatically cuter? Grow, babies, grow!

Digging a Hole for the Pepper Plant Tara Planting a Pepper Plant Tara Watering the Pepper Plant Itty Bitty Baby Pepper Baby Pepper Itty Bitty Baby Pepper! Tomato Plant

For the last few years, Jodi has used hay for the paths in her peace-sign-shaped garden. This year, while we were buying seeds, Tyler and I did the math and found out how much pea gravel it would take to cover them in a more permanent fashion. We got to work as soon as the rock arrived!

Huge Truck Dumping Pea Gravel Pea Gravel Delivery! Tyler Shoveling Pea Gravel Jodi Smoothing Gravel Tyler Dumping Gravel w/ New Wheel Barrow Jodi Smoothing Gravel Jodi Finds an Evil Dandelion

A few weeks later: ugly, evil beetles have eaten the marigolds which were supposed to protect our garden from deer. Deer or rabbits have mowed down our green beans and eaten the sugar snap pea plants. No sign of spinach. No sign of radishes. No sign of eggplant or okra. Next year we are definitely going to be prepared with research about permaculture and weedless gardening.

Baby Tomatoes Baby Peppers Japanese Beetles on Marigolds Japanese Beetles



It's been a very tough year on a lot of gardens. So much rain, heat and humidity have really taken tolls. But I applaud you for trying! And you can still plant kale and a few other fall crops.
Posted by Mary on August 8th, 2011 at 1:30 PM
After spending a couple of days cycling through the French countryside and its villages I'm feeling more inspired than ever about our future garden! French gardens make me absolutely giddy. So *so* looking forward to following your homesteading journey!
Posted by Katherine on August 9th, 2011 at 2:54 PM
Mary - That makes me feel marginally better about our sad, sad garden! Thank you so much for having us over yesterday, and thank you for the basil! I'm off to make pesto. :-)

Katherine - I can't wait to read about your time in France! Did you wear a beret and carry a baguette while cycling? ;-) I can't wait to be pursuing our homesteading journey!
Posted by Tara on August 10th, 2011 at 8:44 AM