things i’ve been up to in May: learning to garden!


Despite the end of the semester (and thus the end of my regular teaching schedule) at the beginning of the month, I’ve been a busy bee during May. So, now that we’re nearing the end of the month, I thought I’d play a little bit of catch-up here on the blog, starting with gardening!

Watering Mr. Zucchini

M has been very interested in growing plants and the idea of gardening, so I’m trying to let her enthusiasm carry me into the summer. I’m pretty clueless about gardening, honestly, but I’ve found friends and neighbors who are willing to give me good advice (and seedlings!) to get us started. In the photo above, M is watering the zucchini seedling that my friend surprised me with at a writing program brunch – it’s now planted in a very big pot, and seems to be doing fine.

In our other very big pot, we planted some carrot seeds:

Planted on May 17th - spotted the first little shoots of green this morning!

I don’t have a photo yet, but just this morning I spotted the first little green shoots coming up…here’s hoping they keep growing and we can actually get carrots out of this!

Since our backyard is a disaster, we don’t really have much in the way of gardening plans beyond those two big pots. Instead, I’ve adopted a bed in the new collaborative garden that I helped install with my neighbors and some United Way volunteers (who happened to be folks I knew from the U of R library, where my writing program office is located).

Helping build a fence

Wielding the sledgehammer

We spent 5 hours working together to build raised beds and a fence, and to move some compost into the beds…doesn’t it look fantastic?

We built all these beds AND put in the fence, working from 9am to 2pm. I had so much fun working with my neighbors!

I had so much fun working on this project!

Happy and tired, after installing a new cooperative garden with my neighbors at the local elementary school.

Our Swillburg neighborhood is collaborating with School #35, and will be helping to keep the students’ beds growing strong over the summer, as well as keeping our own beds going. The soil was delivered while we were in Ohio (for Memorial Day weekend), so now that we’re back in town, I’ve got to get over there to claim my bed, and put some seedlings in it. I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll be planting besides tomatoes, so I’m open to advice about things that would not be too challenging for a newbie gardener, and that might interest a 3.5 year old, too. And of course, it needs to be stuff we’d actually eat, so no beets (I just think they taste like dirt), but other than that…I don’t know, peppers? Eggplants? Peas? Spinach? Radishes? It’s an 8’x4′ bed, so there’s plenty of space. I am so clueless, but you can only learn by trying, right?


5 thoughts on “things i’ve been up to in May: learning to garden!

  1. Laura

    Fun fun! I’m so excited about your garden. Eggplants & peppers are pretty easy. Likely too late for peas… Good luck!

  2. Green or purple (string) beans! They’re really easy to grow and prolific. I would suggest browsing a seed site or two and just looking at what’s popular and what you like. I LOVE zucchini so if I had actual space I would grow multiple – maybe a yellow, round, or striped variety. Check out square foot gardening for arranging things! And let me know if you have any questions I can try to answer :)

  3. becca

    You’ll definitely want to add a wire fence to keep out bunnies, squirrels, deer, racoons, and the occasional small person. :)

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