Gardening 101 - Growing a Healthy Lifestyle

A few weekends ago Heather and I set out to start a vegetable garden and a herb garden in our back yard. Of course with the country in it's "economic crisis", having a garden saves you money and it also makes you healthier and happier. As many of you know I work at Park Seed and I have access to one of the best selection of plants in Greenwood. Since that is the case, it was a given that I got most of our plants from them. The plants we chose for our vegetable garden were: Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, and Cucumber. For the herb garden we chose: Flat leaf parsley, Basil, Mint, Chives, Rosemary, and Oregano.

The easy part was done...we bought the plants. The hard part was in front of us...actually turn a plot of land into a great garden. Luckily, we had the help of my parents and their tiller. At first Heather and I decided on a 5x5 square-foot garden, but once started reading the spacing suggestions on the plants' tags we realized it needed to be much bigger (the squash and zucchini plants are supposed to get to be 6 feet across). So we finally came up with a 10x10 square-foot garden. The tiller made quick work of chewing up the grass and compacted dirt, but of course we had to sift through all the tilled up land to get out as much of the grass as we could so we wouldn't have to weed as much throughout the season. Our next step was to plant the plants and make sure they were settled into their new home for the season.

Now what's a garden without a border? A big dirt pile with a few plants thrown in, right? So of course we had to construct a border for the garden out of 10 ft. 1 in. x 6 in. pieces of wood with 2 in. x 2 in. stakes in the corners and along the middle of each board. Now that's a good looking vegetable garden, if I do say so myself. :-)

Our Vegetable GardenNow it's on to our herb garden. We knew we needed it to be close to the house so we could jump out there and grab whatever we need when we are cooking. So we made a little spot right next to our deck that was perfect. Again we constructed a border out of the lumber and stakes, but this time we didn't till any of the ground up. We made this garden into a raised bed. We set up our 3 ft. x 3 ft. border and filled it with a variety of soils and manure. The mixture contained a dash of potting mix, a pinch of vegetable garden soil, and a handful of Black Cow manure (best stuff on the planet! Who knew that people would pay for cow dung?!?). Anyway, our raised bed has the blackest of black soil mixture and the herbs couldn't be happier. They have exploded since we first planted them and we've already used some parsley and chives.

Our Herb GardenA little disclaimer about the pictures, the herb garden hadn't been filled out with the mint and oregano yet, because Heather's mom gave us those a few days after I took the picture. Along with the missing cucumber in the vegetable garden picture.

The great thing about having your very own garden is that you save money at the grocery store and you know exactly what is in your veggies and herbs. I'm super excited about picking our very first tomato and slicing it up. We might have to make a little home-made pesto from our basil as well.

If you haven't tried growing your own garden, I say go for it! It's really not that hard and if you don't have the space for a large garden, you can try out container gardening. That's how we got started and it's progressed into this. What happens next year should be even bigger and better since we will be more experienced gardeners.


  1. Great post and thanks for the photo documentation to go along with the story. I think this is a great idea and is easily done even in yards without much room for a garden.

  2. love our little garden! i want to eat my squash now! and make a tomato sandwich so i can pretend i am at the beach.

  3. I hope that garden doesn't interfere with the horse shoe area next year. :)

  4. Great post! You guys have a great garden.

  5. I'll be over to pick some basil just as soon as you two go out of town.

  6. dude we should join our basil together and make some pesto!!!