After three summers without a garden, I’m thrilled to have this new garden space, completely enclosed to keep out deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other critters.

If you’re a long-time reader you might remember that at my old house I did frequent Garden Updates, and growing vegetables is something I’ve been passionate about for a very long time. But in 2013 I moved to a new house that’s part-way up a mountain and next to Forest Service land, and I learned from the neighbors that deer would eat anything that’s planted here.

After one year of growing tomatoes on the deck, I gave up and tried to be happy with growing herbs in the kitchen window and getting other veggies at the farmers market. And I did discover that quite a few herbs can grow outside without the deer bothering them, which helped ease my garden cravings. But I still had that urge to grow my own food, so last winter I started talking to my brother Mark about building an enclosed space to grow a few veggies here.

Mark had built the garden beds at my old house, so I knew he’d have good ideas. I planned to hire someone to build the fence and tackle making beds when I got home, but when I was in Thailand Mark and his wife Lisa surprised me by coming to my house and building an amazing new garden space! Here’s the first photo that I copied from Facebook where Mark posted it as a surprise!

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful family; thank you Mark and Lisa for your generosity and thoughtfulness. 

Mark and Lisa hadn’t quite finished the garden when my amazing sprinkler guy from Turfco Western Sprinklers came and installed a drip system in the garden. (Highly recommend them if you’re in the Salt Lake area and need sprinkler work!)

And of course I couldn’t wait to plant things once I had sprinklers. Kara’s daughters Sophie and Quinn loved helping with that, and I do realize we planted everything much too close together, but I just couldn’t help it this first year!

A few days later Mark and Lisa finished the garden and Lisa snapped this shot and posted it on Facebook! I barely helped, but I did wire together the chickenwire pieces where they overlap so critters can’t crawl up and under. 
Now it’s a few weeks later, and here are few photos of the garden that I snapped this morning, and as you can see, things seem to be thriving even if I did plant them too close! (Links to specific plants are just to show what plant we used and not necessarily an endorsement of that supplier.)

One end has Top Crop Bush Beans that we planted from seeds, and I’ve thinned them once but they need to be thinned again soon. The center of that bed has Sweet Success Cucumbers that are going to grow up a tall tomato cage, plus a couple of bush cucumber plants that we may have to pull out if there isn’t enough room.

The other end of that bed has two zucchini plants (WAY too close, I know!) Next to it is a yellow straightneck squash.

The other side has six tomato cages with Celebrity Tomatoes, my favorite Green Zebra Tomatoes, Black Zebra Tomatoes (an experiment!), and Sun Gold Yellow Cherry Tomatoes.

And if you look closely you can see a tiny little yellow cherry tomato that’s a day or two away from getting picked!

I bought the cherry tomato plant with some tomatoes already on it, because I just could not wait!

And after Mark told me about the spray to keep away animals, we decided to experiment with growing a couple of tomatoes in the yard as well, so if they survive the deer I’ll also have a Pink Brandywine Tomato and some Tie Dye Tomatoes as well.

You can use the label Garden Updates if you’d like to see my past gardens (starting in 2006!) Are you growing a garden at your house? If so, leave a comment and tell us about what you have planted!

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