How to Start a Garden

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Every year we have a garden and every year I learn a little bit more.  The main thing I've learned is that it IS work and the harder you work, usually the better your result.  Sometimes that's so true that you have fruits and veggies coming out your ears!   Where do you get help with gardening? One of my main sources of information and help with my garden is my friend Cherrelle.  She is simply amazing.

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Cherrelle and her family live just outside of town on 5 acres of land.  She has egg chickens, a berry orchard, fruit trees and several raised beds.  She knows all about companion planting to keep the most pests away from the goods and also to compliment each other in growing.  She has the best yield and preservation tactics I've ever personally seen and did I mention she also homeschools and manages her household?!  You can see why I turn to her when thinking about planning my garden!  Take a look at her garden plans you guys.

So before I show you what we planned for the Huggins 2017 garden take a look at a couple of hacks Cherrelle has come up with.  First of all if you are going the seed route, she said she's tried the whole saving yogurt containers and things like that but the best results really do come from those tiny greenhouses with artificial or south facing window light.  

Check out this hack to keep your sprouting seeds straight.  She draws a diagram of what is planted and marks the top left corner of the container so she will know exactly what is sprouting.  I used a sticker on my top left corner.  Speaking of seeds.  

Look at how she has her seeds organized.  She organizes them first in the box by type to make them easy to find.  Then when planning her garden she seperates them by companions, writes what is in the bag and highlights the ones that can be planted before last frost.  

Okay we can take a look at what Cherrelle helped me plan for my tiny plot.  I was shocked by how much food I can grow right in my backyard and how much space I have not been utilizing over the past few years.  Our garden is relatively small but with the help of Cherrelle and the tactics of square foot gardening I hope to have the most successful year yet.  We started out by planning around my seeds.  I signed up for Mike the Gardener's seed of the month club.  His seeds are non-GMO and heritage.  The first month you get 8 packs of seeds and every month after you get 4 packs.  They are appropriate for your zone. I signed up for 6 months and I'm excited to see how they grow.  Want to try them out with me?  Follow this link.

The seeds I had to plan around from the seed of the month club are: Collard Greens, Eggplant, Purple Bell Peppers, Centaurea Cyanus (a tall flower), Floradade Tomato, Curshaw Green Striped Pumpkin, Alyssum ( a flower) Minnesota Midget Melon, Scallop Bennings Green Tint Squash, Straight Cucumber, Heshiko Onion, Salsify, Fava Beans, Fennel.

I also have other seeds that I've collected and you'll see those planned in the garden.  To tell you the truth I've never done that well with seeds so I'm excited to see how it goes.

A few things I picked up while chatting with Cherrelle:

  • Tomatoes pair well with Carrots.
  • We put sage with my cabbage and broccoli because like any herb it defends against many pests broccoli is prone to and cabbage and army moths.
  • Marigolds are good for borders because they stink to bugs and deter them
  • Sweet Alyssum is good for borders because it attracts parasitic wasps that are a defense against caterpillars that prey on vegetables.
  • Tall flowers are a good defense for lettuces because they hide them from pests flying overhead and from the heat of the sun as summer approaches.
  • Nasturtium deter pests of all sorts.
  • Fennel is apparently very mean and must be planted away from most other things in my garden
  • Brassicas like Broccoli need to be away from other Brassicas.
  • We employed the 3 sisters technique in my small skinny bed which is corn, beans and squash.  The corn is given a head start. Then the beans grow up the stalk and the squash covers the ground discouraging weeds. Genious!  Cherrelle has adapted this technique on the other end of this bed by using sunflowers with melons (cucumber) and potatoes.
  • Radish pairs well with cucumber because it protects against cucumber beetles (she said even if I don't like radishes to plant them there)

Here's my garden plan you guys.  I am so excited.

I have one more gardening tip to share.  I am a highly visual person and usually I can visualize what things will look like but when it came to planting, this year i wanted it to be just right.  So, I had my husband put a nail along the edge of my garden every foot.  Then we were able to use yarn to section off each square foot.  It made planting the seeds I could plant so much easier than usual because I could figure out exactly what square of squares it belonged in. What do you think of my idea?

