Karen Alley has been working with Carolina Gardener Magazine off and on for 10 years, but reading and writing about wonderful gardens doesn't automatically make you a gardening expert! While a passion for gardening has been a part of her personality since childhood, she will vehemently profess to not knowing much when it comes to the ins and outs of designing and creating beautiful landscapes, yet the desire is definitely there. This blog will follow Karen's adventures as she continues landscaping a relatively new landscape and starts a vegetable garden in a beautiful raised bed built by her husband.

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Laying in Wait
by Karen Alley - posted 12/31/10

karen's garden








This is my garden. Or at least, it’s the foundation for my garden. This summer, I have high hopes of a bountiful vegetable garden. I’m looking forward to lots of fresh tomatoes, green peppers, green beans, squash, cantaloupes, and maybe even some pumpkins for the fall.

I have to be honest. I haven’t been very successful with vegetables in the past. At our first house, there weren’t any sunny spots. I found a very small area that got a few hours of sun and tried to grow a little garden. I think I ended up with three tomatoes, a couple of green peppers and a handful of green beans that year.

Then we moved. The next yard was full of sun, but our first year in that house, the rain seemed to stop completely once we got past the Fourth of July. With a toddler to care for, I neglected to water the garden. This time I got even less, just a few tomatoes. But Caroline loved eating that first tomato fresh off the vine. It was so hot that it tasted like eating spaghetti!

So now, a few years later and on a completely new property, I’m trying again. This time, as my husband says, we’re going to do it right. He devoted some time this fall to building up the garden wall, so I have a semi-raised bed garden. But the dirt is all native! So after the wall was built, it was my job to amend.

While my daughter spent her days in kindergarten, my new toddler and I, Carter, trucked wheelbarrows of mulch over to the garden. We threw in a few bags of black cow and a liberal dose of lime. And yes, I do plan to get a soil test! But I’m hoping this winter of preparation will do a lot to help the red clay we started with.

Right now it’s all a dream. And it’s wonderful to sit on the porch and look at the beautiful garden bed my husband built, and think of the fun we’ll have digging in the dirt and picking our vegetables this summer. After all, isn’t that what the winter is for, a time for gardeners to dream?

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