4/13/09

Gardening: One of the 12 Homemaking Skills

Have you ever made a radish wreath?  Neither have I.  Although.... I have ding dong ditched neighbors with bags of zucchini and tomatoes when the veggies start taking over the house.  I sneak out in the middle of the night and deliver groceries to anyone who I think would take them.  Those of you who keep gardens know what I'm talking about... those who don't keep gardens... we want you in the club!  

Spread the word on Pretty Organized Palace's Dare To Dream Homaking series.  This series touches on 12 Subjects every Homemaker should know.  Grab the image and link back to www.PrettyOrganizedPalace on your blogs!  


I love to garden.  For me, it is on my list of 12 things to know that bring an inner peace and satisfaction to homemaking.  There is something sweet and timeless about the law of the harvest... even my children understand it.  The sweat (and in AZ I mean SWEAT) and the back pain and the blisters involved in planting and keeping a garden all yield a proportional joy and satisfaction in a good harvest and the feeling that for a season, you were able to feed your family and maintain some degree of self reliance.  And in this day... these principles are needed more and more.  So where do you start?
This is the Gardening Bible in the West.  I guess they have similar bibles in the central and eastern areas... can't imagine they'd leave out 2/3rds of the US!  You can get this book at Amazon for between .05 to 10.00 used.  It tells you everything: What to plant around pools, when to plant veggies, how to's, pruning, what bug just killed your lemon tree, the name of every plant with a picture to go with it... EVERYTHING.! Over the years it has been my resource... my special bathroom book... yes, I admit... how completely brash and uncouth. 
Before you plant a garden you need to know a little about the zone you live in.  Check out the Sunset site link here for your zone.  This zone calculates temperature, rain fall and soil conditions and lets you know what you can and cannot plant in your particular area.  I've lost my fair share of beautiful plants from Home Depot because I bought what looked pretty, ignoring the fact that it came from Hawaii and was brought for a seasonal promotion only to die a torturous death in the Arizona sun.
This is a garden from Pennsylvania.  I KNOW, I cannot grow many of these beauties in my AZ garden due to temperature and my darn inability to remember to water.... my one gardening handicap.  It's amazing how well your garden does when the water is regular and plentiful.   For the basics on gardening try the Sunset website at this link.  You'll find useful how to's you can start while you're waiting for that book you've ordered!  Will someone from Sunset please send me my commission for selling these babies?  
Once you've decided what zone you're in, you need to decide if you're going to garden in the God given ground or in a built raised bed, or in containers.  Neither is wrong... I plant in a raised bed so I can control the soil I use.  I prefer the easy square foot gardening method. It's a great one for beginners and those with limited space. Of course you can also use timeless row gardening.

If you're new to gardening I suggest trying these: Tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, green onions, and peas.  My experience has been that these are easy to keep and yield a great meal in minutes.  Of course, I don't have a garden like Martha Stewart here... she can scrounge up a meal for the USS Ronald Reagan... a little plug... anyone attending a tea party on Wednesday?... or still reading this post?

Oh, and don't forget to plant those radishes... if for nothing more than making that fabulous radish wreath!


Will you be gardening with me this summer? Pretty Please?

 Don't forget to visit my good friend Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for her Tastey Tuesday party!

22 comments:

Mom in High Heels said...

That radish wreath is a killer. I don't imagine it would last very long though, what with the wilting and all.
I'm not a big gardener (because I'm allergic to EVERYTHING), but we are doing some container gardening this year. Indy loves to grow stuff so we planted tomatoes, spinach and beans on our window sill. We transplanted them to large containers yesterday. Much sneezing was involved.

Ells said...

Oh Pretty Organizer, I gardened last year and I am not sure I can commit to such a thing again! We live in the desert also (the Mojave), and I cannot keep up with the twice-daily watering that is essential for anything to survive. Bunnies thought I'd planted a paradise specifically for them, and the tarantula hawks swarmed whenever I watered. The sunflowers and watermelon vines took over our 20'x10' military housing yard and the neighbors started referring to it as "The Jungle." Except for the corn - it was humorously stunted and tasseled at 18" tall.

We did enjoy a few watermelons, about 10 tomatoes, some tiny lettuce leaves, and tons of basil. Like you, I gave away the abundance to everyone - my violin students could not escape without a bag of basil!

So this year I was thinking I'd do something a little less high-maintenance, like one pot of begonias in my kitchen window. :)

Astrid said...

I love that radish wreath! That's what I should have done with my radishes that turned fiery hot a few years ago (I think growing them in hot summers will do that).

I've been gardening ever since I can remember. Seriously. It's in my blood. My gardens keep expanding every year and I don't intend to stop. Eventually I think I'll take over the entire front lawn with just a swath of grass left. I've got 13 raised beds for veggies. For myself I've found that raised beds are the way to go. Easier to weed.

