Meeting the Challenge! Linking Up With The Homeschool Village

Where have the past four weeks gone?   When I linked up for the first installment of the Homeschool Village's Garden Challenge, I was a little nervous about this gardening thing.  In fact, I made the confession that I have really never grown anything in my life (save a few pots of flowers here and there).

This is the area I was looking at from my back deck... a great space for gardening, but it does get pretty shady and needed some better soil.   When we were thinking of buying our house we loved this view, because in the spring the woods are so beautiful, the garden was in full bloom, and the yard stays green (even in the winter) because it is Fescue, a cool weather grass that loves shade. 

The raised bed area

I am VERY happy to report that we've had success in our first phase of gardening and are looking forward to more success as the spring finishes and summer rolls around.    I decided to start simple.   We have a large raised bed area, but only planted four different things.  Less is more, right?     My children and I spent a couple of mornings outside hoeing the garden (my sweet husband used the tiller in it to get us going) and then planting our seeds.   We planted zucchini squash, peppers, cilantro, and Phlox and Marigolds.    The best thing was that we had fun... my daughter said to me (after a few hours of hard work in the garden), "Even if nothing grows I still had fun with you, mom!".   Thank you, Homeschool Village for spurring me to do this.  

My two gardeners after a hard morning of planting!

One thing I didn't plan on was having and extra "helper" in the garden.   Check out this Eastern King Snake who was lurking by the garden when we were working last week - after some research we found out you WANT these guys in your backyard!   

He was about 4 feet long!  Yikes!

Our zucchini is starting to sprout - still waiting on the peppers, cilantro, and flowers.   As of today we are seeing tiny sprouts of them... but the zucchini is doing the best. 

Zucchini sprouts

I took the easy way out and planted strawberries in containers.  But guess what??  They are growing marvelously - every couple of days we all get a treat and that has been great! 

Pots of strawberries, and a pot of Marigolds for each of the children... although these Marigolds aren't doing so well!

We had some extra seeds and decided to plant Nasturtium and Marigolds in pots... also discovered these pots (which had soil with added fertilizer) are doing MUCH better than the pots of Marigolds on our deck.    We have a squirrel that has been around these strawberries, but we were able to distract him by putting some food at the other end of the deck - the strawberries have been untouched! 

Afterthoughts of flowers in pots by our garage... they may end up doing REALLY well!

Now we will have to worry about critters getting to our garden.   I regularly see deer in our backyard and last year they had a FIELD DAY with everything my husband planted.  I have heard all kinds of remedies for this, from wrapping Irish Spring in pantyhose and tying it at the corners of your garden, to planting Marigolds (deer don't like the taste of them).   In the end, we went for something called "Liquid Fence" which is chemical free, and is supposed to keep the deer away.   I'll let you know if that works or not!  

Gardening with my children has been a blessing.  I hope you get a chance to read other's experiences at The Homeschool Village link up today ~ I bet you'll see some fabulous gardeners!