I finally got a chance to plant my vegetables in my community garden plot. I signed up for the plot almost 2 weeks ago and had purchased the plants just a day later, but was so busy with cleaning and work that I just couldn’t find the time. While the plants sat on my patio over the last 2 weeks they definitely took off, especially the tomatoes. The potted plants on my patio are also doing extremely well, so pretty soon I will be able to grab some cilantro and chives without even going to the grocery or farmer’s market.

I am relatively new to gardening. The last time my family had a vegetable garden was when I was about 7 or 8, so I can’t say I am really experienced. I made sure to do a bit of research on each of the plants I had chosen to make sure I knew what to expect. My garden includes 2 Serrano chilies, 1 Japanese eggplant, 1 purple eggplant, 3 different varieties of tomatoes, including a cherry tomato plant and 4 okra plants.

Because I don’t have the room or equipment to start plants from seeds, I purchased these plants already grown. They seem to be pretty hardy and I can’t wait for all of the wonderful vegetables I will be able to eat this summer.

I got really excited about the idea of gardening and wanted to learn more about gardening in general. When perusing around the web for a fun gardening class to join, I noticed one called Go Native U at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I only live a couple miles away, so I decided this would be a perfect opportunity. The program is a Native Plant Gardening Certificate series made up of six classes over 3 Saturdays. The topics covered in the class include landscape design, native plants, installation, maintenance and pest control.

Yesterday was the first Saturday in the series. The morning course was on  landscape design and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.  We only covered creating a list of goals, analyzing the site and performing an inventory of existing features even though we were supposed to also learn how to  create and use base maps and design a garden layout and conceptual plan. The rest of the class was spent looking at blurry slides of native plants, a topic that is supposed to be covered in later classes. The instructor didn’t even seem that knowledgeable about the plants we were discussing.

The afternoon class was called Native Plants I and was devoted to learning about plants that are native to Texas, with a  specific focus on Central Texas. We also discussed why native plants are important and how they help to create a sustainable garden. We spent more than half of the class time walking around the Wildflower Center identifying and discussing native plants. The instructor really knew her stuff. She gave interesting insights into common and botanical names, basic garden ecology, and plant requirements. The afternoon session was amazing and more than make up for the disappointing morning session. I am now definitely looking forward to next Saturday’s class.

Until later, happy gardening!

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