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

yes....tea parties rule....
great post...I enjoyed it...I've been researching lasagna gardening...it sounds like an easy way to grow a few veggies...

~Carole said...

You have a great blog here, and I really enjoy it!

I've added the image (with the link, of course) to my blog.

Donna@designson47thstreet said...

A radish wreath?? LOL! That's a new one! Yes, my husband and I together have planted a garden every year (I'm pretty sure) of our 38 yrs. of marriage. He came from a family of gardeners and so did I.

I would love to try the raised beds but we never have. We are just now gearing up to start planting some cool weather veggies...think Zone 5...brrrrr

Kristen said...

My DH and I live in an apartment, so I will have a very small container garden - does that count?

Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Yea, my friend. I just took pictures of the whole family working on our garden this weekend. Now, I can just mention our working together as a family and send them to you to read this amazing gardening post. I am always so excited about it right now and then when it's 100 degrees and haven't had rain in weeks, I begin to fade. I must do better this year. Hoping to finally have a great crop of raspberries. I keep planting more and more and they are finally spreading. Yipee.

Bill and Maggie said...

Thanks you for deciding to post this first! It was SO timely for me. I live in an apartment and decided to try some container gardening this year - including some veggies this time (I've always had flowers). But I live in an entirely new area (Northwest --> Southeast) and I just hopped on and hoped for the best. (And I do actually have a few things growing!)
Somehow I got roped into talking about container gardening tonight at church...??
Anyhoo, I wanted to say thank you for the links, book ideas and a few simple tips.

Meredith said...

Oh my gosh - I have had that first picture of raised beds in my 'I wanna do this" file for ages! Every year I say "this is the year". I should garden. I want to...

Amy said...

I love gardening!

At the moment we have a small garden space. Perfect for tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans, and a few herbs.

Gardening is relaxing for me and a great learning tool for the kids!

L-O-V-E your homemaking skills series idea! I'm sure many people will be blessed!

Have a great day!

Steph said...

I have a garden too. A hail storm almost wiped me out a couple of weeks ago, but all the plants seem to be rebounding. The poor cucumber plant looks the worst, but it's looking better by the day. I love gardening, just something about watching it grow and produce is magical to me. Thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm a beginner and am trying to learn and do as much as I can while living in a small apartment with an even smaller balcony. The Mister and I cannot wait to get some land of our own and now we will know what to plant!

Moody said...

great article,,,, so i wanted to share one that i liked as well with you.
http://www.zcouple.com/2009/04/couples-ten-business-strategies-to.html

gopg8r said...

Wow ... I like the square foot gardening method. Will have to try that this year. Last year I tried tomatoes, green beans and some other things in containers. I was successful but I COULD NOT STAND the slugs!!! They were everywhere! After picking off and killing 60+ slugs in a few weeks, I gave up. I'm going to try again with some raised beds when we get settled in our next house.

Oh, and I would be at a tea party FOR SURE if I was in the states!! Instead, I will be with you guys in spirit from Germany!!!!

sweetfunkyvintage said...

I love that wreath! I just planted my raised bed garden last week here in Southern California. I also put two "topsy turvy tomato planters" up - wish me luck with those. Thanks for the links you included. I am dying to find out if I can grow blueberries here...
missy

Val said...

You got gal, I love gardening..er um or basically turning the back yard into an edible jungle. Yes indeed I am with ya!!

Sarah said...

I am growing a garden for the first time this summer! My dear husband made me an above ground garden box and filled it with all sorts of yummy dirt (yummy for the worms, I guess.)
We are attempting to grow lettuce, broccoli, corn, green beans, peas, tomatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe!
If I can keep the kids and the dog out of the garden, we just might make it to harvest!

Jenna said...

OK, I will try to do another garden. The soil in our part of the south is quite deficient. We have amended & amended, built raised beds, etc. Some years we cannot even grow weeds!!! We usually get a few tomatoes. I guess we plant so we eventually can learn how to really grow stuff. We're in but don't worry about us leaving stuff on your porch.

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Great post, and thanks for the resources! We plan to get serious about gardening this year, using the raised beds to keep our veggies out of the brutal Ohio clay!

Pam said...

I'll definetly be gardening with you this summer. We lived in FL for 9 years and hard as we tried just couldn't grow decent veggies. We did fruit trees, though. Now that we're back in the Midwest and have our own home we will always have a large garden. And we'll can. And we're planting fruit trees. How satisfying!

Adrienne said...

Yes, I'm gardening with you this summer! My sweetheart and I just planted our early crops on this first very warm Spring day in Oregon. I'll be sharing my garden in a few days - at least the beginning. My sweetheart built wonderful raised beds for me this year and he filled them with the most 'delicious' soil amended with things to hold moisture and make my plants happy. It's going to be an adventure. I'll be watching for reports of your garden. Please stop by from time to time and check on my progress. My sweetheart has always been the gardener. This year it's my project - he's my consultant! ~Adrienne~

 
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