Lessons from a New Gardener

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 8, 2011

My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view. 
~ H. Fred Ale


Since I started my garden the third week of May, I was sure that everything would die. Every flower or plant that I’ve tried to grow in the past has always bit the dust early on. I heard all kinds of advice imaginable and I started to think if I didn’t follow everything, my garden would be a sure failure.

But what I’ve learned over the past 6 weeks is that the process is unique for every gardener and the best tips and tricks are those learned from personal trial and error. There is no better teacher than experience and the lessons that I’ve learned will stay with me always!

Here are some lessons I’ve learned over the past 6 weeks…

1. Plants aren’t always better than seeds.

Case in point- my pea plants! The pea plants that I started from seed have grown three times the size as compared to the plants I bought in the store. Next season, I will plant more seeds now that I have more gardening confidence.

Pea plant planted from seed…huge!


2. Greens are great for beginners!


Next season, I will likely plant more varieties of greens as I’ve seen how easy they are to grow. Very low maintenance! Umm, except for that spinach failure…

3. Keep your garden within arm’s reach.

This year, I decided to put my potted tomato plants on the opposite side of the house because that’s where the most sunlight is, but honestly it’s a huge pain in the butt to water them so far away. I might move them to the other side of the house and just make sure they are in direct sunlight! When your garden is in arm’s reach, you are much more likely to water them on a regular basis. Try to keep everything as close as you can.


4. Raised garden beds are amazing!


We used this raised bed tutorial and I’m so glad we spent the extra time, money, and effort to build raised beds. Raised bed gardening is beneficial for several reasons, including better drainage, more aeration in the soil, less bending over, more control over the soil, closer plant spacing, and an earlier start to the season and later end (due to the raised bed being warmer than the ground).


5. Don’t be afraid to crowd a few plants


I followed plant spacing guidelines to a tee when I planted everything (I even measured with a ruler!!), but now that I see the growth, I know I could have spaced things closer together and still had success. Next season, I won’t be so afraid of a little crowding here and there! Also, with a raised bed, you can plant closer.

6. Chicken wire is great for keeping small animals out, but annoying when gardening.


We haven’t had any major issues with small animals eating our plants thanks to the chicken wire. However, occasionally I will see a bunny eating my KALE through the chicken wire! The bunnies are too cute to get mad at…and can you blame him? That’s good kale! I laugh when I see a leaf nibbled on next to the wire, but again, it has only happened a couple times.

With that being said, the chicken wire is really annoying when it comes to gardening because it’s always in the way. Unhooking it eats up time, so I usually just bend it down when I’m weeding and picking.

7. Before picking herbs, give them a rinse with the hose.


This way, you won’t have to fuss with washing them once you bring them inside!

8. There are no mistakes in gardening, only learning experiences!


The best part about gardening is that you are in the trenches learning every single day. There is no better teacher than experience! I’ve learned much more by actually doing it, than from reading a book. I will never forget about my bolted spinach and if I plant it again, I will try another variety more resistant to bolting and I will plant it earlier in the season!

9. When picking kale and lettuce leaves, pick the outer leaves and leave the inner ones


Seems logical, but I had to Google this before I did it!

10. Plant only the produce that you LOVE to eat.

Only plant produce that you get excited about. Kale is one of my favourite vegetables, so I planted the most of it- 20 plants. I’m not worried about having too much because I can always freeze it and enjoy it all winter long!

11. Nothing is better than tasting fresh peas.


Sweetest peas ever.

12. Seeing a bell pepper sprout is like Christmas morning :)


Happiest moment of gardening to date!

More progress pictures…

The tomatoes have surfaced :)


The tomato plants didn’t want to wrap around the pole and one of the plants actually fell over!! I don’t know if it was from another animal or from the wind, but I loosely wrapped a twist tie around the upper stem to support them. Seems fine now. :)


Peppers are growing!

This is our banana pepper plant. Long and slender. :)


Cucumbers! Which have little pricklies on them…..cuteness.


Our two cucumber plants have grown the most out of any of the plants in the garden.

Here they are May 28, 2011:


July 7, 2011:


BEETS! Grown from seeds (which I’m especially proud of)


Carrots sprouting ever so slowly, also grown from seeds. :) And a few weeds to pull out!


The peas love to hook onto things for support.


Another pea plant which was planted from seed is doing well. It managed to hook around a stick for support.


I laughed when I saw that the plant has grabbed onto this long piece of grass (below) and strangled it!


I also read that I should put string across the pea plants horizontally so they can spread out more…I’m hoping to do that this weekend.

And the best lesson of all?

