I’m pleased to announce that my spring/summer garden has been planted!
Last year was the first summer at our new house, which came with six raised beds in our side yard. I was so excited about finally living the dream and having my own vegetable garden that I went a little overboard. I planted several tomato plants, various peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, herbs, red cabbage, wildflowers, leeks, and watermelons. The watermelons didn’t survive the cold weather the first week we planted them, but after a few weeks, everything else in the garden exploded. The tomato plants got so big, the tomatoes weighed down the wire towers and bent them, knocking some of them down. The squash and zucchini plants were so enormous, their leaves overshadowed the poor pepper plants.
In addition to the over-planting, I was finishing up my dietetic internship and still learning how to keep my newborn daughter alive and happy, which didn’t leave much time for caring for a garden.
But this summer will be different! As difficult as it was, I took a more conservative approach and only planted 3 or 4 plants in each raised bed (as opposed to the 8 or so plants from last year!). I also added two blueberry bushes (for cross-pollination) and two strawberry plants in the back yard. Abby and I go out and check them every day 🙂
I used my compost from last year, along with some organic plant food, to fertilize my soil. I pull my weeds by hand — no chemicals in my garden! For the weeds that pop up outside my garden, I make my own weed killer, which I call “Weeds B Dead” (see recipe below).
I can’t wait to harvest my crops!
If you routinely use store-bought weed killers (Ortho Weed B Gon, Weed & Feed, etc.) or have a professional spray your yard, you are covering your lawn with highly toxic chemicals that can make their way into your house, onto your skin, etc. And although we don’t have any scientific proof, I believe these chemicals may negatively affect the health of our pets as well. To protect the health of my family and the environment, I make my own weed killer, which is highly effective if sprayed into the roots of the weeds. I do not use it in my garden, however, because it does not discriminate and will kill any plant it touches.
My husband loves my Weeds B Dead recipe and makes it almost every weekend. I joke that it makes him feel powerful to walk around our yard with that giant spray bottle!
To make your own Weeds B Dead (patent pending):
→ Fill a large spray bottle about 95% of the way with white vinegar (the cheap-o jug of vinegar works!).
→ Next, pour in about 1/4 cup of table salt (again, go with the cheap stuff).
→ Finally, add a generous squirt of dish soap. Attach the nozzle and shake the bottle well to combine the ingredients. Now you’re ready to murder some weeds!
This concoction is effective because the vinegar makes the soil too acidic for plant survival, the salt disrupts plant cell osmosis (pulls water out of the cells), and the dish soap breaks any protective oil barriers that might prevent the vinegar from reaching the roots. Within a few hours of being sprayed, your weeds should look yellow and shriveled.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
If you’re planning on planting anything for the summer, check out this handy chart to know what you should plant in the next few weeks. Live in an apartment and don’t have a yard? Plant some herbs in your windowsill! Trust me, it’s so rewarding to be able to eat what you grow.
And don’t be surprised if you see several recipes including produce from my garden this summer!