I’m feeling optimistic


It’s been several years since I’ve grown any vegetables besides a cherry tomato, but that is all about to change because I just built my new garden. Yes, I know it’s only an 8′ x 4′ kit from Home Depot, but I’ve got big plans for this little patch of earth. I planted the first seeds yesterday – beets, radishes, carrots, spinach.

I’m feeling optimistic. And happy. And super excited to see these first seeds germinate and sprout – hopefully in about a week or so.

A Passionate Plate has inspired me in so many ways besides just getting me back into the kitchen. I am planting a garden, trying to take better pictures, attending a food blogging conference in May – and loving every bit of it. Thanks for following along and for your support. Joy and I both love hearing from you.

Now, back to gardening… are you growing some of your own food this year? Any tips for making the most out of my 4′ x 8′ plot? Suggestions welcome. 🙂 Updates to follow.



  1. […] got big plans for my little garden this year… I’m not sure the 4′ x 8′ bed I built last year is going to be large […]

  2. […] Dilly Beans Posted on 08/20/2012 by MaryMiller When I planted my tiny garden this year, I never imagined I would harvest enough of any one thing to actually make something […]

  3. […] I planted my tiny garden this spring, I knew I couldn’t grow everything. It’s a 4′ x 8′ box after […]

  4. Julie says:

    I love seeing this and reading the tips and updates. My husband and I have agreed that next year we are for sure doing a garden. I can’t wait!

    • MaryMiller says:

      Julie, for the $175 investment, I have gotten so much enjoyment out of this small garden. Besides the chard, I’ve had a ton of pea pods, and lettuce. Baby carrots are ready to pull… very rewarding. I encourage you to do it!

  5. […] Quiche Swiss chard is the gift that keeps on giving in my garden this year. Back in April when I built my little garden, I bought a couple of packs of starts. The plants took off like wildfire and I have been harvesting […]

  6. […] Radish Canapés Exciting news… I am harvesting from my tiny garden already! Lettuce, swiss chard and radishes. I planted the radishes to give myself some instant […]

  7. Marilyn Gordon says:

    Mary, I was going to tell you the same thing. Some seeds are best started inside. Personally, I like going out to the Amish Market west of town and buying the tomato plants that they start early. That wont work for you! lol You may have farmers market that you go to. They are usually real hardy and you get tomatoes much earlier. Good luck! Looks like fun. Marilyn

    • MaryMiller says:

      Thanks, Marilyn! I will definitely be buying tomato plants already started – I am hoping to find some good heirloom varieties at the West Seattle Farmers Market. I think I will grow them in their own pots – since a couple tomatoes would take up my whole garden!

  8. YES! I have tips! But first let me say, very fine boxes you have there and I love the thought of the urban garden, so congrats on starting!

    Tip 1) Some plants like being started inside, by seed and some items can go gang-busters right in the ground so make sure you know which ones go where. E.g. tomatoes, peppers are good to start inside in little cups, kept warm and (mostly) covered to keep moist – with even a little heating pad under them to get them to germinate.

    Tip 2) Ideal plants for starting right in the ground…radishes, lettuce, peas, corn, root-veggies etc.

    Tip 3) MUST get/make a cold-frame for baby plants that are needing to make the transition from indoor growth to outdoor growth and have found that eastern WA (for instance) has a very different growing season so may not require the same TLC, but in Seattle a cold frame can protect from wind on little plants, birds, bunnies (who try to be cute but we know differently :)), slugs and the random frost that could appear in the Spring.

    As I think of more tips I will share, and above all HAVE fun. We did about 100 starts in the last week and nearly all of them are broaching the soil which is so fun to watch day over day and the kids love it too. Plus they begin to understand where foods really comes from.


    • MaryMiller says:

      Great tips, Michelle! We’ve got a clear plastic cover over the beds now… trying to give a little boost to the soil this week since it is supposed to be cold and rainy.

      In my past life I grew tens of thousands of vegetable starts from seed – transplanting them from seed trays to packs, to 4″ pots and then sometimes gallons – all to be sold at the nursery. By the time June rolled around, my enthusiasm for growing food was finished. I would just be happy when the CSA box showed up and I could enjoy somebody else’s hard work. 🙂 It will be fun to see how much we can actually grow in this small space. I am already picturing my windowsill full of baby starts…

    • MaryMiller says:

      Michelle – garden update… my beets, radishes, spinach, bunching onions and carrots are all up! Time to start some seeds inside! How is your garden doing?

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