My First Vegetable and Herb Garden ... Wow!

by Lisa Wills
(Denver, CO)

Tiggy's Garden... 5 Sections of Vegetables and Herbs.

Tiggy's Garden... 5 Sections of Vegetables and Herbs.

For Mother's Day, my husband asked me what I'd like to do. It didn't take me long to say how I wanted the kids and him to help me with gardening. Then I realized how much I'd envied for decades, other people's vegetable gardens.

I wanted my own.

So my husband, my 2 boys and my 3 yr. old daughter helped with everything from digging, leveling, chainsawing posts for the raised bed and planting. I love that it's a Mother's Day gift and that each and every one of us were involved.

It is 24'x 8'. How lucky am I to have this much room! I designed it from ideas of many English Gardens I'd seen in books and on the internet. It needed to be leveled by 24" on the long side and raised as our soil here in Denver, Colorado is full of clay and not conducive to great garden soil. I read and researched for weeks in advance and did all the seed and seedlings purchasing and materials that I'd need.

My very handy and sweet husband created the raised bed over the weekend with my design on paper. Yet we continuously made alterations along the way... we all know how you have your own plans, but then so many other things come into play and you end up with sometimes a more spectacular design than you had planned on. That's what happened to me. We ended up creating 5 sections. The middle is my herbs and focal point birdbath and the 2 on the left and right are veggies and a little fruit.

I am so excited about how it turned out. My office sits next to the garden so each day I get to look out the window and "See My Garden Grow". Every couple of days something new pops up now. I planted on May 12th and it is not even 4 weeks and I have the beginnings of tomatoes, peppers, onions... it is so thrilling to me to finally have created my very own vegetable garden.

My neighbors tell me I won't be able to give them away fast enough. Perhaps I got overzealous, but I really did want to see 6 different tomatoes grow in my garden and 3 types of basil.

Here's what I planted?


Flat Italian Parsley
Sage ? Common
Basil ? Box, Thai, Sweet, Spicey Globe
Tarragon ? Texas
Rosemary ? large (1)


Tomato ? Big Beef Hybrid (2)
Tomato ? Pink Brandywine (3)
Tomato ? Celebrity Hybrid (1)
Tomato ? Yellow Cherry (1)
Tomato ? Husky Cherry Red (2)
Tomato ? German Queen Heirloom
Squash - Zuchini
Chili Peppers ? Serrano & Jalapeno
Peppers ? Bell Orange
Peppers ? Bell Red

Packet Seeds...

Carrot ? Petite and Sweet
Radish ? Early Scarlett Globe
Green onions
Lettuce ? Salad Bowl
Spinach ? Dark Green Bloomsdale
Squash ? Yellow Summer Crookneck


Strawberry ? Large (2)

So far I do not have any enemies in my garden. The birds, however did take a strawberry that came on the plant, so I have no idea how that is going to go. I have a swing with an overhead umbrella near it that I just love to sit on with my husband or one of the kids and look at our work.

The boys are learning so much about planting, taking care of the garden and life! Brandon, my 14 yr. old planted the carrots and those are his responsibility. Evan, my 12 year old is responsible for the 2 strawberry plants. My newly adopted daughter from Ethiopia, Tigist, well... we named the garden after her... TIGGY'S GARDEN.

We felt it perfect for a name because our first trip to Africa in 2004 compelled us to adopt a child one day from Africa, and that is when we spend a week there planting hundreds of spinach and cabbage plants for these wonderful people in their horrific living environment.

TIGGY'S GARDEN is remembrance of her Mother who gave her life by offering her up for adoption and for Tigist who lights up our world. I believe the garden for us will provide years and years of lovely talks about Tigist, her homeland, what the garden means to us and how much we love eating God's wonderful, perfect food!

Comments for My First Vegetable and Herb Garden ... Wow!

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

A Great Blog
by: Mary Bailey

It was such an interesting article to read and gave me plenty of ancouragement for growing vegetables.

I do find growing potatoes in bags is also very successful and satisfying.

Mary Bailey
Wickford, Essex, U.K.

Love Your Idea!!!
by: Val

Hi Lisa.

Thank you for sharing your story. It's wonderful when a family works on a project together. You bond and build up lasting memories.

I've been gardening for several years now but only in containers. I simply love your raised garden bed. I plan on growing a winter vegetable garden this year, and this would be perfect for cabbages, and other greens.

Please come back and let us know how things are progressing.

Garden Bliss - 2009
by: Dilwara

I've just read through your blog... firstly thank you for sharing Tiggy's Garden with us. I love your design and the idea that it was a joint family project. What a perfect Mothers? Day gift.

This year I've been learning about plants and tried out some vegetables and herbs - first experience of growing my own.

This time last year my garden was all weeds. My friend designed and made me 5 small raised beds; I?ve gown mixed salads, garden peas, radish, spinach in it and now have onions, winter cabbage and turnips that are almost ready for harvesting.

I?ve also grown potatoes, runner beans and French beans mixed into my flower beds; they did well, once the snails backed off.

I just started !!!!!
by: Edwin

Hi everybody.

I have just started my first raised vegetable garden beds...

It started when I mention to my daughter that I would like to start a vegetable garden. The next thing I know my daughter is asking "how big and how high and where I wanted it located?".

The next thing I hear is an electric saw...

Within a couple of hours she had built a wooden box about two(2) to three(3) feet off the ground and had a 8" high wall, the bed was 4 ft wide by 4 ft long.

This was raised on posts and piers that brought the bed up to about (3)three feet high. For a person with a problem bending over this works.

You can set up a small stool to sit on and be comfortable.

I started the garden with:
1) Lettuce (3 Types)
2) Onions
3) Radishes
4) Carrots
5) Basil

So you can see I like an assortment of veg on my plate.

The garden is doing real well...

by: Dinah

So you mean the long skinny green stems will eventually be the zucchini???

They sure don't look like zucchini!

Female flowers have tiny zucchinis(courgettes) behind the petals and male flowers have thin stalks (males are what your seeing Dinah). Plants have both growing together on them so be patient.

You can pick off a male flower in bloom and fertilize the female flower by pushing the centers together - or the insects will do it.

Keep your plant well watered, around it and not over it preferably. They like to grow in ground rich in humous - well rotted compost or manure.

I have also just uploaded a photo to illustrate this for you. You can access it by going to the home page of the website:

It is the photo at the bottom of the small photos in the RH column. The flowers aren't open yet but you can see a yellow zucchini behind an unopened flower(female) and below it an unopened flower(male) on the end of a long thin stalk.

The yellow flower close-up photo in the widget below it is the center of the zucchini flower - it looks like little gnarled fingers praying.

Hope this clears it up for you and thanks for posting.

Laurence (webmaster)

Response to Dinah's Question
by: Lisa


My neighbor just showed me today that my zuchinni (courgette) comes from below the big yellow flower. Also I heard the flower is edible too. Look directly beneath the yellow flower and see the long green veggie growing.

I ate my first radish today too. It tasted really lovely and very different than store bought ones. It was less "spicy", if that makes sense.

Also, I've used my lettuce, basil, cilantro and rosemary in this weekend's cooking.

This is SO much fun.

by: Dinah

I planted zucchini (courgettes) and crookneck squash.

Where do the vegetables grow?

Huge leaves and flowers but no sign of vegetables!

by: Lisa

My last comment to answer Vee's question was from me, Lisa, not anonymous. Sorry.


We knew that... 'cause your always willing to respond and your blog is great.


Vee's Question ...
by: Anonymous

Hi Vee,

Thank you for your comments about how much I planted.

As I looked at my article, I see numbers (2) next to the tomatoes and realized I took a lot of those back. I've actually planted 6 tomato plants, but still they might be too close together. I may pull 2 out if I think they are too close.

I'll soon see how everything else fares as they all mature, and will post how it all turns out. I'm actually keeping it documented on my personal blog:

See pics here:

So you'll see more pics there and as they mature, we'll all see how over-zealous I may have been. I was really trying to utilize my space, but I may be okay ... we'll see.

Lisa Has Started A Wonderful Veggie Garden... But
by: Vee

Lisa your raised garden looks wonderful as a beginner. But you probably will have a lot of over crowding due to all the things you planted.

Here in Arkansas our tomato plants get over six feet tall and so do our okra plants (with a couple of applications of Miracle Grow mixed in water and sprinkled on them every two weeks).

Also, I've found that garlic planted between the tomato plants help keep pests and birds from eating on the leaves and fruit.

One year we caught a bird and a turtle in a big
rat trap (each) that my husband set to find out what was eating our tomatoes, someone told me about the garlic being good for preventing that situation. And Boy! was I glad to hear of that.

Didn't know of the Basil and Lavender being good to ward off mosquitoes. Sure proud to hear that, because their bad here in Arkansas.

We have to burn those repellent candles out on our patio to enjoy sitting out side - their terrible when working in our garden or yard.

Thanks for the tip on the Basil and Lavender.

And Lisa you'll learn more about spacing your vegetables apart after a few garden seasons. But you've got a good start, so far.

Enjoyed reading the articles and hope to continue seeing how your gardens are growing and all they produce.

I too would also like to start me a herb garden, because I use them lots in cooking different things.

From The Webmaster

Don`t forget folks, you can create your own web page and tell the world your story just like Lisa and others.

Go to: and remember you must include a photo.

The url is not a clickable link so copy and paste it into your browsers address bar.

Go on do it now... people are waiting to be inspired by your story!!!


You Re-inspired Me...
by: Eve

Lisa, thank you for sharing your garden story... I have been an amateur gardener for some years now, because I love nature.

Three years ago, I stopped working full time and I made time to restart 2 gardens in in my son's elementary school, a vegetable garden and a flower garden to teach kids one day a week about caring for gardens as I learned as well. It was very time consuming and very tiring but also rewarding to see them in full bloom.

Our efforts moved onto recycling, planting trees and flowers all over the school. We gave the school color!! But, last fall I started working full time again and our gardens have become neglected mainly because I don't have parent help and money is always tight.

My son just moved onto middle school and I can't find anyone that is willing to put time into these gardens. This summer I will still care for them as much as possible, but I am worried the school will let them die which would be terrible, terrible.

I have suggested the 4th and 5th graders make them their science projects, but the teachers have not been responsive to this idea either.

Any suggestions from others?

Anyway, you re-inspired me to start my own vegetable garden at home, believe it or not, due to all the time I put into the school gardens, I did not have time for a garden at home.

But I am going to make time... thank you, Eve

Anonymous Question ...
by: Lisa

Dear Anonymous,

So far my garden is faring well. However last night while I was checking the garden, I saw a mosquito on my arm. I've been bit each night outside several times, so I must remember that even for 30 seconds outside (even away from my garden) I must throw some repellent on.

Since I am a new veggie gardener, I am looking for things that might go wrong as far as bugs and animals bothering my garden later. Right now, everything is fine, but my veggies are not mature yet.

You are right about lavender and basil repelling mosquitoes, but how much do you need? I don't know. I was sitting 4 feet from my small lavender plant, so maybe I don't have enough?

I just hate that you can't just go outside without being bit by these rascals.

Bryan's Question ...
by: Lisa


We used posts that are treated. I've copied below what they are doing now in regards to "treated wood" for home use. So I am under the impression that our posts from Home Depot are safe to use in my veggie garden. I am shooting for organic veggies of course!

Here is what the VICTORY GARDEN guy stated ...
"In 2004 the EPA banned the use of CCA to preserve wood for residential use. An exception is that it can still be used for permanent wood foundations.

New EPA-approved chemicals without arsenic have replaced CCA for home and garden use"


Lavender and Basil
by: Anonymous

I gathered that lavender and basil are a natural deterrent against mosquitoes and other harmful bugs not to mention fleas.

How's your backyard faring so far?

Type Of Wood Used In Raised Bed?
by: Bryan

Your raised bed garden is very attractive!

Was it made with treated or untreated 4x4s?

If treated, what kind does one look for so that we know that chemicals won't leach into the soil?


Thank You
by: Lisa

Thank you for your comments on my garden. And for the inspiring encouragement from our webmaster. I am getting so much joy out of this and your site helps me a lot ... Lisa

Me too!!!
by: Cindy in WV

Your article and garden sounds like what I did on Mother's Day.

After researching for weeks, I had my son build me a 4' X 8' raised garden bed frame that I filled with mostly a compost mixture/manure, a little bit of top soil, peat moss and lime. My yard is full of clay also so this was the perfect thing to do.

I planted tomatoes, leaf lettuce (spring mix), cucumbers, peas and LOTS of red and green peppers on May 10, and all from seeds. I also planted a lot of herbs in containers and they're huge now!

Everything in the raised garden bed is coming up nicely; however, I'm a little concerned about the tomatoes. Maybe I should have bought large, healthy plants ready for planting.

No matter, this is an exciting venture for me, and I'm very much enjoying this new-found hobby.

I can't wait to enjoy my veggies later this summer.

A Joy Of Life Cannot Be Hidden...
by: Laurence


I am bowled over by your wonderful story.

It speaks volumes about our creative needs to be expressed and especially in such a way that benefits and enhances our lives as God intended, and also the lives we are privileged to touch.

What inspired me was the contemplative attitude towards your project... you envisioned it, you created it (with a little help [ok... a lot] from your great family), you established it and now it is a focus of peace, personal satisfaction and expectation.

So many people desire and will identify with that, they too will be inspired...

I hope we hear from them.

Well done Lisa and God bless.

Laurence (webmaster)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Have A Vegetable Garden? - Your Story.

Share this page:

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.