21. Start a garden

Hello friends! We are back at that time of year when I realize that my next birthday is right around the corner and I haven’t done anything in approximately 4 months. So for the next few days I will be catching up on my posts. Let’s get started:

I’ve been wanting a garden for the past few years. It started in Indianapolis when I lived in an apartment with a beautiful backyard (I lovingly referred to it as my English Garden), but someone had already done some amazing landscaping work back there and I didn’t want to interfere. When I came back, I was living with my dad and his wife (in an also beautifully landscaped place) so I had to wait. And then last year I moved into my apartment in June, so I didn’t have time to start seedlings or anything. Finally, this was my year.

Unfortunately, spring crept up on me and I still didn’t start any seedlings. But I had read a bunch of books and websites so I felt confident that I didn’t need the seedlings and could still be successful with direct seeding. Over Memorial Day weekend I headed to Home Depot to buy my supplies.


Hatchbacks: a DIY’ers best friend!

Once I got home (and cleared it with my landlord), I found the perfect spot for my garden (or so I thought…more on that later):


A small space between my apartment building and the garage (to the left). The amount of weeds and greenery in the wooden box gave me hope this would be a great location. (I was wrong…)


Due to lack of “backyard” space, I decided on a 4×4 raised garden with a trellis.



And filled it with some soil.


From this angle, you can see the string for the trellis. This was going to be for tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans. And don’t worry, I ended up filling the rest of the bed with soil.

I read a few gardening books and knew that I wanted to do some companion planting, so I made myself a map of what I wanted to plant and spent a morning planting and labeling my soon-to-be crops.


Taking my organization skills to a new level!

2 weeks later, things looked promising!


I was like a proud mama watching my little plants grow.

And a few weeks later, even more progress!


Along the in the back are cucumbers and pole beans. Along the left are squash and pumpkin, and then a few herbs sprinkled throughout.

I’m not sure what happened after this, but things took a turn. I imagine it was from the lack of sunlight (instead of getting 6-8 hours a day, this location really only gets around 2-3). I also never added compost to the soil (which is annoying because I have free compost from my worm bin!) – that was out of pure laziness. Either way, here’s how things look today:


That cucumber is still going strong. The pole bean and squash are hanging on by a thread. Most everything else that has sprouted has completely given up.


But I did find a glimmer of hope…carrots!


So it looks like things are still growing, albeit slowly. I did also notice a couple of herbs hanging on that I might try to transfer into a pot and put on my balcony for some more sunlight.

Even though this wasn’t the post I was hoping to share (I really wanted to show everyone the bountiful amount of produce I had harvested), this was a great learning experience. Next year I’ll talk to my landlord about finding a spot with more sunlight, I’ll plan ahead and get started with some seedlings, and I’ll be sure to add compost to the soil.

If you have any advice for how to save the rest of my dying crops, please share!