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If You Plant It, It WILL Grow: Lessons From Our First Garden

This spring, after spending two years talking about it, Patrick and I planted our very first vegetable garden in our yard.

Patrick had cleared out a small area to plant a few herbs, jalapeños, and green bell peppers and we had put together a couple of raised beds for squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. We figured we wouldn't do anything too ambitious for our first garden. The garden beds were loaded up with good soil, we purchased our seeds, and we spent one evening in mid-April planting.

Then... we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more.

On Monday night, four months and two days after we planted our first seeds, we ate the very first things from our garden: baby tomatoes and jalapeños! It was a big summer of learning all of the lessons when it comes to growing a vegetable garden.

One: If you plant it, it will grow.

In my history of attempting to grow things or keep plants alive, I've failed time and time again. I figured it couldn't hurt to plant a few extra seeds here and there. Patrick wasn't paying too much attention to what I was doing and I feel certain he would have corrected me had he seen what was happening. It wasn't possible for every seed to sprout a viable plant, was it? I was hedging my bets.

Lesson learned. If you plant it, it will grow.

We must have had over 200 tomato plants in a 3x3 raised garden bed. Y'all. Patrick weeded through and thinned them out but we still had an insane amount of tomato plants. We probably only needed about 9 tomato plants in this particular bed... not 200 and 9.

Our squash and zucchini were out of control, too. My bad?

Two: Label what you plant and where you plant it.

I remembered for all of thirty seconds what seeds had been planted where. We had no idea which rows were the ones with squash, zucchini, beefeater tomatoes, baby tomatoes, jalapeños, or bell peppers. When things started sprouting, we spent half the time looking at the leaves and trying to figure out what was growing where.

You could probably combine these first two lessons together under one "Don't let Chesson do the planting" and call it a day!

Three: It needs sunlight to grow.

Duh, right? This was one thing that we couldn't have really predicted in advance but it's one worth nothing. Our insane number of tomato plants grew crazy tall and ended up blocking the sunlight from getting to our squash and zucchini plants.

Squash and zucchini were what I was most excited about eating from our garden and they were the first ones to bite the dust. When we got home from our 4th of July vacation, there was nothing left but a bunch of dead plants that were stretching outside of their garden box trying to get to some sunlight. We really didn't know  that's what was going to happen, but now that we know, we've made a note to switch things around for next year.

Four: Growing a garden takes a lot of patience.

Y'all. I never imagined that it would be AUGUST before we had anything to eat from our garden. At least it was fun watching everything sprout up and watching each of the veggies emerge and grow? Now, we've got more jalapeños than we can handle, our bell peppers are growing like crazy, and we have a handful of baby tomatoes done enough to pick every single day.

These guys still haven't ripened up yet and we're not sure what's going on with them.

I'm already ready to plant our second garden next spring! Will we grow from seeds again? Absolutely. We'll start them in cups inside though and then transfer them outside when it's warm enough so we get a little bit of a head start on our garden. Plus, that'll keep me from planting a million seeds again.


  1. That is so great to you even tackled a garden. Live and learn, right? I would love to have the space to make a garden but right now I just do pots of herbs and veggies. Great job for your first garden!!!

  2. Gardening definitely takes some patience! So glad you guys had some success though - having too many jalapenos does not sound like a bad problem to have at all! :)

  3. I love that you shared this! We really want to have a garden next year, but I've never had a single clue where to start. Unrelated, I think you should just pick those greenies and make fried green tomatoes!


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