 I definitely have spring fever and the garden is tilled and ready for planting.  I'm looking forward to sharing my progress with you.  Do you garden?  What have you already been up to?  What tips and tricks do you have for me to make me more successful?  Please share your gardens with me.  I love to see what you are up to! Tag me on Facebook or Instagram or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and as always Stay Crafty!

 

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Comments 9

Guest - Lory on Tuesday, 21 March 2017 09:37

This is great information!! I tried turning the dirt in my garden yesterday, to my dismay the ground is still frozen here in northern WI ?. I love the idea of companion gardening! Thank you for all you're great tips!!

This is great information!! I tried turning the dirt in my garden yesterday, to my dismay the ground is still frozen here in northern WI ?. I love the idea of companion gardening! Thank you for all you're great tips!!
April Huggins on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:14

I'm so glad you found my post helpful! Cherrelle really is amazing when it comes to gardening and I'm happy she is so generous with her knowledge. I hope your ground is defrosted soon!

I'm so glad you found my post helpful! Cherrelle really is amazing when it comes to gardening and I'm happy she is so generous with her knowledge. I hope your ground is defrosted soon!
Nova @ Happily Ever Hauser on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 20:17

Thanks! I've been meaning to get something started in our home that we bought over 3 years ago!

Thanks! I've been meaning to get something started in our home that we bought over 3 years ago!
Guest - Melody on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 22:38

WOW!
This is so amazing!
We do a garden every year, and our #oneday dream is to have a lot of land, and a farm, and chickens, and vegetables, and the whole thing..... so I'm living vicariously right now!
I did not know about planting the one to attract the wasps who deal with the caterpillars! Oh, the things that have killed perfectly good veggies in years gone by! I'm going to be coming back to this over and over! Thank you!!!!!

WOW! This is so amazing! We do a garden every year, and our #oneday dream is to have a lot of land, and a farm, and chickens, and vegetables, and the whole thing..... so I'm living vicariously right now! I did not know about planting the one to attract the wasps who deal with the caterpillars! Oh, the things that have killed perfectly good veggies in years gone by! I'm going to be coming back to this over and over! Thank you!!!!!
April Huggins on Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:50

Yes! I have lost so much to those caterpillars as well. I'm so excited to try these new suggestions this year.

Yes! I have lost so much to those caterpillars as well. I'm so excited to try these new suggestions this year.
Kate on Thursday, 23 March 2017 04:53

This is a great post, and so helpful. Love the notion that fennel is mean and must be segregated!

My only pairing tip (that fits with what you say above) is that marigolds are great on the edges if you are growing french or broad beans because the aphids hate the smell.

This is a great post, and so helpful. Love the notion that fennel is mean and must be segregated! My only pairing tip (that fits with what you say above) is that marigolds are great on the edges if you are growing french or broad beans because the aphids hate the smell.
April Huggins on Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:51

Good tip! I had so much trouble with aphids last year!

Good tip! I had so much trouble with aphids last year!
Elmedina Goodman on Monday, 17 April 2017 22:19

Hi April.
Do you have any gardening tips for indoors/balcony. I don't think I will be able to rent my gardening lot in my building this year, but would like to do some planting on my balcony and indoors.
Any suggestions.

Hi April. Do you have any gardening tips for indoors/balcony. I don't think I will be able to rent my gardening lot in my building this year, but would like to do some planting on my balcony and indoors. Any suggestions.
April Huggins on Monday, 17 April 2017 22:36

Hi Elmedina!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the article. I'm definitely not as much as an expert as Cherrelle when it comes to gardening but I do know many herbs can grow decently indoors. As far as the balcony, you could try several things. Tomatoes can do quite well in containers and I have seen some having success with root vegetables in containers. Lettuces and spinach would also would also be good choices. I hope you much success in your gardening!

Hi Elmedina! I'm so glad you enjoyed the article. I'm definitely not as much as an expert as Cherrelle when it comes to gardening but I do know many herbs can grow decently indoors. As far as the balcony, you could try several things. Tomatoes can do quite well in containers and I have seen some having success with root vegetables in containers. Lettuces and spinach would also would also be good choices. I hope you much success in your gardening!
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