My First Garden: What I’ve Learned So Far

This summer is my first attempt at full-scale gardening. This is the first year I've lived in a house with a yard; previous gardening efforts were limited to containers of herbs and the odd tomato plant, on windowsills or apartment patios. To complicate matters, it's my first year living in New England, so the climate is new (and frightening). We had an intensely bitter winter, in which my backyard was buried under five feet of snow from January through the end of March. Then we had an intensely rainy and chilly spring.

Container gardens can be a good way to start
Container gardens can be a good way to start.

I knew this first year would be an experiment, so I approached it as such. In February, I began collecting seeds (heirloom and/or organic when possible), with the idea to plant one or two of everything and see what took. Here's what I bought:

  • Tomatoes (several different kinds, including Jubilee, Amish Paste, Cherokee, and cherry)
  • Peppers (habanero, jalapeno, Thai, cayenne, Serrano, and bell: green, yellow and purple)
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Butternut squash
  • Pie pumpkins
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Watermelon
  • Corn
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Beets (regular and striped)
  • Mache
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Leeks
  • Onions

Some of these I won't plant until late summer/early fall, like the beets and Brussels sprouts. But wait, there's more! I also bought herbs:

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