Thursday, September 22, 2011

Newbie Gardener

Post by Marilee

Okay, I have lived in Southern California most of my life, with a small amount of time in Illinois as a child.

I decided to try my hand at a garden this year, not that living in So Cal is any excuse, let's just say I had never gotten around to planting one.  I really dont have the space for you is another excuse.  But this year, Steve built me a 4 x 8 frame and filled it up with potting soil and told to "go for it".  I thought this looked pretty cute and I added a few rocks and fun things, never realizing that what I planted could cause a few issues.

What I started with were 2 tomato plants, 2 jalepenos, 2 chili peppers, 1 bush bean plant, 6 lettuce plants, 2 strawberries, 1 watermelon, and 1 cucumber. 
The first issue is someone sent out a memo that "we had planted a feast in the yard" and within 24 hours one of the chili peppers completely disappeared, along with 3 lettuce plants. 
We talked to the local garden center and decided that since I have a 6 foot fence that I had a "rodent problem", we put out traps and caught a couple in the act.

That issue was taken care of. 

The next issue is the lettuce is pretty bitter and no one in the house will eat it, and we took out a couple of those as well.  Weeks have gone by now and the garden is growing nicely and we had our first jalepeno pepper last night (sorry no photos).  But in my naivety the cucumber and watermelon were spreading out of the planter and across the patio.

So yesterday I decided after looking online that I needed a trellis to support the cucumber and that I was going to build this myself with no help from I scouted the yard and found some wood, used the table saw and cut them into 5 ft stripes and laid them out on the floor and attempted to put them together.  The first thing I learned was that my nails were to short and pulled out, so then I used drywall screws after drilling a pilot hole.

Yep, my pilot holes are crooked, but I assured myself that this is for the garden and does not matter.  Did I mention that it was super humid while I did this?  After drilling the pilot holes, I put my frame together and it held, I was pleased.

Then I added pilot holes (6 per side) all the way around.  The screwed in the screws.  What I learned, is if the pilot hole is too deep for the screw, then the screw will go all the way down to the wood and I wanted the screw to stick up a little so that I could attach the string as shown below.  So I ended up redrilling and reinstalling the rest of the screws (just took longer) but I am still doing this alone.

Then I wrapped string all the way around (I did not make them even) as you can see after I had it all done in this picture.

I didnt believe that the string would hold up the cucumber as it started to sag.  Steve came home at this point and was proud of what I made and he promised he would not roll his eyes in front of me, but he suggested that I try wire, so down the frame came, I cut all the string off and started adding wire instead.  When it was all done, the frame went up again and now looks more like this.

The poor cucumber is looking a little ragged now, but I hope it works well in the meantime.  If the whole thing is a failure, I learned some things along the way.

This is the 2 tomato plants and bush you suppose that next year I should space my garden out more?  Any help in this area would be so greatly appreciated!!!


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