Secrets to a Lovely Vegetable Garden… Update 6/10


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secrets to a lovely veggie garden - SimplifyLiveLove Garden Update 6/10 In today’s weekly garden update post, I’m sharing with you my top secrets to a lovely vegetable garden! Because well, truth be told, I’m pretty darn happy with my garden this year and I’m ready to share the things I do that make it what it is.

Secrets to a Lovely Vegetable Garden

1. Visit Often –

The  number one secret comes courtesy of  my dad – gotta give credit where credit is due, right? My dad, a long time gardener, (take a peak at his garden from last year and read his top 5 tips for a successful garden) says the best thing you can do for your garden is to be in it every day. I don’t spend a lot of time in my garden every day {probably under an hour}, but I take a stroll through my garden with hoe in hand every. single. day. This helps me keep weeds down and allows me to find garden pests or see problems that need to be taken care of.

secrets to a lovely garden 2. Decorate.

New in my garden this week is a little owl. I have no idea if it will help keep critters out of my garden, but last week I shared that I’ve had a few problems with rabbits. Putting up this owl was less work than installing a fence…if nothing else, having a few fun things in the garden like cute little owls or garden gnomes makes me smile. 😀

5 secrets to a lovely veggie garden

3. Plant flowers.

Flowers are great not only for their beauty, but also for companion planting, helping with the bee population, and providing cutting flowers for your house! I’ve got tulip and daffodil bulbs and iris from a couple years ago. This year I added dahlia and gladiolus bulbs, and I always plant marigolds, nasturtiums, and zinnias. I just finally sprinkled zinnia seeds this week and can’t wait for the glads and dahlias to bloom! Sunflowers are a staple in my garden – taking almost weed like qualities. I have to take them out every year, not put them in!

pretty vegetable garden

4. Variety is the spice of life.

I have a large garden and to keep it manageable, I vary how I plant my rows. Some go vertically, some go horizontally. In the end, I think the variety makes the garden look very nice and keeps things interesting. It also makes me feel better when I can weed a couple of short rows versus only long rows. That’s totally psychological, but whatever it takes, right?

secrets to a pretty veggie

 5. Replant as necessary.

My bean germination rate was really bad! I’m not sure why, but only about half my beans came up. So I replanted this week, hoping to fill in the holes. Whole rows look better than spotty rows filled with weeds.

secrets to a nice veggie garden This is my corn plot. I have a bit of corn to fill in as well. I’ve got three different types of corn this year. Two have been planted and look great – and my third variety is going in tomorrow. I have a fourth variety as well that I’m going to use for a filler. We’ll see how this all works out for me! You can see the first two plantings in the picute above. Notice that I have a bit of weeding to do. I wait on the weeding until plants are big enough to be certain that what I’m pulling is actually weeds.

secrets to a nice garden

6. Mulch is your friend.

I use a lot of mulch, and much of it’s free for the taking. In fact, here’s a post I wrote last year with 5 sources to score free mulch!  I like to use straw around my plants and then I use wood chips to make rows. Not only does it help me know where to walk, it also looks pretty. I’ve still got piles of wood chips I need to distribute. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow and I can take care of that! Last week, I said I hoped to have my tomato stake system in place. I wasn’t sure what I would decide to use, but now I’ve decided. I’m installing old hog panels that I got from my father in law and I will tie the tomatoes to them. I’ve got one in place and two left yet to install.

secrets to pretty gardens

7. Take pretty pictures of your garden hauls!

Ok, so this doesn’t really have anything to do with how your garden looks, but don’t nice pictures of the beautiful veggies you harvest just make you smile? I share tons of pictures on instagram of a lot of my garden hauls. I love these pictures!

Hopefully next week I’ll have some nice sunny pictures to share from my garden! As you can tell, it’s been pretty rainy around here this spring. I’m not complaining – but a nice sunny day will be quite welcome.

How do you keep your garden looking pretty? Got a tip to share?



About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Oh how I dream of having a large garden like yours someday!!! For now, I have five beds and a LOT of pots… and it works in my little urban backyard. I love taking pictures of my pickings… last year I was so diligent about photographing, weighing and logging my garden produce. This year I picked up a part time job and I haven’t been so thorough… but my new iphone helps me keep up with the pretty garden pictures. I’d love it if you followed me too! Facebook: a girl a guy and a garden. 🙂

  2. My beans did well this year except for the black beans. Some of my tomato plants are huge and others are poking a long. I did replant some peppers and tomatoes but rest is doing pretty good. Excited. Love your little notes here!

  3. I love how you changed up your rows. Looks like a lovely place to walk every day. Good luck with your beans!

  4. Using straw, wood chips, and owls are all great ideas! I think it’s great that you can grow corn. That’s something I’ve always wanted to grow, but our season is just too short. I think that checking on the garden daily is really great advice. I find that my garden does better when I am in that habit. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I am so envious of your garden and the SIZE of it! I have a VERY small garden by comparison and I do visit it every day, weeding, watering, fertilizing, pinching, anything that needs to be done or even doesn’t need to be done. It’s such a great way to start the day! Tomorrow I’ll be replanting a couple of pepper plants that didn’t make it. Fun post Michelle!