Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...

One of the main things (if not the main thing) that sold us on our house is its backyard. While on our first look of the house months ago, we liked the inside enough, but it wasn't until we stepped out onto the back deck and peered out into the lamp-lined yard that we really fell truly in love with it. 

Living in a 7th-floor apartment, we long yearned for our own outdoor space - to be able to open the door and be directly on our own yard (without having to take an elevator or walk a couple of blocks to grassy land). Our backyard is the perfect size for us, filled with 14 different kinds of plants and flowers, a rhubarb plant, a Golden Delicious apple tree, grape vines and a lower-level area with a raised-bed garden.
This is what our garden looked like on our day of closing, filled with extra cement blocks and weeds galore. As you can tell, I was a little nervous about such a large undertaking.

But I've always wanted to grow my own vegetables, herbs and fruits in my own backyard. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but on Memorial Day weekend, I tilled the soil, laid down new topsoil and weeded the entire garden. I bought some started strawberry plants, jalapeno, banana pepper, mint and basil. Eric's sister was nice enough to donate cucumber, watermelon, green bean, squash and watermelon seeds to our garden. I quickly planted all the starters and the seeds, and probably placed them in all the wrong areas of the garden, probably all too close to one another.

I also jumped the gun on my seed markers. I had meant to make my own from popsicle sticks, writing the seedlings' name on them in permanent marker, but I got too excited and just planted all the seeds right away. So I went the primitive route and just stuck unmarked, blank sticks in the ground where I planted my seeds. I'm pretty sure I remember what everything is, but there's one area where I have no idea what is sprouting out. I guess it'll just be a really fun surprise?

So, as you can tell, my green thumb has yet to be developed. However, I would like to report some success! It looks like every one of my little seedlings is sprouting! The warm weather, along with plenty of watering, has really helped my garden along.

This is what my bean seeds looked like last Thursday:

And here's what they looked like yesterday:

Hooray! Progress!

However, I think my garden is being enjoyed by someone else other than me. I've noticed a little bunny hopping around our yard pretty regularly, and by the looks of my jalapeno plant, he likes his greens spicy.

If I want to enjoy a home-grown salsa anytime in the future, I think it's about time to install a fence to keep out the hungry animals. Apparently, Mr. Bear (who the previous owners so graciously left behind... and has since been moved from the front yard to the back....) is not ferocious enough to scare all the little critters away.

Any advice on setting up a critter fence? I was thinking of wrapping some chicken wire around the perimeter of the garden. But if you've got a no-fail idea, I'd love to hear it!

I'm so excited to see how my garden comes along. As I said, I'm pretty much going into this completely blind, so if I pull any kind of crop at all I'll be pleased as punch. If you've got a green thumb yourself, please clue me in on upkeep and foolproof gardening - I'm going to need all the help I can get!

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