Starting Plants in My New Aero Gardener and My New Raised Bed Garden

 I want to preface this whole post by saying that I really do not know what I am doing or talking about.  I am simply sharing my experience with a garden craze that I am arriving late to. I have always been a flower gardener not a vegetable gardener.  It seemed easier to me to go to the grocery store and buy what I wanted for vegetables and, besides, I considered vegetable gardens kind of ugly.

This all changed last year when my two daughters and daughter-in-law AND my brother who, to my knowledge, has never gardened anything in his whole life installed raised beds in their yards and started growing vegetables.

My daughters and daughter-in-law entered the raised bed craze, I believe, because it was a fad and also because it gave the whole family something to do during the pandemic.  They enjoyed it immensely and I was the happy recipient of the best cherry tomatoes I had ever eaten through their endeavors!  My brother, I think, did this for something to do AND because he was afraid with the pandemic and all it might be hard to find vegetables at the store.  He was afraid early on that there might be a shortage.  All good reasons to build raised beds in my book.  

Well, my husband never built raised beds for me.  He always has a million jobs to do in the spring and summer so, I totally understood but, I felt a little left out of the whole experience.  Soooo, this year when my brother gave me a gift card to Amazon for my birthday, I ordered up some metal raised beds.  I figured I wouldn't bother my husband with the whole thing.  Instead I figured the steel ones would go together easily and I could do that myself.

Unfortunately, for my hubby, I wasn't able to put the beds together myself. He needed to do that for me😔.  Neither could I lift the bags and bags of dirt necessary to fill the beds and neither did I realize that we needed a substantial fence to ward off  all the critters in our yard.  Poor Tom has been working on my raised beds for the last month and a half.  Luckily for me, he's a sweet guy and hasn't complained...too much :).  

Since I didn't realize I would eventually blog about this subject I only have photos that I took to show my raised bed progress to my kids and friends.  They are not the best photos.  I apologize for that.  I hope my story will be interesting enough to keep you entertained until the end, nonetheless.

The journey started when my son and daughter-in-law gave me an Aero Gardener for my birthday in January.  It took me several weeks to get it going.  No reason, just uncertainty and some distraction of regular life, I guess.  This was silly because the machine came with an herb kit all ready to go.  When my husband and I finally got it going, the process was very interesting and fun to watch.

I am not sure why but the herb seeds seemed to a very long time to sprout.  Perhaps, the kit was old.  I am not sure but, once they got going they started growing at a good clip and were very exciting to watch.

In the end, the plants filled up the whole machine and were quite lush.  When the plants were slightly larger than shown here ↓ I took them out and put them in flower pots.  I then placed them in a window because it was too cold outside to plant them.  I had one more kit left that allowed me to grow any seed I chose.  I chose flower seeds.  All different kinds, zinnias, Mexican sunflower, convolvulus and bell flower.  These sprouted much more quickly and grew even faster.  I am sorry. I guess I never took pictures of those plants growing in the machine.  You will have to trust me when I say, they looked "marvelous".  So, marvelous in fact, that after one day in the ground a bunny came along and ate my prize zinnias! So, so, very sad!

Once I caught the growing bug I could not stop!  I ran out of the pod kits to grow the plants in the machine so, I started growing a few seeds in plastic cups and placed them under the lights of the machine.  The next two pictures show how much better the seeds that I placed under the lights did in comparison to the ones I simply put under my skylights. The difference is quite amazing.

In the end, I had a great collection of vegetables and flowers to plant.

The planting in the raised beds started off slowly.  I started with a purchased cherry tomato plant and...

some purchased pea plants.

As the plants in my Aero Gardener continued to grow in the plastic cups I had used, I added in a few more vegetables and flowers.  I think all the seeds grew and I have either put them in the raised beds or found other spots in the yard in which to place them.

So far it has been a very fun experience.

This small bed is for the Jack-Be-Little pumpkins.  I am very excited about those! I can't wait to see how well they grow.

And I have to say as far as immediate gratification goes, you can't beat radishes.  I planted the seeds directly into the ground and within days they started popping through the soil.  It was amazing!

Everyone I spoke with about raised bed gardening told me their favorite thing to grow was lettuce so I purchased two flats of that veggie.

I added more tomato plants and bush cucumbers to the large bed.  I added four plants of zucchini and placed them in a separate side planter.  I am hoping the depth of the soil will be good enough for them to produce well. I will let you know how that goes.

I tried putting this lone Jack-Be-Little pumpkin in its own little pot but that did not work.  I transplanted it into the larger bed.  We will see if it holds up.  I am not sure it will.

I will try to remember to let you know how the progress is going on my new raised bed garden but, in the meantime I will show you some other parts of my garden that are flourishing right now.

I planted these spring flowers several weeks ago and they are finally filling in nicely in the front door containers.

The Siberian Iris is in full bloom right now.  I just love the look of this garden.  I refer to it as my Monet garden.

We purchased some new furniture for the side deck and I decided to keep it simple with red roses in the containers.

And finally in tribute to my maternal grandmother whose favorite flower was the pansy, I always plant them all over the place in the spring.  I agree with my Gramma, they are darling plants 💗.

I hope you are having a wonderful week.  I will be checking in again soon!

***Please note:  I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post.

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