The Garden: Post 1

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Check out Megan Gilger’s First Garden in Traverse City, Michigan where she grew things with her husband.
I am really excited to start this column. One of my personal goals has always been to become a successful gardener. I have lofty goals of knowing where every bit of my food comes and really desire to be hands on with it. I don’t talk about health and food a lot but I think it’s something I would love to integrate into the blog on a weekly basis. My favorite quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“What is success? 
To laugh often and much; 
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; 
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; 
to appreciate beauty; 
to find the best in others; 
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; 
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; 
that is to have succeeded.”
I truly strive to live life this way everyday. It is hard at times to not be consumed by success in terms of the world. Don’t get me wrong success among the world is well and good and I desire for it just as much as the next person but I do not place my well being on that. I find to stay humble and joyful I must remember Emerson’s word. 
With that in mind and getting back to my first thought, I have a personal goal of developing as much of a sustainable life as I can. Thankfully living somewhere like Northern Michigan this is
easy and encouraged. I can find local food more easily. Even our large grocery stores are local companies and carry local produce, meats, and other products. I want to eventually build a home that is energy efficient and be producing power instead of taking power. My hope is to even eventually have some farm animals. I want my children to understand that a sustainable life is a normal thing and not a novelty. 
That all being said, I feel that tending a garden is a part of human nature that our culture and world has made us forget about. I feel more healthy, whole, and creative after spending a few hours a day working in the dirt. It’s inspiring to see how nature works and how these tiny little seeds turn into plants that produce multiple beautiful meals. How inspiring, right?
Okay now that I have given you my ideas behind gardening I want to share about the garden. By the way this is going to be a longer than normal post. 

I grew up gardening with my grandfather and my dad, but this is my first year doing it all on my own, from planning, seedlings, planting, tending, and harvesting. So I am excited to share this whole process with you guys. So let me share what has been placed in the garden this year. 
– Sweet Corn
– Heirloom Tomatoes
– Cherry Tomatoes
– Roma Tomatoes
– Multi colored Peppers (red, purple, green, yellow, orange…it’s going to be a surprise)
– Peas
– Rhubarb
– Garden Beans
– Sugar Snap Peas
– Broccoli
– Carrots (regular orange and kaleidoscope)
– Radishes
– Canelope
– Summer Squash
– Cucumber
– Strawberries
– Basil< /i>
– Cilantro
– Pumpkins
I purchased all my seeds from Burpee if you were wondering. I did a lot of research this winter and read a lot of reviews. I also bought all organic seeds and plan to keep everything as natural as possible.
As I go through the series, I will highlight what I am learning about each plant. Since I feel a little like these are my babies I have been reading and learning about each one and their needs. 
I also will be covering the overall maintenance of the garden such as weeding and tricks to keep from breaking your back, natural pesticides (for instance my basil plants look like they are being devoured right now) and other important things to growing successfully. 
But for the first one I wanted to talk about how to set the posts in the garden for naming and then how I made the bean and pea lattices I did last night. 
First the posts were simple. We found some scrap wood from the garage since we were finishing some trim work there was a lot to go around. Then Mike scribbled the names on each piece of wood with a sharpie and we hammered them in to the appropriate place. 
As for the lattices, we went cheap again. We made due with what was on hand. We grabbed some more trimming wood and cut it into about 36 inch tall pieces (we had 16 total). I made sure there was a pole every 3 feet to make sure there was good support for the beans as they grow. Then we nailed three nails down each pole every 10 inches or so. Once the poles had nails we pounded them into the ground spaced about 3 feet apart. 
Once all four in each row were placed, I took some synthetic twine (this way it won’t deteriorate with the weather and it will stay strong for the plants) I tied it around the first top nail and then went down each row keeping the twine taunt and wrapping 3-4 times tightly around each nail. Once I had done each level on the poles, I tied it off and repeated on the other four rows till each row was complete. We will see how they hold up as the beans grow and grab on to the twine. I wanted to do this before we left for Texas (we leave this coming Tuesday) because I know they will be large enough to grab on by the time we leave. 
I hope you guys will enjoy these posts as much as I will and as much as I enjoy the garden. I am excited for you guys to be apart of this little adventure this summer and fall. I would love to hear about your gardens if you have them and things you suggest! 
Also I will be sharing some recipes as we begin to harvest! WOO HOO!
Learn more about my gardening growth in these posts for more info:

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