Wednesday, July 2, 2014


veggie gardening for beginners

Today I'm here to brag about share what's been happening in our garden this summer. I'm particularly excited about the plants we have flourishing, because last year at this time our yard looked like this.

And two years ago at this time it looked like this.

The photos above were taken on June 28th of 2013 and July 7th of 2012, and it blows me away just how far we've come. We sit in those green chairs every night and throw the ball for McKinney and marvel in how extremely lucky we are to have such a beautiful yard, and almost forget that we spent the entire summer on our hands and knees last year creating it.

It must be what moms feel like a year or so post childbirth.

Anyway, on with the tour:

three months of tomato plant growth

Back in April, I shared our DIY ledger stone planter beds, complete with some baby tomato plants. As you can see, those babies have really taken off. This area of the yard gets a lot of afternoon sun, so it's a perfect spot for tomatoes. I also think something about the heat of the stone surround might be helping these plants thrive.

The plant on the left is a cherry tomato and the right is a celebrity, and they were both purchased as decent size starters from Costco. We have been enjoying the cherry tomatoes for a couple weeks now, and a few of the celebrities are starting to turn orange.

cherry tomatoes in the garden

There is just something about garden fresh tomatoes. They taste like nothing else on the planet.

We also have a few wine barrels on the patio to hold fresh herbs. The left barrel has two basil plants from Trader Joes (as you can tell, it's time for me to make some pesto), along with a couple dahilas that I've already almost killed. In the center barrel I've planted fresh parsely, sage and rosemary, and on the right is a zucchini plant.

wine barrel container gardening

Having fresh herbs in the garden is great. Not only do we save money (fresh herbs at the grocery store are not cheap) but the herbs help with last minute meal ideas. Adding some fresh sage to a simple pasta dish whipped up from what we have on hand really takes it to the next level with flavor, and it's so easy!

container herb garden

Zucchini plants tend to take over a garden bed because the leaves get so huge! So, when I got this one from a neighbor I didn't know what to do with it. On a whim I planted it in the third barrel and I'm so happy I did. It's flourishing, the flowers are a beautiful pop of color, and we're getting some baby zucchinis already! Score one for Hilary!

barrel garden zucchini

Our second planter bed is not as pretty as the awesome stone ones, but it was one of the first outdoor projects we tackled when we first moved in, so it has sentimental value. Eventually we'll face it with redwood like the succulent planter box and the barbecue, but for this year it's just fine.

In it we're growing a celebrity tomato (left) an early girl tomato (center) and a tomatillo (right) along with a cucumber and a jalapeƱo. It's so fun to see the unique characters of the different varieties of tomato plant.

growing tomatoes in the garden

Here's a shot of the planter box on the day I put the veggies in, April 30th. Incredible, right?

how to grow huge tomatoes at home
Tomatillos (below) seem to be especially happy in our yard. For anyone that is not familiar, these green tomatoes are often used in verde sauces or stews and grow inside a paper-like shell. Right now, all the shells feel empty as the tomatoes grow inside them, but by the time they are ready to pick each of those little paper lanterns will feel firm to the touch.

Isn't the plant pretty! I love the yellow blossoms and little green lanterns, and it looks like it's going to be a mega producer... hello autumn chili verde and roasted tomatillo salsa!

how to grow tomatillos

It's the first time I've planted a cucumber, and I'm happy to see that it seems to like it's little place in our garden as well. We have even harvested fruit, which tastes, surprisingly, just like a store bought cucumber (I don't know exactly why that should be surprising to me, but it is).

how to grow cucumbers

After I took the photo above, I snipped that cuke off and made a greek salad for dinner with some of the cherry tomatoes, fresh parsely and oregano, and a little store bought onion and feta. The pics I took of it were horrible, but tasted like victory.

We also have a few other fun things flourishing in the yard. I planted some flowering plants like salvia and marigold for some color and attract bees and hummingbirds. There are also two limes and a lemon that are small now, but will hopefully grow, and a number of transplants from the old yard including geranium, and easter lily.

flowers in the garden

Last I have a couple pots that I keep on the deck for color. I went all patriotic earlier this month and planted a red white and blue combo (dahlia, lavender and pansy) in the large pot. The smaller pot holds oregano and thyme, and the cement planter holds a succulent (more leftover cement from the barbecue pad - you can see the indoor succulent planters I made here).

The barrel fountain and St. Francis of Assisi statue came from my grandmother, and I treasure them both.

patriotic container garden

deck container gardening

That's what has been growing in the yard around here. We are also hard at work on our outdoor barbecue island, which we are hoping to have complete some time this month, but we are planning on taking a little time off to enjoy the Fourth with friends and family.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!


  1. Your garden is really coming along! Hopefully by next summer our backyard is as lush as yours..

  2. They delivered a very high-quality work visit this site right here that we are still using to this day.