HSV Garden Challenge #2

A current photo (sprouts, buds? Or has that snow melted yet?) 

Well, I decided that although worn, our garden boxes had a few more years in them. So, I rearranged them, put them closer together and was able to add 3 more 4x4 boxes and a 3x13 box for a total of 199 square feet in the back yard (231 if you count the strawberry bed).

Here is the garden area, in progress, last week:

So far we have planted garlic and onion sets. . . 

I used the end of the hoe to punch holes in the soil and let the little ones place the sets in the ground, pointy side up ~ 4 per square foot for onions and I originally had 5 per square foot for the garlic, but we had a few extra, so I made room (much to my little ones' delight). I've read that some go up to 9, but I wanted to be generous with the spacing, hoping for larger bulbs.  

I've read that you can plant some seeds outside and they will sprout when the conditions are right. . . let's hope so. :D 

Trying to organize the craziness and decide what to plant.

Indoors, my starts are coming along. These were taken last week ~ I was excited to see some green. =) 

Russian Mammoth Sunflower

Roma Tomato

Last year, I used a light hut on a table in the dining room and it worked wonderfully. This year, I cleaned out the mud room (which has windows on three sides), set up a table and hung a plant light... it does not stay as warm as the dining room because the kids are always leaving the back door open, but it will hopefully warm up soon. And it will be super easy to harden them off ~ all I have to do is open the big windows and the door during the day for a week, and then day and night for a few days ~ no more carrying trays and trays of starts outside and in, over and over again!

Any unexpected hiccups (bugs, rabbits, weather, etc.) 

  • We have a known squirrel problem. To keep them away from digging in my onion/garlic bed we covered them with netting and we called the city to have them set traps.  
  • We have also had some inclement weather (snow and rain). 
  • Jordan's 1-ton broke down on the way home from getting the compost. We towed it home and thought we had it running, so we loaded it back up with our green waste pile (in our town, you can exchange green waste for compost at the landfill), but we never made it.  I need about one half of a ton more compost. Luke's starter is out on his truck up at the property, and our 1-ton (a '72) needs tires. So, we borrowed the Y truck to get the cattle panels for the fence. I have a while before I can plant anyways, so there is time.
  • Also, vermiculite doubled in price this year and I wasn't willing to pay $60 for a bag that I used to pay $20 for a few years ago. I was willing to fork out $30 last year, but not $60. So, I'm not using "Mel's Mix." Just compost and peat moss. 

New books/resources I am using:

I thought I'd also mention a few that have been very helpful to me in the past:

One thing I have learned so far from gardening (besides it requires patience) 

  • That a garden challenge really helps in the motivation department. ;-)
  • That buying the trays and inserts from a local greenhouse, is more economical than buying seed starter kits.
Delightful Links: (more gardening posts I've written)

I'm looking forward to living vicariously through everyone else's gardening posts and dreaming of what sunny days may bring after all this rain! 


  1. Oh I'm trying not to covet your new square foot garden beds! :) I really, really want to put 2 new ones in at home. Not sure it's going to get done though. I hadn't priced Vermiculite here yet. Yikes! That is expensive! I paid about $25 for a huge bag a couple years ago.

  2. I figured if we put in some new ones, then we could rotate the old
    ones when they wear out. =) I wasn't sure anything would get done,

    I saw some at Walmart, but it looked like a smaller bag. But, I'd
    check there to compare. I'm off to check out your post! I have it
    pulled up. =)

  3. oo look at all of those beds just waiting for the weather to cooperate!! Yay!!

  4. what a fantastic idea to use the other end of the hoe! My finger nails are still dirty from using my hands! *blush

    Thanks for joining us and linking up !!!

  5. Your garden area looks wonderful! It is so great to see the kids involved with the garden! I pray you have many bright sunny days to geminate all those wonderful seeds!

  6. Your new beds look great! Thank you for sharing the books that you are using. I must try one of them. We finished filling our beds with our garden soil last night. We have been getting a lot of rain and chilly temps here too, so I'm not sure when we will be able to plant yet. :)

  7. Gardening with Children is another great resource for some science oriented gardening. LOVE all your raised beds! Happy Gardening!

  8. Thank you! and thanks for the tip, too. =)

  9. Thank you! The first book is neat ~ it would be fun to do so many of
    the projects ~ I'm thinking of picking a new one each year. We are
    still chilly here too ~ in fact we woke up to our world covered with
    snow. Malachi said, "I just don't feel like snow today." (lol)
    Thankfully, it is warming up already. Hope your season is long and

  10. Wow, Michelle--what a great gardening area. I also love the book resources you shared too. I'm looking forward to watching the progress of your plantings :)

  11. I am dreaming of an indoor seed starting area like yours, lucky girl!

  12. Awww I love this....We are starting some other stuff sunday, I hope!! I still not feeling it...but I am so glad/excited to see all your seeds...!
    Much Love

  13. Well, with the snow and rain... and a month or more before I can
    plant, it has been hard to get into it... hope you get lots done

  14. ha ha, thank you! I'm terrible about wearing gloves, but I've heard
    that a bar of soap works wonderfully ~ you scratch your fingernails
    into the bar so the soap sticks under your fingernails - then you just
    wash the soap out when you are done gardening. :D

  15. Wow! Your beds look great! Excited to see all the beauty that you are able to harvest from them. My herbs are taking off here:-)