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How does your garden grow? (Planting the seeds for a great garden...)

Miraculously, I was able to squeeze in planting an herb and vegetable garden between kids sports and other activities a couple of weekends ago. The affair entailed two trips to the garden center (it should've been one as I was rushing to get the kids to lacrosse practice on the first trip) and about four hours of labor (both mine and my 13 year-old son's). I enjoy having a vegetable garden and having recently been through some life changes, it's been a while since I planted one. I find planting in the garden has a certain therapeutic effect on me. I like to look at its progress and keep it weed and critter-free. I find it also to be a great outdoor activity for my two sons and me (as if we needed more!). It's fun to put them to work and then have them see the fruits of their labor - literally! I'd determined where to put the garden based on the light my yard gets. I'm very fortunate as I have a perfect area that gets about nine hours of full sun daily! Once I had my garden tools (first trip to the garden center), I set out to clear a 7' X 10' area. It had some grass and weeds in it, but nothing my son and I couldn't pull up in about an hour. I find using a 4-pronged steel cultivator rake works really well for this job as well as turning over the soil, at least for small areas.

Once I had the area cleared and leveled I arranged the vegetables and herbs I'd bought into the areas that I chose. I ended up buying three tomato plants (two heirloom and one grape), 5 bell peppers (2 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow), 1 jalapeno pepper, and 2 zucchinis. I also bought basil, rosemary (I love rosemary!) and parsley. I placed the tomato plants in the back against the fence. I use cages for the tomato plants and I like that I can place them next to a fence so I can tie them up for support when the plants grow large and heavy.

Once my cages were firmly set, I dug a hole for each plant with my hand trowel and mixed some fertilizer into the hole. I like to use organic fertilizer if I can. I then placed the plants in each of the holes, filled them in and packed them gently. In placing the zucchinis I took care to give them a fair bit of room as they tend to sprawl over a large area. The other plants I spaced slightly closer than the recommended spacing. Finally, since I have a resident rabbit or two, I sprayed the plants with rabbit repellent to keep them away. It's been about 1 1/2 weeks since I've planted the garden and with the sun finally shining here over the past few days, I'm seeing signs of life. I look forward to updating you on the progress of the garden as the summer progresses.

Have you ever planted a garden? Tell us what you learned and share your tips.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']#[/author_image] [author_info]Greg is the Chief Financial Officer for House Party. He lives in Stamford, CT with his sons, ages 9 and 12. In his free time, he loves playing and coaching baseball, sailing, skiing, biking and swimming. He's also been know to ride a Harley Davidson and is an avid fan of Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush! Greg's party tip: Play your music loud, like being in a bar watching a band. That kind of loud.[/author_info] [/author]

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