Monday, May 2, 2011

How does your garden grow...?

I have absolutely no idea.
I was absent the day the good Lord passed out green thumbs.
No joke.
You know those "spider " plants...?  They're some kind of (usually) green viney/leafy houseplant that are supposed to be impossible to kill.
Mmm-hmm.  I killed mine!

And then there was gardening ...

Let's begin with a little bit of my "gardening history":
Growing up, I lived out in the middle of the woods ... not exactly ideal farm land.
Both sets of my grandparents (who lived within 15 miles of us), raised huge gardens every year ... so I think my parents just deferred all of the gardening fun to my grandparents.  My sister and I have many memories of helping them plant, weed, and pick the vegetables (especially the peas - yum!) - and we even got to take our produce to the local grange fair and compete for ribbons (hey ... we thought it was fun, OK?).

(My husband, on the other hand, grew up on a very large farm ... where they grew things for a living.)

So two years ago, after having lived on our own property for several years, he decided it was high-time we grow a garden.
He prepared the land, we planted and tended the seeds, and vegetable plants actually began growing!
The fun stopped there ...
We came home one sunny Saturday afternoon to find what had been our 5-inch-high vegetable plants destroyed.
Chewed off, down to the ground, by gray diggers (aka: gigantic gray squirrels that live underground around these parts).

Strike one.
I'm pretty sure I saw steam come out of my husband's ears that day.  He was NOT a happy camper.

Skip forward one year to last year at garden-planting time.  Husband had determined that we would avoid the gray digger issue that year by buying already well-established vegetable plants from our local farm store.  He figured the gray diggers were only after the fresh vegetable starts, and therefore, would leave the larger plants alone.

He figured wrong.
Strike two.

Enter:  more steam.

And now we have arrived back in the present.

So this year, when my husband brought up the idea of a garden again ... I rolled my eyes and said something along the lines of ..."You've got to be kidding me."
I told him the only way we were going there again was if the garden was completely enclosed in a gray-digger-free cage.
So ... we came up with our plan.
Check out our progress so far!

Step one:  Build raised beds. (We basically used PW's tutorial, found HERE.)
(Husband thought this was ridiculous, as he figured he could build a raised garden bed without "some blog lady" telling him how ...  but I insisted that if THIS was the way Pioneer Woman did it, then THIS is how I wanted to do it, too!:)~

Step two:  Paint raised beds the color of the year (at our house, anyway) - turquoise blue.

Step three (and four):  Fill with good soil (my husband is in excavating -- this was not a problem) and plant the veggies.

Step five:  Build garden "cages" using two-by-fours and chicken wire.  
Step six:  Buy these plain chipboard rectangles at the craft store.
Step seven:  Primer (black) and paint with black chalkboard paint.
Step eight:  Label vegetable names with chalk ink markers (seen in a previous post).
Step nine:  Head out to the barn and retrieve some baling twine from the feed-sack-turned-baling-twine-collector.
Step ten:  Drill two holes in the top of each sign.
Step eleven:  Tie chalkboard signs onto garden "cages" with baling twine. :-)
SO. DARN. CUTE.  (At least I think so!)
I will keep you posted on our garden progress ... 
all I know is, if the plants die this year, it won't be because they were mowed down by squirrels! 
Mission:  accomplished!


  1. They look GREAT. Hope they stay gray-digger free.

  2. Great job! We did the same thing, we have three large boxes. We had the bunny issue (which turned out to be a travesty, if you've read up any). We haven't had to do the chicken wire thing yet, though we're getting close if the bunnies don't stay away!
    Thanks for the tutorial on the chalkboard labels! I've been looking for a good tutorial!

  3. I'm your newest follower from the Blog Hop. Love how pretty your blog is! Smiles,
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  4. That was a great idea and adorable! Your home must seriously be the cutest place on earth. I wish I contained even half the creativity that you have! haha.

    Be sure to let us know how it goes! It looks like they'll have a hard time getting to the vegtables this time! :)

  5. Super cute! I printed the tutorial, but I'm sure my hubby will say the same. I mean who really needs help from some "blog lady", right? Haha.