13. Mother Nature knows best!


The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that nature is pretty darn good at working things out for itself! While it’s important to take care of a garden, it’s equally important not to smother the plants. Like a mother sending her child off to their first day of school, sometimes you just have to let them go grow. :)

Initially, I was watering too much and the plants began to yellow and die. Once I backed off a bit and let it do its thing, the plants just took off with growth!


Weather means more when you have a garden.  There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  ~Marcelene Cox

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Previous Posts

{ 131 comments… read them below or add one }

[email protected] Tell Stories July 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

You’ve had so much success with your garden, I’ll be planting a bigger one than the one I currently have next year :) Looking forward to all my home-grown produce!


The Teenage Taste July 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

Great lessons, Angela! My Dad and I have been planting a veggie garden in the backyard for as long as I can remember. It’s a tradition I look forward to every Summer. Gotta love those fresh, pesticide-free veggies! :-D


Cait's Plate July 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

I’m dying to have a garden! I know I say this every time you post about yours but I’m so jealous!

That bell pepper is awesome. I would be so excited if I saw that and knew that I grew it myself!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen July 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

I love all your garden pictures. I think you’ve done an amazing job for your first year and I’m super jealous of all your kale!


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove July 8, 2011 at 9:16 am

We eat so many vegetables that it would make more sense to just grow everything! I wish I could have a garden, but we don’t have a balcony at our current apartment and if we have any plants inside we get those annoying little flies. We’re moving in August and our new landlord has a garden in the back that we’re welcome to, but it’s not the same as having your own. I guess it’ll be good practice!


Marit July 11, 2011 at 1:16 am

If the landlord is not keen on you digging around you can always use pots. Those strawberry pots (tall with lots of holes in the sides) are brilliant for growing herbs and both peppers and tomatoes will grow quite impressively in pots. oblong pots or window boxes are excellent for both lettuces and peas. You can do a surprising amount of great stuff with small areas.
A garden is great but as long as you rent accommodation there will always be limits to what changes you can make and pots can be a fantastic feature. A friend of mine went to a demolition site and found a really old set of wooden interior stairs. she dragged it home, set it up against the wall in her garden and filled every step with pots of veg. it looked amazing.
As the stairs ended at the wall, she called it her stairway to dinner. :)


Nicole July 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

Thanks for the advice! I agree that gardening is a lesson you learn from experience. I did my first raised bed garden this year and while most of what I planted is growing really well, there are certain things I will likely try differently next year.

For the chicken wire, I would suggest asking Eric to build a frame with a door that you can open and close on one end. That’s what Blake did for me and I love it.


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

umm that’s genius. I think Eric will shoot me if I give him another project though. Might have to wait til the deck is done…lol.


Meredith July 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

Love this post! I’ve never grown a garden, but as soon as I move out of my apartment and into my own house, I know planting a garden will be on the top of my to do list!


Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats July 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

Thanks for the great tips! =)

Gardening’s pretty tough when you don’t know what your looking for or you don’t know what’s normal! This is my first year ever trying to make something grow and you have certainly been an inspiration! My little cherry tomatoes are finally coming in and I couldn’t be happier.


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

cherry tomatoes would be lovely! Glad they are working out for you.


Lacey July 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

Last year was my first attempt at a garden, and failed pretty miserably. The few tomatos that did come in were quickly gobbled up by my neighbor’s daughter (we share the garden), and I believe we had only 1 pepper actually reach a respectable size. This year we tried a few different things and so far so good.

I laughed when you mentioned the rabbits eating your kale. I have a similar problem, only it’s my black lab that likes to eat mine. I’m having trouble getting my hubby to embrace a more plant-based lifestyle, but the dog is more than happy to eat up anything green. :-)

I’ve been reading for a while, and really love the blog. Last summer I switched to a pescetarian diet and have recently eliminated diary from my life. For me, the changes are due mostly to GI issues I’ve struggled with over the years, and I’m finding that a more plant-based lifestyle is truly helping.

Your blog has inspired a few recipes in my kitchen, so thank you for that! Keep up the great work!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

A black lab eating kale….who knew? I guess dogs do like grass, so it makes sense… heh
Glad you enjoy the blog! Congrats on your lifestyle changes.


Shelley August 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

My American Bulldog looooooves kale. Every time we have it (almost daily), she gets a leaf or two plus a carrot or two. She’s the healthiest dog I know.


Elizabeth July 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

Hi there! I’ve been following your blog for a while; I love cooking yummy vegan food, and your recipes are very inspiring! Just wanted to tell you that your garden looks so beautiful… I’m still in the apartment part of my life right now, but I hope someday I can grow veggies that are half as lovely as yours.

Kind wishes,


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 9:24 am

thanks Elizabeth!


Jen @ keepitsimplefoods July 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

Your garden looks awesome! I have a black thumb. :(


Aine @ Something to Chew Over July 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

Your little farm has come a long way, great job Angela! :)

Love that opening quote.


Ashley July 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

I would love to have a garden in the future– but for now, even though I live in an apartment, I would really love to at least have some herbs on the balcony! Where we’re housesitting at right now, in St. George, Utah, they have a garden out back full of tomatoes,grapes,basil,peppers, and even watermelon! There’s a pumpkin there somewhere too– and the freshest squash:) I love watching everything grow!
We made a pizza Margherita the other night with basil and tomatoes from the garden. I never liked tomatoes before, but there’s no turning back now! :) So glad your garden is doing well!


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table July 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

Reading this really makes me wish I had a yard! I bet it is so exciting to watch littler peppers, cucumbers, et al progress each day.


Amanda Elliott July 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

Your garden looks so great! I am jealous.
I only discovered your blog a couple of days ago, and I am so thrilled I did.
I am also from Ontario, so it is great to follow a local blog.

Unfortunately, my house doesn’t have a back yard to have a big garden. We do have a balcony where I planted a few things like lettuce, parsley, basil, baby tomatoes and green peppers. So far everything is doing pretty good, but look forward to next year where I plan to plant kale and try some seeds too.

I recently started my own blog to keep myself motivated with working out and eating healthy. I took some pics of my garden yesterday, that I plan to share in a post very soon!

Anyways, great job with your garden and I am loving your blog!


Holly @ The Runny Egg July 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

The peas are so cute!!!

Good job with your garden — I only planted one tomato plant in a pot and it is doing well. I’m so proud :)


Amanda July 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

I love this post! I understand the feeling completely. I mean I started a whole blog to record my trials and error :) After all the years of watching my family garden, it is a completely different experience to give it a try on your own. I learned a lot of lessons last year that I’ve implemented this year and even more are being learned now. I love gardening :)


Tichina July 8, 2011 at 9:33 am

What a lovvvverly post! :) Great to read duing my morning work break, now it’s back to work! :) Have a great day Angela!


Christine July 8, 2011 at 9:34 am

I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and you’re very inspiring! Also your garden is beautiful!!! I am on my third year planting veggies and have not once done any research on how to grow them but rather just charge it and learn from my mistakes. Every year our produce exponentially increases than the previous. This year my soil is incredible (top soil, mushroom compost, vermiculite). And I agree raised beds are the way to go!


Silvia @ skinny jeans food July 8, 2011 at 9:36 am

I agree, watching things grow in the garden is exciting, and you even treat the produce differently when you cook it! Really appreciative!! :-)


Rebecca July 8, 2011 at 9:36 am

Wow, GARDEN ENVY. And I really hate gardening. :) But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as adorable as that pea plant!! It was funny, at first I thought you wrote “Before picking herbs, give them a rinse of hope”…ha! :)


Jen July 8, 2011 at 9:37 am

I envy your garden SO much! It’s beautiful. I want fresh peppers and cucumbers! One of my biggest goals is to have a garden like that one day. If I ever do, I’ll probably backtrack through some of your posts for tips, because your greens look amazing. :)


Andrea July 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

This is my first year having a garden too and I love it! It’s so fun seeing the progress… next year I think I will definately expand it now that I know what I’m doing a little more! Do you think you will expand yours?


Lindsey July 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

I love veggie gardens! Yours looks awesome! My peas were attacked by some sort of pest, which makes me sad since they are my favorite. Your cucumbers look great mine are so small I can barely see them! And not tomatoes for me yet. I will keep my fingers crossed for now :)


jess @ cupcakes and kale July 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

congrats on the success this season! i’m not struggling with bunnies, but this year i’ve been catching a big lovely robin nibbling at my beet & radish greens! haha, oh well, at least i’ve always got the great big squash plant growing out of our compost heap! can’t wait to see if it will sprout zucchini or butternut or pumpkins!


Nikki T July 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

Awesome lessons! I’m not quite as scared to plant my first garden next year now :)


Tiffany July 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

Your garden looks great! Aren’t home grown peas the best? I also started mine from seeds…just kind of plopped them in the ground with a kiss and a prayer…and now we have SO MANY! I finally got to pick them last night. I sauteed ours with olive oil, salt and pepper and they were amazing!

I see bunnies around our chicken wire, too. And they’re so cute I don’t really care if they get some of my carrots :)


JenATX July 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

I hope you are so proud of yourself for diving into so many challenges this summer. GF baking AND gardening!


Magdalena July 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

The garden is absolutely lovely! Must be really inspiring to see the plants growing!


Cat @Breakfast to Bed July 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

Do you drink coffee at all? The used grounds are fantastic in your garden. (I come from farmers)


JL goes Vegan July 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

GREAT overview and tutorial! This was my first summer gardening (deck garden) Believe it or not, my biggest fail has been herbs. UGH. My dill and cilantro bolted, without me knowing what that even meant! (the thyme, basil and parsley have fared well, though) Kale is super easy, super good and thank goodness because kale is my heart! My red romaine lettuce started strong and I’ve had some amazing salads. I went on vacation this week and returned to bolted lettuce. Not sure, but I think my lettuce is over for the the summer :( My peppers are popping out and my cherry tomato plant brings more joy than I could ever imagine! So, yes, here, too. Hits and misses. And I’ll do it again next summer ;)


Jo July 8, 2011 at 10:01 am

One thing to keep in mind with the spacing guidelines is that more than anything, they’re there to make sure that there’s enough space underground for the roots so they can adequately spread out and pick up enough nutrients to make our veggies even healthier.

Great garden!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 10:15 am

that makes sense, thanks!!


Brenda Fisher July 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I planted my radish seeds too close together and now they don’t have enough room to grow big and round, some are long and skinny because they are crowded. The seeds were just so small, I couldn’t see spacing them out so much, but it matters! Your garden looks beautiful!


Michelle | Gold-Hearted Girl July 8, 2011 at 10:02 am

I LOVE your garden beds. The wood + soil + green is just gorgeous! I can’t wait to grow veggies of my own. Hopefully I’ll have a green thumb like my mom…and like you! Good job!


Kelsey July 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

Great work, Angela! I can’t wait to have a house with a yard one day so I can try my hand at a garden like this.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

Well done Ange!!! You’ve done such a great job and I think everything looks fantastic, especially the kale and that baby green pepper!! I’d say you’ve definitely got a green thumb now!


kelly July 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

Lookin’ good! We are doing our first veggie garden this year too and I agree that it is like Christmas when those first plants start to grow :)


Chantal July 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

Love this :) Did you plant your greens from seed or were they small plants? I can’t remember… I tried starting mine from seed and I think they got overcrowded… I didn’t have the heart to thin them out when I probably should have so I may just got with plants next year. Other than that, I totally agree with you on everything, especially the sweet pea part! (Pea shoots are also just about the tastiest thing ever, so if you have any leftover peas to plant, just let them got a couple inches and eat them, they’re amazing!)


Carlene July 8, 2011 at 10:15 am

Great post, especially the tip about seeds vs. plants. My fiance and I are house hunting right now and at each one, I always imagine where I’m going to put my raised beds!


Zestful Lou July 8, 2011 at 10:16 am

I would definitely be the one to choose plants over seeds because I would assume that they’ve already started growing and all I have to do is keep them alive! I guess that’s not always true. I’m learning so much!!


Pure2raw Twins July 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

Great advice. I can’t wait for the day till I have the room to make my own garden. I am a little nervous because I feel I would not be very good at it. But I have learned so much for your experience so thank you!


Cindy Robinson July 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

That romaine looks lovely! Glad you’ve learned alot with your garden, and have taught me some things as well. Your ending quote resonated with me, as we have had lots of rain in FL the past few days. I can’t help but think of how happy my grass and plants are :) Happy Friday Angela!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

Im the same when it rains…I just think about my plants! Its totally changed my perspective about rain…


Andrea B. @ Vegvacious July 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

Your gardens are looking great!! I think you’ve inspired me to try some raised beds next year!


Hayley @ Oat Couture July 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

Wow everything looks great! :) You have done an amazing job! Especially as it was your first time! Will be coming to you for tips when I eventually start my own garden! :)


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

Lahve! I’ve discovered the same things. Especially with growing from a seed — it works wondahs!


Jennielee July 8, 2011 at 10:38 am

I don’t know if you did anything wrong to your spinach. I’m a little farther south than you (buffalo) but my friend is a spinach farmer and they lost a huge part of their crop this year to bolting, then they had a mad dash to salvage what they could. I guess it was just a really terrible year for spinach!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

yea I heard from a lot of ppl who lost their spinach this year!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

Angela the garden, your plants (all these images too!)…they look amazing! You should be SO IMPRESSED with yourself and what you’ve done. Going from pretty much nothing to pretty much amazing-ness! :)

The sweetest peas ever? I just did a post 2 days ago on my love of sugar snap peas. I wish I could help you eat yours…haha!

I dont have a garden, I don’t have a yard. I just am moving into a place with a big enough balcony that I could do a container garden. Then again, I have such amazing farmers markets here, for $2 bucks, maybe I will just buy some sugar snap peas and leave it to the green thumb pros. :)

Happy weekend!


Lauri (RedHeadRecipes.com) July 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

I learned so much about my little garden attempt from reading this!
1) Overwatering= yellow planst! I thought that meant I wasn;t watering them enough… Oops!
2)totally agree with the seeds over potted plants! I thought I had just ‘lucked out’ with my gorgeous basil plant, but now I think its because I planted it from seed! And its SO big and pretty!! I’m the most proud of this plant (But it already needs a bigger pot!)
3) Spinach ‘bolting’? What does this mean? I’ve never grown spinach before (I’m gonna try and google it)


Lauri (RedHeadRecipes.com) July 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

So I just googled ‘bolting plants’ and discovered that this is what is happening to my lettuce!! I thought a weed had gotten in there somehow! Ha ha, silly me!


Halley (Blunder Construction) July 8, 2011 at 10:56 am

I looove this post, Angela! It gives me hope that my black thumb will not always curse my plants, and maybe someday I’ll have a garden just like yours! I agree – snap peas are THE BEST off the vine!


Lindsey @ Why Just Eat July 8, 2011 at 10:56 am

I will be starting a garden next year. The previous owner of our house put in beautiful raised beds, but we have a puppy this year and his goal in life is to dig to the bottom of said beds. Hopefully he will have outgrown this phase by next spring!


VEGirl July 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

Congrats on your flourishing garden! Glad to see more grow-your-own converts (it really becomes a necessity when you consume a lot of produce!)


Eat Hike Sleep Repeat July 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

Great summary lessons. My peas (from seed) have gone crazy!!! But, my lettuce (from plants) have been a dud and have gone to seed like your spinach. Isn’t it so exciting when you first see progress? Just saw my first strawberry – super tiny, need my macro lens to photo it – but it’s there! Did the chicken wire thing too. All my veggies look like they’re in jail, but good thing – four small deer came through the yard and would have wiped me out in minutes. Kale is almost ready to eat. Thanks for the picking tip – I would have picked the whole thing!


amanda July 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

I’ve the spinach is the only thing that didn’t work out – you really can’t beat that especially for your first year! The garden looks great – I wish I had the space.


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

I’ve always been scared to plant my own garden, but seeing all your success on your first try gives me some encouragement. Maybe next summer I’ll give it a shot! And if I fail… well then there’s always the year after that!


Katrina July 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

Your garden is so beautiful! Love it.


Beth (Well I'll Be) July 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

I love this post, such good lesson! You’ve done a great job. I think cucumbers from a garden are one of the best things ever. They’re so fragrant, which you usually don’t associate with that particular veggie!


Mama Pea July 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

Ahem, SECOND sweetest peas ever. ;)


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

heh ;)


Thin Lizzy July 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

i love gardening. i used to have a huge garden on the farm and then when I moved into a city I had a community plot. Now, all I have is some pots in the parking lot. I just love seeing things grow and providing for myself, independent of grocery stores. You’re doing great!


Shay July 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

I am so happy for you and your gorgeous garden! I can’t wait to have my own house someday, plant my own garden and eat right from it–how fun! May your green thumb streak continue!


Erin July 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

Are pea plants not the cutest things ever? When I was little my parents used to grow them and I was obsessed! Soooo yummy! I live in an apt now and can’t have a veggie garden… though it is on my bucket list :)


Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons July 8, 2011 at 11:59 am

I think I need to re-try pea plants! I had a horrible fail last year when it got too cold but this year i’m prepared for it! <3

ohmygosh and my cilantro ALWAYS tries to flower/bolt/die on me no matter what I do! though this time i'm keeping it inside and trimming often – hoping it helps! <3

Thanks for the tips girl!


Moni'sMeals July 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

you should feel so proud! Just look at what you have accomplished! I am so envious! That kale! Yum yum yum.


Hollie July 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Amazing for a new gardener! I’m on my third year of gardening all on my own, and this is what I’ve learned:
1. Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins and other squash HATE being transplanted. This year I planted seeds instead of buying plants and they’re HUGE!
2. Carrots can easily take over a garden
3. Kozy Koats are amazing for cooler climates (I live in Winnipeg, MB). They’ve given me ginourmous tomatoes.

I would suggest looking into square foot gardening. The guidelines for planting are ususally a little spacious, the square foot gardening method is supposed to use your space more efficiently. Also, companion plantings. Certain plants grow better when they are placed next to other plants.

