Growing Your Own Food: Marigolds and Strawberries

table top garden

it's starting to look like a real garden!

Last weekend we picked up two marigolds and eight everbearing strawberry plants and planted them in the front row of the table top garden.

Getting them planted reminded me that I really, really like playing in the dirt! Gardening and hanging clothes on the line leave me with the same peaceful, content feeling, especially when the breeze is blowing (which it usually is out where we live!) and the sun is shining.

Since the marigolds are mostly ornamental, I decided to plant just one toward the front of each of the corner squares to leave more room for the vines in the back, even though most recommendations say that you can do two per square.

Because I’ve done everbearing strawberries before (pretty successfully until I gave up because my eight-month-pregnant hips couldn’t take squatting down to take care of them anymore!), I’m excited to be growing them again. The key with everbearing strawberries is to remove the flowers until June so that they will then continue producing fruit through the late summer or early fall as well as any runners, which keeps them relatively small and contained.

I’m also waiting for a praying mantis egg sack to arrive from Insect Lore. The girls and I really enjoyed watching them hatch last year, and we plan to release them in and around the garden, since praying mantises are “good” insects that keep other insects away. They’re also the only insect that can turn its head to look over its shoulder, and the babies are super cute! (On Saturday we’ll have a giveaway from Insect Lore, so be sure to watch for that!)

Right now, the thing that I’m most intimidated by is figuring out the proper way to build and use a trellis for the vines that will go in the back row. I still need to spend some more time looking into this (I think we need a trellis against the back wall of the house as opposed to a cage or stake), but the cold weather has finally broken so we can plant the tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber this coming weekend!

I’m really enjoying taking this step-by-step this year (and blogging about it!), because it’s forcing me to be more focused in the decisions I make!

Are you a newbie gardener like me? How is your garden coming along? If you’re an experienced gardener, do you remember your first one?