This last week we have been organizing our life and packing away all winter items in preparation to spend the summer in downtown Traverse City. Before we left though, I wanted to put in a garden that our friends who we are switching homes with would enjoy this summer and we could enjoy this fall when we come back. A garden is important to me. After 3 years without one while in Raleigh, it has felt like coming home to put one together. My knowledge and skills are rusty and I am working on getting back into the rhythm of it since we wouldn’t be here long I kept things small. I worked off of the garden plan I put together this spring. Though our garden is a little more minimal and simple, I love it and am so excited to see it come to life throughout this summer.
A few weeks back we made a Saturday out of building our beds. We went and got wood and used 4×12 boards to create the beds with brackets at the corners to hold them together. It was simple and meant to be that way because our time with these was limited. We wanted it to be very simple. We then tilled the ground with a tiller and sunk the beds in to help save on the cost of the dirt since the ground already had great soil. It saved a ton of money, thanks to our neighbor on his suggestion and offering his tiller. I then spent a few afternoons doing shoveling and spreading of mulch around the beds to keep the grass from creeping in easily. Here’s how I fixed grass with white tips.
In complete honesty, I ended up having to buy plants even though I did seedlings. I learned the hard way it is bad to leave on a trip when you are growing seedlings, they need a lot of care and attention and two weeks is too long to leave them alone. Thankfully there are some wonderful local sources such as the Farmers Market to round up everything you need. So we spent about $30 and bought all we needed to fill the bed + we added in some items by seed as well such as spinach and lettuce. We got peppers, green beans, Sugar snap peas, tomatoes, melon, swiss chard, kale, and a collection of herbs. The perfect collection of basic needs in a garden. None of veggies at all very complicated.
Then this last weekend, we put in the trellis for our sugar snap peas. There are so many different ways you can do this, but I really wanted to give this style a go. I have some ideas at our house for doing some trellis systems but thought it would be fun to use this as a fun experiment. It isn’t perfect or pretty, but it works and is cheap. All you do is nail in two posts and then two shorter ones on top and bottom. I then just wrapped twine and coaxed the peas toward the strings. It is working so far and I think it kind of looks cool as well.
Before Saturday we are placing in the stands for the tomatoes so they have the support they need as they begin to produce fruit. After that, we will come out from time and time and check in on things, grab our mail, and maybe even enjoy the beach down the road. As we approach late summer, I will take out the sugar snaps and plant some beets and a late crop of kale that we can enjoy in late fall before the big frosts.
While I have been out here working on this garden, Hayes climbing all over the mulch, getting dirty, and thinking of what life will be like in the coming years, I have realized just how important the garden is to me. I feel the most whole gardening and tending to the dirt. It feels like home. Though I do not have deep knowledge or much more than the basics I do know I love doing this and it is where I feel like myself. When things like that are felt they need to be noted. Beginning and ending each day wandering amongst a garden is how I want to live my days and for me it is essential to a well lived life.
Though I won’t be spending every night out here this summer weeding or gathering what is fresh for our dinner that night, what I do love is that our friends will reap the benefits of my work. I know they will enjoy it and come fall so will we. If there is anything I have learned in life, hard work is worth it and a garden is a wonderful place to be reminded of that.
Have you started your garden? How is it going? How big is it? What did you plant?