Does a biologist have a green thumb? | The Life of K: Does a biologist have a green thumb?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Does a biologist have a green thumb?

That's right friends, I'm going to attempt a garden this year. I have it in my head that Little J will absolutely love having a garden and that it will be a good opportunity to teach him about plants and growing and food and stuff.

Problem is I've never had a garden before. I'm not even all that great with plants. My parents always had both flower gardens and veggie gardens, with varying success, and their veggie garden is huge. My goals aren't so lofty.

We just got rid of a little sandbox that was right beside the deck. In its place is a patch of dead grass. I'm hoping to use that space, and a little more, for my garden. I'm thinking it will be about 2 feet by 6 maybe. Not very big, but manageable, at least I hope so.

I want to grow (ha! attempt to grow) cherry tomatoes, peas, bell peppers and strawberries. Anything else that's easy? Do you garden? Any tips for a wannabe gardener?


  1. Tomatoes are great! We did the cherry tomatoes in the ground, and then normal tomatoes from that hanging upside-down tomato thing last year with great success. Emilia loved picking the tomatoes (including the green ones). Great for kids.

    Now I'm inspired! I want a garden too! I'm thinking, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and maybe some peppers. We're thinking a little herb tray as well. They're easier to grow.

  2. You may have seen my latest blog posts, I'm attempting a veggie garden for the time time this year too. I've got a bunch of seedlings going. We're also trying cucumbers, leaf lettuce, carrots, onions (green), and beans. Good luck!

  3. I'd love to do a garden! But I always seem to kill plants... Any tips to get started? I'll be looking to your blog for these answers! :)

  4. I tried a garden last year and I want to do better with it this year! I also loved having fresh herbs to toss into food (basil, cilantro, parsley, etc...) Tomatoes were easy too.

  5. A garden is awesome if you don't let it stress you out when there are more weeds growing than veggies. :-) We had great success the first year with our veggie patch and I think it was largely due to the load of mushroom compost we used to fill the bed. We didn't buy any fertilizer for following years (aside from some earth from our compost bin) and the yield was definitely smaller. But the weather seemed less sunny, so that could have been it as well.

    Bell peppers are delicious and generally a piece of cake but they need lots of sun and water. Same goes for tomatoes. We always get starter plants from the market or a home center. Be picky and only buy healthy looking plants with nice thick stems.

    If you can set up some vertical space then runner beans (eg: scarlet runner) are super, super easy. They'll easily climb 6+ feet if allowed and you can snack off them for weeks.

    I like growing carrots but they are slow coming up (and I accidentally weed a few of them out every year) and there's no real visual progress which is probably something that the little ones would like to see from week to week. However, there's nothing quite as much fun as pulling a long carrot out of the ground.

    We haven't had any luck with strawberries (no fruit at all), and the peas always seem to die because there'll be a hot spell where they don't get enough water. They don't seem to be as resilient as the beans in that regard.

    Spinach and lettuces are simple and a good idea if you'll use them and have a less sunny spot for them to grow in. They go to seed really fast when the hot days of summer arrive, otherwise.

    As far as tips go, I think most of it is making sure that everything has enough water but not too much. And knowing which little shoots are plants and which are weeds.

    Have fun!