The Gurney’s Garden Part 2: Planting, Storm Warnings, and the Joy of Sunshine

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A few weeks ago I wrote Part 1, our first experience setting up a vegetable garden. Since then, this garden has been both a joyful and fulfilling project, while also bringing some of my gardening fears back to the surface. For so many years I hesitated to plant a garden for fear I’d kill them. Pushing through those fears, I researched the veggies, planned out the spacing, picked up my curbside little plant babies and welcomed them home! Then the rains came like a plague straight out of Exodus and I found myself staring out the window, praying my garden through. With sun in the sky today I have hope for healthy plant life.

Planning and Ordering

When ordering plants, I wanted to be sure I planned out my spaces well. It was important to me to understand the proper distance plants need. I researched which plants needed to go in the back because they grow tall, and which companion plants wished to be near each other. Wilson’s Garden Center was super helpful! They are a local company that isn’t affiliated with the Wilson Garden chain stores. I appreciate that the plants they offer are Non GMO. While I have goals to do my own seed starters next year with organic and heirloom seed sources, COVID19 made ordering this year very difficult. Wilson’s was prepared with plenty of inventory, and they were offering curbside pick up – sold! For some specialty varieties like purple basil, my farmers market had just what I needed.

Sections and Pathways

With a 7ft tall fence around my garden, I determined that rows might be difficult for planting. My short 5ft 2in self has raptor arms that make it difficult to reach very far. Sectioning off my garden felt more manageable for planting, weeding, and harvesting. It also felt more organized, helping my group like plants in their little neighborhoods of the garden.

I divided my 308 sqft garden into six main sections with one main path going down the center of the garden and two cross paths running perpendicular.

May 16th had me living the high life. The weather held the promise of summer, The days of frost had passed and I was ready to plant. I got my zinnias in first, a whole 22 ft row to enjoy in the garden and fresh cut for the house. Marigolds went in too, then I spaced out my veggies.

Once the plants were safe in their little “nieghborhoods” I gave them a nice pep talk, a drink of water, and added egg shells. The internet has conflicting information on the usefulness of egg shells. Some sources say it’s helpful and others says it’s a waste of time. Jonathan eats 5 or more eggs a day, so I had plenty saved. Since it couldn’t hurt, I sprinkled them at the base of my lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes.

It was hours of bending, squatting, and digging, but full of joy. What I didn’t expect was the feeling of fulfillment. I knew I had accomplished something, yet the fragility of these plant babies remained.

Tornado and Flood Warnings

Two days after my plants were in the ground, Ohio had some serious weather warnings. Tornadoes were a possibility, but the real gut kick for me came in the form of flood warnings and six straight days of rain. This wasn’t to be intermittent storms with relief in between. A straight jacket of grey covered the state threatening all of our mental health and my plants! Seasoned gardeners assured me the plants would be fine, but I also knew that my garden was in a low spot where water from the hill rolls through the garden area to exit the property. As a new plant momma, I was worried.

Pools of water formed at the base of the garden door and more collected inside the garden, but the plants lived on. The walkways guided the water away from the plants and protected my my gentle little ones. Thankfully a tornado never showed, the rain pulled back to a constant drizzle, and the flood water receded.

Just 3 hours ago we had our first peek of sun. I’m sitting here writing, watching as all of nature finds a way to show their elation. Jonathan went on a bike ride, the birds won’t stop singing, and I brought my office work outside. While I’m still learning the language of plants, I can see they are communicating with me, sharing their gratitude for sun. Walking in the garden today the tomato plants flashed a few new blooms, reminding me of the resilience we all have within us. These plants are in recovery but hold promise for a beautiful season.

Tell us about your garden experience, we loved to learn from you and celebrate your journey. You can use the comments section, or tag us on social media. Follow us on Instagram @GreenGurneys or like our Green Gurneys Facebook page for more outdoor adventures and healing recipes.

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