A Slightly Exaggerated Account of Learning to Garden

Dear Diary,

We are so excited!  We picked out the plans for a chicken coop and a neighbor was kind enough to sell us 12 hens and 1 rooster for only 5 dollars each.  They are still not mature but should start laying soon.

I planted sweet corn today.  I am terribly excited.  I really miss eating corn like we had back in Indiana.  I was great at growing sweet corn.

I got some fennel seeds from the store today.  I forgot to order them from the seed catalog.  I’ll have to research growing fennel.

We bought compost bins.  We splurged.  They are fancy barrel types that you just roll to turn it.  They are aniversary gifts to each other.

It is really dry here.  The drought has been going on for years.  

There is a huge ditch in the back yard that I’m worried about the kids falling into and getting hurt.  Considering filling it in bit.

We planted all the seeds we ordered in trays last week!  I can’t wait!

This place is going to be so cute!  There is a garden on the front of one of our books that we just love.  We are going for that look.  I can’t wait to have people over for our first farm to table meal!


Dear Diary,

A couple of our hens seem to be roosters.  Oh well, they are nice to the kids and 10 hens is enough for now. The coop plans are going to take an absurd amount of money in supplies so until we can build that, we have come up with our own plan.  The birds are in a dog kennel until we have a home for them.

The sweet corn germinated at a high rate.  I have
read every book about growing
it since we have never tried it in this climate and this isn’t the corn belt.

I planted the fennel seeds.  I will read about fennel as soon as I have time.

We have put a lot of food scraps in our compost bins.  Today we added some horse manure.

Husband tripped into the giant ditch in the back yard trying to mow it.

The very first of our seeds have germinated!!  I can almost taste the broccoli!

We tried to make the beds like the ones they have in our book but they are rather expensive and one of them took us 5 hours by the time we filled it.  I think we will just do the fancy beds in the front of the garden, where I’ll entertain.

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Dear Diary,

I suspect a few more of these birds are roosters.  I called the neighbor who sold them to us and asked what to do with so many roosters.  He says he will come take a couple off of our hands, free of charge.  The coop is partially built.  I turn them out during the day so the dog kennel is working fine for now.

The corn is smaller than I remember sweet corn but I am sure it will catch up.

The fennel germinated and we have cute little plants.

Time to roll the compost!  I just love these bins.  I can’t even smell them.

We agreed to fill in  half of the ditch.

Our trays are full of plants!  we had very high germination rates.  We must be good at this.

We have one more bed done.  I think we will just have to till the rest of the garden and skip more pretty raised beds until next year.  


Dear Diary,

The neighbor took three of the roosters away and one disappeared yesterday.  It seems the rest of the birds are developing rooster characteristics.  Another neighbor helped us turn our attempt at a coop into something we can use, at least for a while.  

The corn almost looks like it is starting to tassel but it is only 2 feet tall.

The fennel is pretty!  I can’t wait for it to bulb.  I hate the flavor of the fronds.

The compost looks kind of dry and weird.  I’m looking into it.  Someone said to add leaves.  The good news is it has gotten really, really hot in those black drums.

We hired someone to fill in the ditch.  I think we should leave a swale but the guy assured us it is just an unnecessary hassle.  I can’t wait for it to be gone.

Some of the seedlings in our trays look strange.  A website says we didn’t keep the lights low enough so they are weak and spindly.  All is not lost!  We have some that still look great.  I’m taking them out to harden them off today before transplanting in a week or so.

We got the garden area tilled and instead of pavers in the walkways, we are going with straw.  The bugs are getting bad and I tried to have my coffee in a chair in the garden but the chickens pooped all over it.  Maybe this isn’t a good place to entertain.


Dear Diary,

We have 9 roosters.

The coop is ugly but it works so I don’t care.  

The corn got ears at two feet tall and has very few kernels.  I called the seed company.  After a long list of questions, they have no idea what I did wrong.

Still no fennel bulbs.  I finally read about growing it.  It turn out only one type makes bulbs and that is not the kind they are selling at the store in town.  Opps.

We opened the composters today and they were full of fire ants.  It took us a while to realise it but once our arms were covered in the biting little monsters, we figured it out.  And, apparently, we were supposed add moisture to the mixture and some brown matter???

Drought finally broke.  A hurricane a couple hours away brought us 24 inches of rain over the last two days.  We are going to have to dig a huge ditch out back to take the water away from the house.

The storm blew the trays off the porch railing.  They are laying all over.  I think some had drown anyway.  I will save what I can and transplant them when the flooding abates.  

Some people stopped by today.  I am pretty sure I heard one of them say our yard is an eyesore.

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Dear Diary,

I’ve been so busy, I have been forgetting to document everything.  

We got to eat one of the three carrots we grew today.  It was amazing!  (Well, at first.  It was really bitter toward the top.)  I sent a picture of it to everyone we know and posted it on Facebook.

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Dear Diary,

We got a new seed catalog in the mail yesterday!  I was up half the night reading it and making a list.  I CANNOT WAIT FOR PLANTING SEASON!!!!

Oh!  And I think we are getting guineas!  


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12 thoughts on “A Slightly Exaggerated Account of Learning to Garden

  1. Awww I love this post and can absolutely relate. Great to have a sense of humor about making mistakes and learning from them. I was terrible at that when I started gardening, and it’s one of the best things gardening has taught me!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. When I started gardening I wish someone had sat me down and told me ‘You are going to screw up and you are going to do it ROYALLY… This is fine… KEEP GOING’.

    Loved the story about the chickens… hahaha!
    Oh… And I made the fennel mistake too. >.>

    Liked by 2 people

  3. OMGOODNESS!! I’m rolling! And the neighbor “took them off your hands for no charge!”
    This is a great post. Would love to know when it happened. Hopefully you are making better progress nowadays. So much of this is like our farm experience. I look forward to more posts.

    Liked by 2 people

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