Yesterday I looked out my window and there was a muskrat in my garden! I grabbed my camera and ran outside, but he took off and hid under my truck. Then this morning, walking to my garage I spotted him again. He was munching on my spinach (I don’t have any chicken wire). I took a picture, but he was hiding behind my soy beans and I couldn’t really get a good shot of him. I planted enough this year to share with the bunnies (I find it’s easier to overplant and let them eat some than try to keep them out), but I didn’t plan on muskrats. I guess that’s what comes with living next to a river…


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

too funny! I can never get a pic either…they are too quick.
I dont mind a little sharing either…it kinda makes me happy in a weird way that I can feed animals too? Im sure I will change my tune as soon as one of them eats all the good stuff though!


Mary July 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hi ange,
Beautiful garden. Gardening has great rewards, lots of work but it pays off. You could arrange potted plants around your beds. Put down patio pavers and set the pots on them. If you dig a space for them and then lay them in you just go right over top with the mower with no worries. You could do the foot print ones or round or square. It will keep everything close at hand. Buy a really nice big pot, some pear moss and good soil next year and plant a pot or two of stawberries to grow along with the tomatoes in pots. Strawberries are better in pots as they can take over a garden. Mint also grows really nice in pots, also don’t plant in the garden or within two years the whole garden will be mint. Buy those round tomatoe fences for your tomatoes next year, it will keep them from falling over. You put one stick in right beside the plant and then the fence around the plant. As the plant flowers you can tie the main stem of the plant to the stick to support the plant when the tomatoes come out.
Enjoy your garden.


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Thanks Mary, great advice :)


Mary July 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

I ment to say peat moss mot pear moss. Also all you need is a brach from a tree for staking most plants. No need to buy them when you have a backyard full of them. LOL


Mary ( What's Cookin' with Mary) July 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Loving your garden pics Ange! I keep reading about how kale is so easy to grow… I think I’ll buy a planter next summer and grow some :)


Roz July 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Your garden is lovely!


Heidi @ Food Doodles July 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I love this :D Especially #13. There are so many things to learn but I think that one is the most important. I love the last quote too – I think it’s a little weird that I think about those kind of things, but at least I’m not the only one, haha.


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey July 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Great post!! I have definitely learned a LOT already this year about gardening. I have decided next year I am going to have my husband build another bed just for my zucchini, cucumbers, and other squashes because they seriously are HUGE plants! They are overtaking my garden! I think I’m going to plant more greens next year!


Beth July 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Your garden looks wonderful, and I’m so jealous of your tomatoes and peppers. Our tomato and pepper plants have flowers, but no fruit yet. I can’t believe you have 20 kale plants! We have 12, and that is the perfect amount for us, but we also have 12 lettuce plants and we’re literally drowning in salad greens! We over planted originally, since this was our first garden, and I was afraid I was going to kill everything. I just posted our six week update and I can’t believe how much everything has grown since we first put it in. It’s truly amazing. I totally agree with you on seeds vs. plants. We planted all seedlings this year because I was nervous about getting anything to grow from seed, but now that I have a little more gardening confidence, I think we’ll be starting things from seed next season. Enjoy all your lovely, and super local :) produce!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I felt the same too! Did I mention I also have 10 romaine plants? hehe. Its great motivation to have a salad every night that is for sure. :)
Im sure your plants will fruit soon as ours just did on the weekend. So exciting. Im just worried that an animal will eat out tomato plants if we dont protect them…


Tegan July 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Speaking of planing things closer together, I thought that you might like reading the book Mini Farming by Brett L. Markham. I’m in the process of reading it now and it’s all about planting things close together to get the biggest yield but also the least work. I strongly suggest you give it a read. It’s super informative!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Great thank you :)


Liz @ Tip Top Shape July 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I have a lot of the same vegetables in my garden, too!! Saw my first little pepper yesterday. They really are cute!


kaila @ healthy helper! July 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

This just got me really excited about my own garden! I planted peas…so now I can’t wait for them to grow to full size! Mmm mmm its gonna be so nice have fresh veggies!


Andrea July 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm

What a gorgeous garden! On a side note, I just stumbled across this contest and it looks right up your alley, so I thought I’d pass along the link :) http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/cherryfest/


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

thanks will check it out!


Nina (SLO Foodie) July 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

These are great tips! I’m starting the process of building a garden next week so I’ll be keeping these things in mind.


Jane July 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

LIving in the city I only wish I could have as much fun and produce from a garden of my own. Thank goodness for the farmer’s market!

One fantastic summer I dog sat for a family for two weeks. They had a wonderful vegetable garden and told me to eat as much as I liked. It was so fun picking my dinner every night!
Get ready for those beets! Once they start you’ll be eating beet everything!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

oh that would be fun :) I think I would have eaten everything heh


Olya July 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Good on you! It looks wonderful!


Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit July 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Oh my gosh! Look at that pepper! You’re right, it’s totally like Christmas morning. I’m trying my hand at a perennial garden this weekend. It’s going to take me 2 solid days to create, but I figure it’s a good step for a new gardener. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but you’ve totally inspired me to rock my black thumb. Thanks Angela :)


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes July 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Looks like you’ve had quite a sucess with your garden!! congrats! I always get excited when my little plants grow overnight :)


Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble July 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I wish I didn’t live in a hot desert so I could grow a better garden. But I at least got some tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and herbs growing. My brother taught me how to make my basil grow big and bushy by pinching it down so it continues to grow and fill out.


Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf July 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I’m so jealous of your garden! This season has been miserable. Our drought is so extensive (no measureable rain in something like 9 months) and the heat so oppressive that we actually officially live in a natural disaster area. it’s been over 100 almost every day since mid-May (I know it’s Texas, but that’s still a good 10-20 degrees above average for this time of the year). Even the weeds can’t survive!

Our farmers market is finally opening for the season tomorrow (a month late), and I’ve already been told by one farmer that it will be very meager this year since nothing’s fruiting in this heat.

I’m planting a fall garden in hopes that the windlessness of the late summer and fall will be a more hospitable climate (ie. won’t feel like a convection oven anymore, even though it will still be ridiculously hot). I’m having to water my garden area twice a day since it’s so hot and dry that the moisture is sucked out of the ground every afternoon. The hardest part will be getting the seeds to germinate!


Lauren @heylo July 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

With all your talk about gardening I was inspired to get a small balcony garden going. I planted spinach, strawberries, chives, green onion, lemon thyme, oregano, and a few other herbs. The spinach took off and we were super excited about it, until ours too went to seed :( I would like to hear about the other varieties out there or how to prevent this sad tragedy! Your garden looks amazing and congrats on all the success. I can’t wait to have a backyard and a real garden :)


Carissa July 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Your garden looks great! :-) And I love the comment about how weather means more when you have a garden. So true!


Jessica July 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Fantastic Lessons! I agree, experience towers over all advice! I am loling over how the plants seem to have a mind of their own, grabbing/hooking onto things! Also, I literally went awwww when I saw that lil green pepper! Too cute! :)


Jamie July 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

So jealous! My cukes are the only thing thriving right now. Some sort of tiny black bug attacked and ate all of my kale. Hoping for better luck next year… and grateful for cucumbers this year. :)


Jen July 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm

GORGEOUS garden, Angela! Congrats! My MIL has been giving us tons of green onions from her garden and they taste so amazing compared to store bought! Almost makes me wish we owned a home so I could have a garden of my own (who am I kidding, I’d still be pinching produce from the MIL, lol)


Molly @ RDexposed July 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

That’s stuff is called bolting that is coming up from my spinach?? It’s over?!



Ashley July 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm

You are giving me so much hope! I just got 3 potted herb plants for my bday and am hoping to keep them alive. Next year, garden FOR sure. It was too crazy with all of the new house action this year. Glad to see your garden is doing so well!!


Rasha @ PBAddiction July 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm

After reading the spinach entry back when you posted it, I realized half of my spinach plants are basically gone too, haha. I’m really glad you’ve taken up gardening now since it’s my first year doing it too and can kinda compare :) These tips are great! I’ve had bunnies over too and you’re right, it’s hard getting mad at the cuteness!


Amy July 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm

This is our 2 nd year with a garden and I am loving it. I love this post and i want to remember all the suggestions you give. I am attempting to go raw, at least mostly for the summer, and look forward to learning from your blog.


Ritika July 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm

What an inspiring story! I love the quotes you chose. Do you get a lot of bees and wasps? If so, do they ever sting you? I’m always scared about starting a garden because of that. :(


[email protected] July 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Angela this is an awesome post~ I seriously learned soo much just through those few pointers! I think Kale would be one of the best to plant! And of course, the peppers and all :)


Sophia July 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Looks wonderful! Oh, and I’m not sure where I got this from, but I heard that if you plant a couple of herbs with your other produce, it’ll keep those pesky critters away. I don’t have a backyard of my own to start a garden (I live in an apartment in the city), but I really want to one day! For now I have to live vicariously through you & your blog! :D


Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel July 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

a green thumb in training :) i think ur off to a wonderful start!! <3


Nikita July 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Your garden looks beautiful! I can remember my mom having an amazing garden when I was growing up. And I helped, so of course I thought I had a green thumb, too… Not so! I kill things. Maybe there is hope yet! I need to learn more about gardening and not assume that things will grow from love :)


Shannon ~ My Place In The Race July 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Your garden is looking great! Aren’t the bell peppers and cucumbers the cutest! :D


Julie @ Wearing Mascara July 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Such a great post!! Congrats on your baby plants!! :-)


Jackie @ That Deep Breath July 9, 2011 at 12:36 am

I am so jealous of your garden. It’s gorgeous


Emma July 9, 2011 at 1:35 am

I swear your blog is such a darling! Congratulations on the garden! Always wanted to have one myself…except, we have no space in the city. Wondering if I could do potted herbs haha.


