Gardening From Scratch Pt. 2 - Let's Get Planting!

by Halley -Author at MIGardener

Kaitlynn here! Time for a little garden update. Our project has made a lot of progress since last week's post. Michigan gave us some cooler weather recently, but without the threat of frost. It's time we do some work to get our garden growing!

One of the main differences I'm already feeling since last year's garden is how much my confidence has grown. Growing food is pretty much a yearly experiment with your space and soil. Every year I learn something new that changes my perspective for the future. This year, I can see my vision actually coming to life before my eyes! How exciting is that? I hope you enjoy watching it happen with me.

Soil & Amendments

With about $40, I went searching for compost and manure to fill our garden beds. I want to preface my next sentence by saying: at the beginning I didn't realize how many bags of compost it would take to fill my raised beds. Luckily, we spread two bags across all of our in-ground beds. However, after adding approximately three bags of soil mix into each raised bed (after prepping them like we did last week), we decided we didn't want to spend any more money and worked with what we had. We had approximately 6 inches of growing depth, which is good enough for this year. We'll see how that turns out. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. 

One of our raised beds is for greens with thinner and smaller root systems. I’m not worried about the depth of the soil for those plants. However, I’m slightly worried about how our squash plants will do with that amount of soil, but I’ll have to wait and see. We sprinkled Trifecta into each bed where seeds will be direct sown. Trifecta+ is a great fertilizer but also acts as a fantastic soil amender.  A lot of our seeds have sprouted over the weekend! Since we are trying to utilize as much space as possible in the garden, we'll replant as many seedlings as we can as they are thinned out.

Garden Bed Borders

See the concrete borders we discovered behind the shed! They are now the beautiful new edging for our flower bed. The edges have been cleaned to create a more uniform took about ten minutes of work! It's amazing how a few minutes of work can beautify a space. Our rhubarb plant is still thriving, as you can see. After amending the bed with compost, we planted some flowers. We planted dwarf sunflower seeds and sprinkled chamomile in the front of the bed in between each snapdragon plant. Once the chamomile is ready, we can make our own homegrown herbal tea!


On the North Facing side of the house, we cleaned up the in-ground bed. The plastic edges from our flower bed added shape and definition to the north-facing bed. Seeds for shade-loving herbs were planted into half of this bed. We're still brainstorming for what else to plant here. Any ideas? Maybe this bed should become a wildflower bed to accent the vegetable garden? I'm hoping once these beds are in full bloom, they will add a cottage-inspired touch to our yard.

Planting Out

The average Michigander starts seeds for plants like peppers and tomatoes weeks before the last frost date. I didn't get my seeds started in time for these plants, so I went to my local farmers' market on the weekend to pick up a few healthy plants. For tomatoes, we scored Cherokee purple, hillbilly, and red cherry plants. Our peppers are a purple bell, jalapenos, and a yellow habanero plant. Before these varieties are placed in their spot in the bed, we add about a quarter cup of Trifecta+ to their spot to give them a boost.

Our cool weather raised bed is on the shady side of the house.  This bed contains all of my favorite varieties to grow. Lettuce, spinach, broccoli rabe, and cilantro are in the front section of the bed, with four peas near the back row. Once the peas sprout, we will add trellises for them to climb! I'm hoping the shade in this bed will create the perfect environment for these crops to grow, even with hot summer days ahead.

Thank you so much for reading if you've gotten this far! Writing about my gardening progress encourages me and gives me an opportunity to track my progress! I hope it encourages you too.

– Kaitlynn from MIgardener

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