Sunday, June 2, 2013


This summer will be the longest I've been home in about thirteen years. Between going to sleep away camp, working there, and traveling, I haven't been on Long Island for more than three weeks of the summer in a long time. But now I'm living at home post graduation and reminded of the sweet summer smells of salty air, fresh flowers, and an Oceanside classic; hot garbage.

To keep busy (read: sanity), I've thought up a few projects for myself this summer. As of now, the top three are learning to bake pies, grow a vegetable garden, and get this blog going. Conveniently, and intentionally, they all work pretty well together. If I could get good at these three hobbies, and ideally a job too, I'd see this summer as a success. Additionally, I'm starting grad school in September, so I need to learn how to bake pies and have extra veggies on hand for the ultimate stress eating I'm planning on doing.

So! Gardening!

My experience is limited, but my mom knows a lot about it, so we made a plan together, bought some plants, and started digging. Many years ago, and for most of my childhood, we had a pool and our entire backyard was centered around it. Our deck lead off to it, and the rest of the grounds were covered in pebbles and stepping stones leading up to it. BUT my brother and I started going to sleep away camp, my mom worked at the one I went to, and my dad enjoyed his alone time every summer, but decided that the pool was less fun alone. We got rid of it, but suddenly our whole backyard was unbalanced. Cut ten years and it looked like this:

oh, and I forgot to mention we left the pool ladder anchors in the deck because they look HILARIOUS out of context. Right?

Our game plan started with trimming away part of the tree to get some extra sunlight, clearing out the old pool area, and adding top soil. This took the whole morning, and we had some surprises along the way. 
  1. The whole area is a combination of soil and LOTS of sand.
  2. Things grow really well in sand; there were all kinds of plants and roots and weeds, and even our newly transplanted rosebush clipping had toughed it out through the hurricane. 
  3. 90's Radio on Spotify is great work music. There's no motivation like Britney, bitch. 

This round, we planted eggplant, zucchini, straight cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, snacking peppers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, big beef tomatoes, basil, peppermint, orange mint, and cilantro. (PHEW) We planted the herbs in a window box both because the mint is invasive and would conquer the whole backyard, and because it'll grow sooner and be nice to have it closer to the kitchen. We laid down some weed blocking cloth and from then on the rest of the day moved pretty quickly. Luckily there's a ton left, and I'm looking to add some snap peas later on so it won't go to waste. 

My last bit of set up was plant markers. Although not at all necessary, how could I resist an opportunity to use paint pens? ya girl loves paint pens.

Word on the street is that its gonna be a lot harder for plants to grow this summer after Hurricane Sandy, but we're starting from scratch, so we're banking on it a little bit of luck that the veggies will thrive anyway. I look forward to all of these plants getting big and eventually bearing veggies so I can make delicious things from them.

Lastly a big thank you to my mom for her knowledge and patience, and to my brother for figuring out the labyrinth of hoses in our garage!

oh, and feel free to vote for who has the best Humidity Hair in the comments. (HINT: TOTALLY ME JUST SAYING)

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