I’m on my third year of gardening and I thought I’d chronicle my adventures on the blog.  I’ll try to post an update a couple of times throughout the spring and summer so you can see how the garden progresses.  I’m truly an amateur and still do all my gardening in containers.  I’d really love to start a raised bed but I’ve been hesitant because we have a serious rabbit problem around here!  As you can see, my husband rigged up a little bench for me so that I can keep some of the smaller pots off the ground.  I love having my boys help me with the plants because I think it’s important for them to know where real food begins.  It doesn’t just magically appear at the store!  Plus, my boys now love fresh herbs because they’ve helped me grow them.

These posts will be more for the novice gardener.  If you’ve been gardening for a while you are not going to find anything earth shattering in this series.  I’m seriously learning as I go!  Mostly I’m hoping to inspire others to start their own little garden, even if it’s just one or two herbs.

Adventures in Amateur Gardening

Year 1:  cilantro and basil

This was the year I decided to learn to grow basil because of my love for pesto.  I also tried cilantro because it is another favorite of mine but that plant didn’t last very long.

Year 2: cilantro, basil (3 plants), oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, strawberries (2 plants), yellow peppers (2 plants), and red and green lettuce (from seeds)

I tried cilantro again last year but it didn’t last long either.  After doing a little research I learned that cilantro goes to seed quickly and can be difficult to grow.  (I am not going to grow cilantro again this year; I’ll just buy it.)  I grew 3 basil plants and became pretty good at getting it to grow well.  I also grew mint, rosemary, thyme and oregano, all which were easy to grow.  In fact, my mint went crazy but I didn’t use it much so I’m not growing it again this year.  My rosemary plant lasted through winter and is still going strong.

Last year began my entry into the world of fruits and vegetables.  I grew 2 strawberry plants and the yield was a whopping 8 strawberries.  Yes, I said 8.  My husband got such a kick out of that!  The strawberry plants lasted through the winter and the lady at the nursery said they should come back stronger this year.  So I’m hoping for 10 strawberries.  Ha!  I also grew 2 pepper plants.  They did pretty well and since I love peppers I’m growing 3 this year.  I tried some red and green lettuce (from seeds) in the fall.  I got one harvest from that before winter got here.  I’m still a little unsure about the lettuce so I’m growing more this year to try to get it figured out!

Year 3:


left to right: two pepper plants, strawberry plant, rosemary, 3 rectangular boxes with herbs, and lettuce seeds in the last planter (the small containers are where the dill and cucumber seedlings are growing)


left to right: strawberry plant, pepper plant, pot that will be used for cucumber plant, tomato plant, big pot with lettuce seeds

Materials Used – Various pots, potting soil for vegetables, tower for the tomatoes and the fertilizer recommended by the nursery.

Basil – I’m growing three basil plants this year.  I love to use it on pizza and in pesto so I need to have plenty of leaves!  You have to prune the basil plants early on to get them to grow and flourish.  And you need to continue to prune the plant as it grows.  Here is a tutorial on how to do that.  The more you prune, the more your plant will produce.



These pictures show where I cut the stem right above the first set of leaves. You can see I still need to prune the rest of the plant.

Oregano and Thyme – These are both very easy to grow.  They are great in salads, meat dishes, pasta and much more. When you are ready to use them you just go cut off what you need.  I didn’t really do any pruning to either of these plants last year and they did great.

Dill – This is my first year for dill.  I love it on salads so I figured I should give it a try.  I couldn’t find any plants so I’m growing it from seed right now.  I’ve got it planted in a little container and will transfer it to the pot when it’s ready.  Stay tuned…

Parsley – This is also my first year for parsley.  I’ll be honest, I don’t love the taste of parsley but it’s really good for you so I thought I’d grow some and put it in my salads on occasion.

Rosemary – My rosemary from last year is still going strong.

Chives – Another new one as well.  I love to add chives to salads and eggs so I got one plant this year.


parsley, chives, thyme, basil and oregano

Strawberries – I’m on year two with my strawberry plants.  As I said above, I’m hoping for more than 8 strawberries this year!

Peppers – This year I’m growing a yellow, red and green pepper plant.  I had good luck with them last year so I added another one this year.

Cucumbers –  This is my first year with cucumbers so I’m a novice and really have no clue to how they grow best.  I’ll have to do some reading to figure out what I’m doing. The nursery didn’t have cucumber plants when I was there.  Since the lady there told me they were easy to grow from seed I decided to try that.

cucumber seedlings

cucumber seedlings

Tomato – Tomatoes are another new one for me so I decided to grow just one plant this year.

Lettuce – I’m growing a mix of red and green lettuce from seeds again this year.  I really want to master lettuce since I eat so many salads.  I’m going to need to spend a little time researching and learning how it grows best.

look at that precious little lettuce starting to peek through

look at that precious little lettuce seedling starting to peek through

Why not try it yourself?  This is the perfect time of year to start a little garden.  If you have never tried just start small like I did.  Go to a local nursery and pick out one or two plants.  Then buy a pot or two and soil and get started.  The employees at the nursery are usually pretty knowledgeable so don’t be scared to ask questions.

I’d love to hear from you.  Are you going to do any gardening this year?  Have you been gardening for a while?

6 thoughts on “Adventures in Amateur Gardening, Part I

  1. Awesome container gardens! I’m just starting some containers this year for my deck, we have a large in-ground garden with three large raised beds that we’ve been gardening in for the past 6 years. Happy gardening!

  2. I was so excited to see your post! I am trying container gardening this year. I used to have a large garden several years ago, and my father taught me to garden, but we now live in an area where we don’t have the room, and I miss gardening and growing my own food. I will be looking forward to following your progress! I just planted a lettuce garden using a salad table I had my husband build from Martha Stewart’s website. They are sprouting, and I am so happy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *