How I Prepared My First Vegetable Garden With the Help of Friends
by Maria Kent
Maria's First Vegetable Garden
Hi!. My name is Maria, 48 yrs of age, single mom living in the UK but I am originally from the Philippines.
I never liked gardening in the past because I thought I didn't have 'green fingers'. However, I like houseplants and managed to grow them for years.
When my marriage broke down, I didn't bother to tend the back garden for 6 years, the grass became untamed and brambles grew. Besides, I also suffered from a bad back which made it difficult for me to bend.
I have paid people to cut the brambles and the grass as a result. But the problem was the grass and brambles kept growing back. It was so discouraging to look at and quite embarrasing too as my neighbours back garden were beautifully maintained.
But this year, 2009, by the grace of God, I was motivated to cut the brambles by myself and saved myself money too. A christian lady friend of mine, Pauline, visited me one day and saw me struggling to cut down the thorny brambles with my old secateurs.
Then one day she called me to say that she had found people from her church who would come one saturday to help me out.
On the second saturday of May 2009, Pauline, her husband Mike and 2 of her church friends came with their gardening tools and helped me dig-out my back garden. One cut the grass and overgrown shrubs, others dug out the brambles and other weeds.
The operation took about 3hrs. Then Pauline and I decided to leave the rest to go and buy some seeds and seedling plants.
We went to the local nursery in Puckechurch and I bought 2 cucumber plants, 2 courgettes and cabbages to plant. The cucumber cost me £1.50 each which was expensive. The courgettes cost 75p pence each. The cabbages cost £4.00 for a box which was plenty.
Then we went to Lidle supermarket and found that they were selling aubergine plants so I bought 2 for £1.29 each. They also sold iceberg lettuce seeds for 40p pence a packet.
When we came back a 12ft by 12ft (roughly) patch was already prepared as my vegetable garden. I decided to plant the aubergines by the corner of the back garden together with the cucumber and tomato plants (moneymaker), which my next door neighbour gave me.
Then I planted the courgettes behind the tomatoes. I also removed the red pepper plant I already had from its pot to the newly prepared soil and planted it next to the courgettes. Then I planted 18 cabbages in 3 rows. I then sowed the seeds of lettuce. Pauline's friend brought some carrot seeds which she gave me to plant too.
I have added the squash plants which I grew from seeds after 2 weeks. I placed some slug pellets around the plants and poured tomato and vegetable feed on my plants the week after I planted them, except the seeds of course.
I thought that my plants will be safe from insects but forgot my neighbours cats who used to defecate in my backyard. I was surprised to see their litter in one of the peppers! My goddaughter's dad suggested I place orange peel round the edges to deter the cats from coming to my vegetable patch. It seemed to work because I never saw anymore litter.
Its been nearly a month now since my vegetable garden was prepared. I can now see the tomatoes flowering and the leaves of lettuces coming out from the soil. It is a pleasure to watch. Sadly, only 1 of the cucumbers survived and 1 of the cabbages wilted.
Another friend told me that it was due to lack of water. Now I have been watering it much more and have been cultivating the soil around the vegetables.
Although I have to be careful and vigilant in caring for my vegetable garden, I am getting so much pleasure from it that I don't feel any back pain. Glory be to God!