Did you know that the prices of some foods have risen nearly 25 percent in the past five years? Did you catch that … 25 percent! If we keep going at this rate (and, from what I’m seeing, there’s no end in sight), we’ll be paying double in, like, eight minutes! (Math was never my strong point.) Seriously, when I read that, I decided it was time to do my own DIY backyard vegetable garden. Okay, so the article was talking about beef, bacon, and milk … so what? I figured, since I can’t grow a cow or a slab of bacon on my lawn, at least I can keep my food bills down by growing some of the stuff that’s a little more backyard-friendly. Here’s how I grew a spectacular little vegetable garden in my own backyard:
1) Choose and check: For me, the greatest vegetable … okay, fruit (if you say so!) … is the tomato. I could live on tomatoes. (Well, maybe tomatoes and ice cream.) For my vegetable garden, I figured the first thing I had to do was make sure I could grow tomatoes in my area of the country. I learned that in my state, where the sun is kind to us all year ’round, tomatoes are best grown during the winter months, since the temperatures are milder then.
2) Prep and plan: Next, I knew I needed all the information I could get on how to plant tomatoes in my backyard. Since I learn best when I can first see someone else doing any task I undertake (like Mary Poppins!), I checked out some YouTube videos. I learned about how to prep the ground for my area of the country, where to buy the best seeds, how to stake the tomato plants , how much and how often to water them, and how to keep out vermin. (I’ll refrain from making an ‘ex‘ joke right now.)
3) Work and wait: Naturally, the next step was to begin the work. The sandy soil where I live needs preparation as well as added nutrients, so I worked on the composting first to bring in moisture. I next worked on laying plastic over the prepared land and anchoring it, and then I left it in for the specified amount of time. I then removed the plastic and planted the seeds (about an inch below the surface and around 3 feet apart). I watered it until it was moist, staked the plants as the video instructed, and finished off just as I had learned.
4) So I reap: When the whole process was done, I remember going out to my garden one morning and … there it was … my first tiny tomato! It was so cute I thought I’d never eat it. Of course, I was wrong. It was delicious … and so were its children! I never had so much fun in my life! (Apparently, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.)
Since then, I’ve added three more things to my DIY backyard vegetable garden, and it wasn’t anywhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I had great fun doing my very own DIY vegetable garden in my very own backyard. Hey, maybe next year I’ll learn how not to plant corn in order to optimize my tax refund! (Just kidding, Ms. Lerner! Shew.)