In my first five years as a Dallas County Master Gardener (class of 2011), I have learned and experienced so much from working at our demonstration gardens; however, I had never attempted growing vegetables at home except in pots until this past fall when I saw sunlight streaming in a section of the backyard after a tree had been removed.
So this new adventure began – raised beds were found, plants were purchased and the garden grew – well some of it grew…
Broccoli and cabbage went in first along with a few herbs, followed by lettuce and arugula in October. I had some success with broccoli, but not so much with the cabbage, lettuce or arugula ( they bolted). Radishes and carrots were planted from seeds. After the first of the year onions were added and then potatoes came and went (I had the wrong soil, so they never sprouted). There was minimal success with the radishes (not properly thinned), but the carrots – I waited, looking for a glimpse of the carrots(roots)? under the leafy tops — until right before Mother’s day, and then I pulled them. Once again the results were mixed; I had a range of carrots from 1/4 inch to over 6-7 inches long and counted 26 of the prettiest multicolored carrots I have ever grown.
This summer I’m trying things that we will eat as a family – tomatoes, peas, green beans , peppers. I have a space for cucumbers with hopes to make pickles like my family put up years ago. My beds are few in number but just right for my learning curve. You can take this journey. it takes some planning, a little time and patience, but is well worth the effort.
Here are a few of the things I’ve gleaned from my raised beds:
- Gardening with a group of people brings a broader depth of expertise
- Information—ask questions, listen and apply–repeat.
- Realize early on that everything won’t go according to plans. Don’t dwell on failures, but learn from them — water properly, use the correct soil, compost, mulch, weed…
- Celebrate success, no matter how small–they are victories!
- Try new things, take notes (my garden journal currently has one entry, several months back, but there is value in the process)
- Trial and error is another way of learning
- Share your story, your experience, and the fruit of your labor —
- Enjoy the adventure!