[twitter]Well, I can now say “I Grew It!” with complete and utter confidence. As a guy who hasn’t had a successful attempt at growing anything in the backyard since I moved out of my parents’ home, this year I did it.

In the spring, I got together with Scotts Miracle-Gro and joined their Scotts Gro Crew. The idea was for me to take some lessons from Frankie Flowers and go on a journey with all of you to show that even those without green thumbs can say I Grew It!

I built my own raised garden box in the backyard. I followed Frankie’s tips on plant selection and using seed tape and this is what my garden looks like today, in early July:

My garden in early July

Boom! Those are radishes, beets, shallots, cucumbers, chard, lettuce, and carrots. What a wonderful bounty that I am now starting to slowly pick.

How To Pick Lettuce

The lettuce has been the biggest success of my backyard garden so far this season. It has burst into big bunches. You wouldn’t think “picking lettuce” would be a complicated task, but Frankie was very specific when he was telling me how to pick lettuce.

Lettuce and Salad

You don’t pick the whole head when harvesting, you just pinch off the outside leaves. This keeps the core in the ground and your lettuce will continue to fan out and grow through the summer. I took this early season harvest as a chance to thin out my crop and give my lettuce more room to spread their leaves.

The salad tasted like salad, but the secret ingredient of pride was dashed all over. I Grew It!

My backyard garden salad

Other hints I’ve been employing in the backyard garden this year are around my watering. I water first thing in the morning so my plants have moisture through the heat of the day. Watering at night leaves your plants soaking in moisture and can avoid bugs, so the morning routine of watering has been therapeutic for me too.

I hit my veggies with some Shake n Feed for Tomato, Fruits and Vegetables when I first planted them, that has left them worry fee since this offers continuous slow release feeding over the season. All I have to do is augment every 2 weeks with MG All Purpose Water Soluble Plant food to keep things growing.

Midseason is when slugs and snails may be a threat. They hide during the day, and they love moisture. THIS is why Frankie Flowers advises to water in the morning, not at night. You don’t want the bugs chasing your moist nighttime soil. 

my backyard radishes

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Radishes?

I’ve run into a few issues with the garden this year. It appears my radishes have a worm infestation that is working their way through part of the bulb. Frankie Flowers says this is a common problem.

“Worms are the larvae of a fly, the adult fly lays eggs on the top surface of the radish or the soil next to the radish, eggs hatch and the worms tunnel thru the radish.  Control by placing  a barrier between your radishes so the adults cannot lay eggs in and around your crops. A floating row cover carefully anchored at soil level will keep your crops safe.”

The good news is that Frankie advises to pull what seems to be affected now and then plant more to continue enjoying through late summer and early fall!  

All of my cucumber seeds didn’t pop up. I have a dead patch in the middle of my line, but those that have sprouted are coming up nicely. The carrots also seem to be a little slow to produce, so we’ll see how they come along.

Cukes and Carrots

All in all, for my first grown up attempt at gardening, I’m thrilled. The lettuces are looking great. The shallots are bursting, and I can’t wait to see how the beets, cucumbers, and carrots come along!

I’d love to share in your humblebragging too. Post some pics online with what you’ve been growing in your garden and hashtag it #IGrewIt!

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