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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
And lo and behold, it actually worked!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
Do you have a rock garden? What are you growing right now? Let me know in the comments below!