Squash, Peppers, and Gum Drops

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't the slightest clue what I'm doing when it comes to keeping things alive. I've killed my fair share of goldfish, mums, and hermit crabs (ew), but I've always been secretly hoping to plant my own garden. 

So when the opportunity presented itself this spring, I excitedly and nervously jumped in head first. But given my past history with plants, my thumb isn't necessarily what I would call "green" (but I would like to think that it isn't completely black, either). I've decided it's more of a purple - a creative, fun, experimental kind of purple. 

Hence the title of a new Elle & Company mini-series:


I'm marking this item off of my often-forgotten "someday" list and sharing it with you, because that's what this space is all about - telling stories, trying new things, and hopefully sharing a laugh (or two).

When we first moved to the Suite in January, it already had a cute little plot of land right outside the front porch. Our gracious hosts told us that raspberry bushes had been planted in the center, but they gave us the freedom to do whatever and plant whatever our hearts desired.

Full freedom?! Poor Jake knows exactly what that means. I immediately started making plans for my soon-to-be vegetable garden (a.k.a. Pinteresting my little heart out). My head started swirling with visions of squash, spinach, brightly colored peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, watermelon, sugar plums, gum drops... (kidding). 

And that's when I encountered Problem #1: my tendency to scheme up plans that seem so simple in my head and super difficult in reality.


Which turned into Lesson #1: Make realistic plans that fit your space, your lifestyle, and more importantly, your budget. Which turned into Lesson #2: Use caution when looking up inspiration on Pinterest.

So after I came back down from my dream world, it was time to dig in (pun totally intended). 


Our first task was prepping the land. I spent a couple hours one Saturday pulling up weeds, clearing leaves from the raspberry bushes, and tring not to be freaked out by the ginormous centipedes and spiders I met along the way. Jake helped me turn over the soil, and that's when we realized that although the ground around the raspberry bushes was over a foot deep, the surrounding soil was fairly shallow. 

For those of you who are like me with no gardening experience, that means planting vegetables was going to be difficult. We could either scrap our veggie plans or build up the soil (see what I mean about things being simple in my head?)


But where there's a problem, there's always a solution.

We decided to remove the brick border around the land and replace it with wood. We originally framed the garden to be one board high, but we quickly realized that if we were going to build up the soil, we would need to stack them two boards high. Once we cut the boards, we staked them into the ground. Those guys aren't going anywhere.

Then we filled in the space with my new best garden friend, top soil. It's amazing what a difference a couple boards and 14 bags of top soil can make!

I always said that I would officially be old when I started enjoying trips to Lowe's. Well friends, the time came. I had to refrain from skipping through the sliding doors - I was so very excited to pick out all sorts of plant friends for our garden!

But oh goodness, was I overwhelmed.

There were so many different colors, varieties, conditions, choices. I honestly didn't know where to begin! Another instance where things were more fun in my head than in reality...

... to be continued next week!

What color is your thumb, friends? Do you have a garden? And if you had to choose, would you rather see a furry spider or a thousand-legged centipede creepy crawling on your garden glove?