Rock Garden: Before and After Photos

Hey guys,

If you’ve been following me at all, you’ve already seen my post about the mixed flower and vegetable garden that we have out front. The main garden (aka the rock garden) that I use for growing veggies is located on the other side of the house, at the top of a small hill where there used to be a field of grass and rocks.

Just for fun, I’ve made three side-by-side comparison photos of the rock garden so you can see the difference.

Rock garden before and after pictures: Back view

Rock garden before and after pics: front view

Rock garden: before and after pics, lengthwise view

The first step involved digging up the largest rocks closest to the surface, so they wouldn’t get in the way of root growth. They were then rolled to the side and arranged in a circular shape to form the “walls” of the garden. Full credit goes to my father for doing this difficult task.

grassy field in the spring, before digging up the rocks

garden area with rocks dug out

The next step was bringing in soil and adding it to the growing area. I did maybe 10 trips up the hill with the wheelbarrow and a bunch of trips with a bucket. My father did all the rest.

big pile of soil at the bottom of the hill with a wheelbarrow

the garden at the top of the hill, partially filled with soil.

I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but we added a thick layer of cardboard, old newspapers, and dead leaves before laying down the soil. I knew that it would help attract earthworms, plus it would add more bulk to the soil. I did most of the mixing and raking to ensure an even spread of soil through the growing area.

rock garden now filled with soil and seedlings.

By the time we’d prepared the garden, it was warm enough to add most of my seeds and seedlings. Those plants that are growing already, on the right side of the photo, are the garlic bulbs my father planted last fall.

A lesson I learned from last gardening season is to protect tomato seedlings from cut worms by covering the stems. I used bits of cardboard cut into strips and taped at the ends to make small tubes.

[For a useful tutorial on making paper cuffs, check out this blog post over at Dave’s Garden.]

close view of tomato seedlings with little cardboard tubes wrapped around the stems

And lo and behold, it actually worked!

topdown view of tomato seedlings, now several inches tall

tomato plant that was grown from seed, now fully grown

My tomato seedlings usually die, so I’m happy to have so many survive into adulthood.

The eggplant seedlings also did well. I’d bought a pack of pre-grown eggplant seedlings in case mine died, but that turned out to be unnecessary.

eggplant seedlings on the windowsill

topdown view of eggplant (grown from seed) and celery growing in the rock garden

It’s doing pretty well, isn’t it? I have it next to the celery in this photo because I wasn’t sure if it would survive. I ended up moving it elsewhere to give the celery more room.

The eggplants from the garden center are flowering and fruiting much faster than the ones from seed, so I’m still glad to have them.

wide view of eggplants, beets, arugula, and other seedlings in the rock garden, early in the spring

updated photo of beets, arugula, eggplants in the rock garden now fully grown

closeup of an eggplant flower closeup of an eggplant fruiting on the plant

I’ve never had my eggplant plants grow so tall before! I think that’s partly because of the mushroom compost in the soil as well as the regular watering. The plants at my old garden plot didn’t really get a regular watering, since it wasn’t feasible for me to bike over there every day. Having a garden next to the house is much more convenient. Also, it doesn’t hurt that my father set up an irrigation system for this garden.

To the left of the eggplants are the beet plants my mother bought for me (thanks, mom!). In front of the beets are several arugula plants I grew from seed. You can see them already in the above photos, but here’s a better view.

close view of arugula and beets when first planted

updated view of arugula and beets, now fully grown

The arugula was slow to start and then grew like crazy. I’ve mostly used it for salads and homemade pesto. I’ve harvested the beets already, which I’ll talk about later in another post.

The other plants I’m very excited about are the parsnips. I couldn’t grow them in my last garden plot due to the soil being so heavy in clay. Thankfully, the soil here is loose enough to grow root veggies. Yay!

closeup of parsnip seedlings in the spring update of parsnip seedlings in the early summer

The plants have grown much larger since I took this photo, but you get the general idea. The seeds actually germinated, and nothing ate the seedlings.

I also have a zucchini plant. Despite planting the seeds a bit later in the season, I think it’ll grow at least a few zucchinis before the frost comes.

zucchini seedlings that just came up update of zucchini plant (just one now) and nasturtiums growing next to it

Like the parsnips, this zucchini plant is also much bigger than currently shown.

I should probably also mention the pepper plant and yellow tomato plant. Since I didn’t grow them from seed, I don’t feel quite as attached to them, but here they are.

closeup of a bell pepper, still green and immature

yellow pear tomato plant, still small yellow pear tomato plant, now enormous closeup of yellow pear tomatoes growing, still green and immature

The yellow tomato plant is disappointing in the sense that it grew to be enormous yet didn’t produce many flowers. I tried to fix that problem by trimming the extra branches and adding a fertilizer mix higher in P and K. I still can’t really tell if that helped or not. Ah well. It does have some tomatoes!

[for more info on fertilizing tomatoes, I recommend reading this tomato growing guide over at Dengarden.]

I also have marigolds and different herbs, such as rosemary and oregano, but I won’t get into that today. I just wanted to show off my rock garden, which now looks a bit like this:

back view of rock garden filled with lush, fully-grown plants

Do you have a rock garden? What are you growing right now? Let me know in the comments below!

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