  6. Oh my Bec!!! These are the PRETTIEST garden boxes I have EVER seen!! And you even have them!! You DID work hard this weekend. ;)

  7. I am going to have to show my husband this! He is determined each year to have the biggest best garden but these raised beds would work so much better than trying to till up our hard dirt! Thanks!!

  8. How adorable! Don't feel bad. I killed our hostas from transplanting them last year. And everyone says "you can't kill a hosta"...I am living proof that you CAN indeed kill a hosta. :)

  9. OMGosh Bec, you CRACK me UP!! But yes, that would be soooo frustrating! 0Can't wait to see the progress and produce!! =

  10. Pretty!!!! We were all excited about gardening this year, but this new house we just moved into has no garden space, and I'm not even sure where a good spot to put them would be...but maybe I'll show my husband this post and show him it's not too late to whip something up!! :) p.s. I cannot keep houseplants alive for the life of me either. I killed all three pots of my succulents last fall. You know, those indestructible cacti?? HA. They came into my house with a death wish, apparently! ;) I have ONE house plant. And it's lasted almost 2 the grace of God, I'm sure. I know I personally haven't done anything to sustain it!!!

  11. I am now STALKING you everywhere that I see listed here! Though, your email button doesn't work. :(

    Thanks for linking up on my new Super STALKER Sunday! Sorry it has taken me so long to get to you. The response has been OVERWHELMING! I hope you won't be a stranger and come back next week, or even just mid week and say hello! : ) I post lots of other great things like recipes, tackles, and rambles (oh my!).

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  12. Ummm, cutest garden ever! We have raised garden boxes but they are not cute!

    Thanks for posting on my play room.

  13. I mean commenting on my play room. Geesh! Where is my brain!?! :)

  14. FANTAB!! I love this, I was just thinking today while watering on how I was going to make my garden a little cuter! HA! i will be using you as my inspiration! I have chalk board paint in the garage. Great idea!

  15. I LOVE the idea of the chalkboard signs - they look awesome:) We have a good sized garden with raised beds and there is simply nothing better than fresh veggies out of your own garden!! I'll keep my fingers crossed that you guys have a great garden year and those nasty squirrels stay far away:)

  16. Okay I have never heard of that type of squirrel. Creepy.
    I love your little tags. You guys did even better than PW....whew I said that and lightning didn't strike me down.

  17. Love the garden boxes!! I'll keep my fingers crossed the squirrels stay away!! The signs are adorable too!!

  18. EEEE!! This is SO great!! My husband and I just finished our garden beds this weekend..and this would be the perfect touch..I did a blog post on our garden and if I do these little signs I will link it back to you :)

    Spotted you on Tip Junkie and glad I clinked on your project

    Delighted Momma

  19. VERY CUTE!! those gray diggers sound like something out of a horror movie tho, gigantic gray squirrels that live underground.... cue the horror movie music. lol

  20. I'm visiting from Not Just A Housewife! Your garden is so cute! :)
    It's making me want to go try one!

    Btw I LOVE pioneer woman too! Men just don't understand how awesome she is :P

  21. Those little signs are so cute. They give the garden that bit of whimsy that makes it a place you just want to go and visit awhile.

    I was just wondering how you access the garden with the cage around it?

  22. i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that you painted the beds aqua - fabulous!

    question - how do you get into the cages??

    we have raised beds on our to do list soon too!

  23. To answer the questions about how we get INTO the cages ...
    My husband put handles on one end that we can easily grab and tip the cages up. (They are not heavy - plus, we really have no need to get into the cages until it's time to harvest the veggies! My husband laid down "fabric" (the heavy duty stuff they use on their job sites) underneath the raised beds, which means almost NO weeds!:-)

  24. Well even if your garden "doesn't grow" -- it sure looks beautiful!! I'd be so jealous if I was your neighbor! Love the tags (you can get these for free at Home Depot, etc. in their kitchen remodel department and they have one hole in them already!) Thanks for posting your lovely garden pics!

