This is the first year in many that I’ve been able to have a garden. Moving into a house, with a yard and long-term plans to stay, got me excited to start gardening.

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve kept myself busy planting flowers. There are pansies, marigolds, snapdragons, petunias, and impatiens, everywhere. (I have some sunflower seeds planted, too, that hopefully we’ll get to see soon, if the chipmunks don’t take them all.) But the most exciting part of the yard by far is going to be the vegetable garden.

I’d previously done some research about building raised garden beds, but as a fairly un-handy person when it comes to carpentry and building things, I felt a little discouraged, and worried I’d need to hire landscapers. But then I heard about the Victory Garden Initiative, a very cool organization in Milwaukee that connects would-be gardeners with volunteers to build garden beds and help people start growing their own food. I ordered two garden beds, marked out the locations, and waited for them to be delivered during their annual garden blitz, in May.

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Just look at all that grass, waiting to be put to better use. This is the sunniest spot in the entire yard, and it’s annoying how quickly the lawn here grows out – may as well get the most out of all that sunshine!

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Yesterday, I finally had the garden beds, the dirt, and the time to get it planted. I planted a lot of seedlings earlier this year, but planned my timeline poorly and ended up not having many viable plants. So this year I mostly planted some store-bought starters, and a lot of seeds, but I’m already looking forward to taking all those lessons into garden planning next year.

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Finally, watering some seedlings this past weekend.

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After I got the seedlings in and protected them from our enormous rabbit population with a little chicken wire, Kent got us a bunch of free mulch from WE Energies. Whenever they have to cut down a tree to protect some power lines, they make those wood chips available to whoever wants them. So we cut back on the lawn we have to mow every week, and finished off this corner of the yard with some mulch.

I am SO EXCITED to care for these gardens and see what they turn into! I grew up doing some vegetable gardening, but haven’t done it in so long, I’m sure there will be more lessons to learn. But it feels good to be putting my yard to work. Hopefully I’ll have lots of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, corn, beans, etc. etc. to enjoy later this season.