Garden Progress: The “Really? That’s it?” Edition

Saying that I’ve got a calm and understanding temper might be overstating it a bit, but I’d like to think that after a decade of DIYing, I’ve developed a “take things as they come” kind of attitude when it comes to projects. I mean, okay, fine, sometimes as they come I feel the need to swear and throw my hammer at them, but at least I’m not aiming for actual people these days.

Almost all of my project time over the last month has been devoted to the vegetable/chicken garden, which, until very recently, contained neither vegetables or chickens. Why? Because this is the loooooooonnnnnngggggggeeeeeeeeeessssssssssstttttt prrrrrrrooooooojjjjjjjjeeeeeeeeeccccccccctttttt evvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr.

Seriously. That’s the closest I can come to a written explanation of how this thing is going. Annoyingly long, almost to the point of incoherence.

Back in April I started making raised beds in my garage. I’ve basically built one or two of these every week since the beginning of the universe Spring. That’s seven total.


Plus this vertical bed that is still in-progress…


Which is fifty-one cedar planks, fifteen 2×4’s, and thirty eight post-holes that needed to be dug. Plus 3000 pounds of topsoil to fill them. So. Yeah. I guess this was never going to be a two-weekend project.

In fact, the first weekend I managed to get three of the beds installed, and my mom outfitted them with cardboard while I installed some weed fabric between them.


Here’s the thing about this farm– if I turn my back on it for a second, I mean, if I even blink, it basically gets repossessed by the jungle.


I mean LOOK AT THIS THING. This has got to be from an alien planet. It’s taller than I am, has inch-long spikes coming off of it, and refuses to let me in my own workshop. As far as I know, it wasn’t there yesterday. This is what I’m dealing with.

So getting the weed barriers down as soon as the beds were installed became imperative.

Over the last three weeks I’ve alternated between installing the other two beds, week whacking, shoveling topsoil, weed whacking, shoveling gravel, digging more post holes, building more beds, and weed whacking.


As soon as most of the beds were in I stocked up on plants.


Right now I have:

  • 3 tomato plants (Early Girl, Better Boy, and Roma)
  • 6 kale plants (Who the eff eats that much kale? Seemed like a good idea at the time…)
  • 4 spinach plants
  • 6 buttercrunch lettuce plants
  • 2 basil plants
  • 2 celery plants
  • 2 chives
  • 1 onion
  • 20 bean plants (I have a weakness for green beans. Sue me.)

I’ve got one bed that hasn’t been planted yet, so I plan on getting a couple more tomato plants, red peppers (which I haven’t had much luck with in the past, but what the hell), and brussels sprouts. The vertical beds will hold cucumbers, zucchini, and snap peas.


I’m also planning on having a bed around the perimeter of the garden with more “permanent” plants (rhubarb, raspberries, black berries, lavender, etc.) but that thing isn’t going in until next year or else I’m going to have a garden related melt-down when I’m still working on this in a month.

I did install the cedar edge that is currently the “outside” of the garden (and keeps the gravel walkways in place) but will eventually be the inside edge of the perimeter beds.


Instead of digging more post holes I decided to install that edge using cedar stakes and a single line of 6″ planks. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any cedar stakes at Lowe’s but I did find this…


And I do own bolt cutters.

I’m just saying… never underestimate the shit you can get done if you own bolt cutters.

This past weekend was mostly devoted to building the first of two (or four, if I drink a lot of alcohol) vertical beds.


Eventually (i.e. tomorrow) there will be wire lattice running up those 2x’s for the vines to cling to.

Until today I couldn’t quite figure out how I was putting so much time into this thing without seeing much visible progress, but when I stepped back and took a look at it I realized that small chunk of this property that I’m turning into a “garden” is actually larger than the entire yard at the first house I owned.

Seriously. When you look at it as a part of six acres, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but the area I’m fencing off is like 1200 square feet. That’s bigger than the Memorial House before we re-built it.

So when I put it in context, it’s actually not that weird that this project is taking forever. But, you know, with the cat helping and all, I thought it would be going faster…


Really, cat? Where are you hiding the catnip?

The truth is, in a year or two I hope this garden provides a good portion of the food for the Liberty House over the summer (and maybe winter, if my domestic gene makes an appearance long enough for me to can some things), so it’s worth the time I’m investing in it now. And all of the shoveling has given me a lot of time to plan out the greenhouse and larger chicken coop.

And I’ll totally forget about all this hard work, just as I get that first, sweet, fresh-from-the-vine tomato.




18 Responses

  1. Looks awesome! If I ever get my next house/yard, I’m going to come to you for tips on how to do my garden. Until then I will enjoy watching your progress…

  2. Really cool! That weed looks like it’s from Little Shop of Horrors – does it scream FEED ME?

  3. That is the scariest looking weed I have ever seen. Last weekend my BF’s parents and I strung wire fencing for my sugar snap peas and cucumber to climb up. My BF’s dad thought that the prongs on the edge of the fence would poke someone so he tried to cut them off with a hacksaw. He slipped and got 10 stitches. I guess the good thing is that they won’t poke anyone. o_O

  4. Some ideas for all that kale (YUM!):

    1) (my husband would eat this every night if I took the time to make it that often);
    2) healthy, tasty alternative to chips); and
    3) (so MUCH better than spinach because it doesn’t wilt as fast)

    Love how your garden is coming along. Beautiful!

  5. Do you have (or will you have) a plan for the vertical garden bed? I would love to build one of these!!

  6. Would you like us to remind you of all the hard work later this summer when you decide it would be an awesome idea to double the size of the garden and open your own farmer’s market so everyone can enjoy your delicious tomatoes? 😉

    1. The scary plant does look like artichoke…but I think it’s thistle which is a noxious weed and not good for cattle. In Utah, they require that we remove or kill the plant…don’t try to do it with your hands! Aye, aye, aye!

  7. You have made wonderful progress. I’m surprised you haven’t planted any blueberries. They are most gratifying and produce with minimal effort.

  8. How is that garden getting watered?

    You have a spigot nearby, or is there 950″ of garden hose going to it? xD

  9. Hi, Kit. I have a sister who is a chef, and does a LOT of gardening. According to her, peppers will only do well in pots. Might be worth a try! Val

  10. Try not to think of the canning as domestic. Think of it as getting to superheat jars to eradicate food germs, using a powertool of cooking (pressure cookers), and ensuring your survival for the zombie apocalypse.

  11. You want kale. Good for the Nuggets! Mine like it sauteed in scrambled eggs! Also carrots, pumpkins, watermelon, zucchini, cucumbers and chard…for the chickens, of course!

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.