Brittnie July 9, 2011 at 6:24 am

My husband and I recently built a planter box with all types of veggies. Our one big mistake… we did not put up chicken wire or any other type of barrier to keep the squirrels (or other creatures) away. Major. Fail. Your garden looks amazing!! Gives me some inspiration to get back out there and try again :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011 at 8:13 am

aww sorry that happened to you! Im sure we would have had the same issue…our gardens would have been a buffet for the bunnies I think. Glad you are going to saddle back up and give it a shot!!


Sylvia @ LifeIsGoodWithFood July 9, 2011 at 7:39 am

I have my own garden, but I think I’m positively jealous of yours right now! When did you start planting the seeds? I started mine near the end of May and they’re all still short, stubby, and no fruit except for the herbs and lettuce! :(

On the other hand, have a wonderful Saturday :-D


Mark Wisecarver July 9, 2011 at 8:21 am

Awesome post! Such a Glow ;-)


Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) July 9, 2011 at 8:42 am

I love this. I can’t WAIT until I have my own little garden! Thinking of getting some potted herbs soon, I will be a gardener gosh darn it! :)



Barb July 9, 2011 at 10:08 am

Peas and greens are cool weather crops. You can extend their growing time by providing shade for a large part of the day once the weather heats up. You can do that by putting something on the fence like plastic or fabric. Keep a sharp look on your greens. When you see the smallest part of a bolt, cut it down as far as you can. You can put a new crop of greens in the garden in late summer. You will get another crop that way before it gets cold. We’ve had a garden for over 30 years and it’s nice to pull out vegetables from the freezer year round. You should replace that twist tie on the tomato plants with a strip of soft cloth that has a bit of stretch. A piece of old t-shirt or strip from pantyhose works best. That stem will get bigger around and the twist tie will strangle it. Good luck this season!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

thanks so much Barb! Do you know what the signs of bolting are on kale and romaine by chance?


Tanya July 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’m so jealous. Your garden looks amazing! I only have a small patio and I was away the first part of the summer, so I couldn’t plant anything yet. Now it’s a billion degrees outside….I planted some lettuce and tomatoes in my indoor gardens but I still want to plant some things outside. Hmmm…..maybe some tomatoes.


Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) July 11, 2011 at 1:55 am

Wow Angela!!! You don’t look like a beginner!

I love fresh garden peas so much – they remind me of my childhood. I would shell a whole giant bowl full and then dive in!!


Emily Wilson July 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

Hi Angela!
I love that you have really gotten into gardening! I am interning on an organic veggie and medicinal herb farm on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada right now (I’m from California). And I am learning soooo much about how to grow food and about herbs! I just thought you might be interested in checking out my blog. You might learn something that could help you with your garden. (Although it appears to be going quite successfully so far! :)) Oh, and I made your no bake vegan date squares yesterday- love those things!!! Hope you have a chance to look at my blog. The post about tomato suckering may be helpful to you ( http://emilyatinnisfree.blogspot.com/2011/06/suckering.html ).


Meredith July 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Oh I’m a wee bit jealous of your garden…we’ve had so much rain here in NB, and even hail last week. Most of my plants were destroyed, and what are left have been eaten up by slugs and earwigs! So glad to see you’re having a lush crop!


Amber Schaefer July 20, 2011 at 3:49 am

You’ve inspired me to make my own garden! I’m 16 years old and my father is going to help me start my garden. I think it will be a great bonding experience! :)


Rachel Broadway October 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I love your garden, it’s so beautiful! Great advise, too. I am planning on starting my own above ground garden next season and this has really helped take some of the nervousness out of the adventure. I’m constantly looking for advise since I have no idea what I’m doing. I am also new to the vegan lifestyle and can’t wait to try more of these delicious looking recipies in the future (PS, the choc chip cookies were amazing! I don’t think my husband even knew they were vegan!)


Bees December 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

If you want to try gardening or just love to garden, please try the “Square Foot Gardenening” method – Google on line or buy the book. Only a small space required, almost no weeding, and soooo much can be grown in a tiny space!


Just found your website – it’s time for me to reduce animal products in my diet. AND so excited that you live in Southwestern Ontario like me – sourcing ingredients for your creations isn’t a problem! You have similar food preferences/tastes too…adding vegan is so easy!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2012 at 9:52 am

It’s a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for reading. :) Sadly I no longer have a garden in our new rental, but hopefully again one day!


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: