This thing was seriously gigantic!!
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Brace yourself…This is somewhat of a long post…
Growing up, we always had a garden. While it wasn’t huge, we had enough tomatoes to feed a small army and it’s one of my favorite summer memories from my childhood. There is nothing better than a fresh garden tomato. Every summer I would eat so many tomato & mayonnaise and BLT sandwiches, that I’m surprised I didn’t overdose on them. My dad was an expert gardener and could grow almost anything if my mom didn’t kill it first.
I’d never attempted a garden of my own though. In all honesty, I believed until recently I had a black thumb. I have literally killed every houseplant I have ever owned, except three bamboo plants that have somehow survived the wrath of my plant demise killing spree over the years of living on my own.
We have lived in the same apartment complex since moving to New Jersey in 2010. Last year, they installed a community garden, but I didn’t learn about it in time to set one up (The apartment isn’t the best about notifying residents about things).
I decided that this year I would absolutely attempt not to massacre to plant a thriving garden. In addition to just wanting fresher, organic food, I wanted to prove to myself that I could grow plants. Even more, I wanted the experience of being a home gardener. Being pregnant with my first child, there are certain parts of my childhood, that I want my child to also experience and one of those things is fresh garden food.
I was given the “go ahead” to start my garden a few days before the Memorial Day weekend.
When I arrived at the community garden area, I located the “plot” that I was assigned and to my surprise it was overrun with weeds. I definitely thought that I would be starting with a clear plot, but that’s what I get for assuming. My first task at hand was to clear this entire plot.
This took a ridiculous amount of time and I even made Andrew help, though he was reluctant happy to do so 🙂
After 2 weeks, almost everything except one of the pepper plants showed great progress.
But again, I was stuck with this problem of weeds growing everywhere. I knew that I couldn’t let weeds take over my garden, so I had to figure out something, and fast. I was quickly approaching being 4 months pregnant, and I knew I didn’t want to be 7 months still trying to pull this many weeds.
I was limited because one my plants were already in, two, not only did I not want to use any type of weed killer since I will be eating what’s in here, I am not allowed to use anything that is not organic in my garden.
I read on a few different sites that you can put newspaper under 3 inches of soil and it will kill the weeds, as well as being biodegradable. I decided to give it a try.
For the most part, the weeds have stayed away…although, I notice that where I was able to put down more newspaper (thicker layers) it is working better. So I would recommend if you want to try this to layer the newspaper 3-5 layers. One layer will simply not work.
After just 3 weeks, I had to put in tomato stakes, and build a simple trellis for the cucumbers to grow up so they wouldn’t over take the whole garden.
To build the trellis, I simply nailed together 3 tomato stakes and trellis netting that I was able to purchase from Home Depot. It seems to be holding up very nicely. (You can also purchase a cheap trellis from Gronomics on Amazon)
And I was also able to pick and eat my first cucumber!