  25. Oh my goodness! I LOVE your garden! It would be perfect in my backyard to keep out the curious mutts :)

  26. Beautiful job! That is so much work to keep the squirrels away. We just made some raised garden beds last year but now I need to paint the wood and make signs too. The turquoise is so fun. Thanks for the inspiration! - Victoria (@obSEUSSed) visiting from Thrifty 101.

  27. Oh my goodness! Fabulous job. We have several raised beds but ours are not nearly as pretty as yours! I adore the little signs you made. So cute! Thank you for sharing it with us at Inspiration I'm off to convince my husband to paint my boxes some fabulous color like yours!


  28. I am making raised beds this year too and I love the idea of painting them a color. We have a fenced garden (live in the boonies and critters like to eat my veggies) but the cages look very easy to make.

    I love the idea of the feed sack turned bailing twine collector! Never thought about that. I am nailing one up in the feed barn tomorrow!!!

    Found your blog from Tatertots and Jello link up party. Would love for you to stop by my blog!

    Have a great weekend.


  29. Hi, I found your post from Centsational Girls blog. I've never done a raised bed garden (although I'd love to) because we live in an apartment, but we do deal with squirrels. I don't know much about this specific variety you are dealing with, but couldn't they climb the chicken wire? We have squirrels that climb our brick apartment walls - they are agile little buggers that will stop at nothing!

  30. Love this idea! I have been wanting to try a garden {again} and haven't mustered up the courage after a few failed attempts {also critters}. I'll have to show this to my husband, see if we can do it! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Bec I saw this at my friend Kate's and just had to see the rest. So cool in the turquoise!

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  32. Awesome!! I'm finishing up my Raised beds myself....working on my drip system right now! Head on over to my blog and check it out! Great Job!!

  33. I too found you from CG. Thanks for the link to PW's post on building raised beds. We have an extensive garden, and I keep trying to convince the hubby that the whole world would be so much better if we build raised beds, but he's not that handy. I've looked up all kinds of how-to articles for building beds, and none were nearly as straight-forward or comprehensive as PW's. I should have known to look there...I read her blog every day anyway! Good luck with the garden and squirrels. At the very least, you have a beautiful garden. May it be fruitful too!

  34. I've put together a round up of fin garden crafts on Craft Gossip today and included your post. :) You can see it here

    If you would like a Craft Gossip badge showing you've been featured, you can grab one here :)

  35. Super cute!!!!! I want raised beds soooooo bad!!!!!!!! I love that you painted them turquoise!!!!

  36. Love this and love the color! I just found your blog and I'm hooked!

    You have great ideas! So loving the laundry room dryig rack!

    So following you now!


  37. I love your garden cages but I'm curious about a couple of things. Are they heavy? How do you get them over tall plants?

    1. There are pretty heavy -- but I can lift them myself (no hubby required), so they're not THAT heavy! :)~ And tall plants .... the only plants we had that were "too tall" were the corn stalks once they got nice and big ... and at that point, the squirrels no longer bother the plants, so we just left the "cages" off once the stalks reached the top. (does that make sense?) :-)

  38. Are they 4 feet by 8 feet and 2-3 feet tall? We desperately need something for our garden. We have every animal imaginable (well not every)-- squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs (the worst!!!), raccoon. We probably wouldn't have a whole bed dedicated to one type of plant so it needs to be able accommodate different kinds.

  39. I LOVE the cage idea! But instead of me having a squirrel problem, I have a problem named Lucy and she likes to eat my plants. Lucy is my puppy that likes to get into everything and dig lol We currently have a small caged thing around the garden area, but she sneaks right by it, this would definitely keep her out of it. Maybe I can add a top that I can lift off, just to keep birds out.

    Is it okay if I post your picture of the caged area on my blog and link it back to your blog? Thanks!


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  43. These are beautiful! Great job! Just wondering about the paint - what type of paint did you use? Just regular exterior? I see you also painted the inside, so I'm assuming everything turned out well with the crop? No strange diseases resulted? Ha ha. Thank you! Great blog!

  44. Nice cage! I want to build one for my garden. How do you get into the garden with the cage? Does it lift up?


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I love EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. :-)