Garden Fresh Veggies? Not at My House!


No Zucchini for You!Before my second child came into the world 11 months ago, my family was engaged in some mighty bad financial behavior. My husband and I frequented Starbucks (still guilty of this from time to time, but we’re doing much better), we ate takeout almost every night, we turned the air in the house down to meat locker temps, and we spent entirely too much money at the grocery store.

The addition of our second little booger caused us to reevaluate some of our more irresponsible routines and swap them out in favor of more budget-friendly moves. We keep a running grocery list and commit to weekly trips for which we budget. We cook at home almost every night. We drink coffee at home all most of the time.

My latest bright idea was to plant a veggie garden in the backyard to cut fresh produce from our grocery bill. We live in the Deep South and it’s summer, so I thought growing veggies would be like shooting fish in a barrel. My hubby resisted.

“Vegetables? I’ve only seen you grow one plant before, and you killed it.”

Me: “Um, dear – do not doubt my gardening prowess. I’m a green-thumbed ninja.”

As it turns out… not so much. Here are a couple of nuggets I took away from my failed experience before I threw my wilted tomato plant in the garbage.

Always Use Pesticides

I chose three vegetable seedlings to begin – zucchini, tomatoes, and jalapeños. I also bought some basil and rosemary. I wanted to plant them in the backyard, but my husband convinced me to go with a container garden just in case it (cough) didn’t work out. I bought some good soil and packed each plant into its own correctly sized pot. I left room for drainage. I watered every day. They flowered. My tomato plant sprouted real tomatoes right before my very eyes.

Then, in literally a day’s time, everything just… died.

After some research, I deduced that the culprit was bugs. I thought about using pesticides, but I wanted organic produce. In retrospect, I could have purchased an organic pesticide, but as a newbie gardener, I didn’t know such a product existed. Sue me. That would’ve been good info to have before my zucchini flowers browned and fell from their stems in despair.

Do Your Homework before Spending Money

As always, I dove right into this gardening thing before I knew what I was doing. Looking back, if I had selected the plants I wanted grow beforehand, I could have researched a little better and thought things out a little more. I could have figured out how much to water each plant, which responded best to what kind of sunlight, etc.

Instead, I threw things in a pot, watched the magic happen, and then I witnessed everything die before my very eyes. Don’t let this happen to you. It will cost you more in the long run if you fail to plan and protect your garden properly. As for me, I’m going to try again next summer armed with pesticide and a whole bunch of knowledge.

I do, however, have two beautiful jalapeños that are still hanging tough. Anyone want to come over for some pico de gallo before those die, too?

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