Steph Yiu

Before & After: Attempting To Garden

To entice you to read this blog post, I’ll open with one of those magazine-style before and afters.

Before, in May
After, in July

Corey and I both travel a lot for work. This doesn’t bode well for plants. In the last 12 months, I’ve killed about eight indoor succulents, three different houseplants, and one orchid. Orchids are Singapore’s national flower and one of my favorite blooms, but all the motivation in the world couldn’t keep the poor plant alive in our household.

But, the dog is alive, so we should get credit for that. Below, exhibit A: Dog, very much alive.

Back to the garden. With my terrible track record, I had to be convinced to take on this project. I would have never agreed to it if not for my friend Em, who concurrently manages about three gardens and two dozen potted plants at any given time. Like my husband Corey, she’s an eternal optimist, so when the two of them looked at this bed of weeds, they said it could be turned into a garden.

Really?! Okay friends.

The weekend after our wedding, Emily, Corey, another friend Stephany, and I dove in. With gloves and rakes, we cleaned up what we could by hand. Then, we borrowed a rototiller to wrap up the job. We generated almost 10 bags of yard waste. It physically tiring but a fun way to mentally decompress after the wedding.

After the plot was clear, Em and I wandered over to Pemberton Farms and picked up basil, dill, eggplant, parsley, bell peppers, jalapenos, peas, and lavender. Corey’s parents brought over some tomato plants from their garden.

By the end of the weekend, we had organized the plants into a giant tic-tac-toe board with lots of walking paths. When I got to work Monday morning, every muscle in my body hurt.

After that, we let the garden do its thing. For a while, we were doing pretty good! Here’s a me happily staking some tomatoes a few weeks after initial planting.

… and then, we had a few back-to-back work trips and a July 4th vacation and we came back to… weed city. 😱

I was ready to call it quits. But Corey’s parents came to the rescue. They are the heroes of this story. This past weekend, we spent a few hours in the garden together, weeding. It was a three day project in crazy hot temperatures. They saved the garden and helped us reorganize our plants.

Once the weeding was done, we went to Ricky’s and picked up mulch (along with some sage and a cucumber plant). Stephen said mulching would be one of the most satisfying things to do… and he was right. Not only did it only take about 30 minutes to mulch, but it made the garden look so good!

With all that effort, I resolve to help keep the weeds at bay… and I’ll try to remember to water. Can’t wait to harvest in a few weeks!

If you liked this post, here are a few more before & afters I’ve posted over the years.

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