Gardening in the {DEEP} South

geraniums from years past

If you have been following along this blog for any given amount of time, you are probably aware of my love of gardening and all things green.  I love the outdoors and, thankfully or appropriately, married a man who is slightly obsessed with the outdoors as well.  He is a true southern good-ole-boy: greatly into all things hunting and fishing - even if 50% of the time he claims to be "hunting" he is actually camped out under a tree bright and early in the morning taking a cat nap :).  My love of the outdoors tends to be more of the exploring/nature walks/gardening aspect, but together we agree there is nothing as beautiful as a rolling green hill or a path through the woods covered in pine straw.  True love people, true love.

DSC_0889 copy

Anyway I didn't really actively get into gardening until recently - and by recently I mean since Stephen and I moved to Mobile, about eight years ago.  I've tried it many different ways - growing my own plants by seeds, purchasing small plants early in the season at Ace Hardware or Lowes, buying large plants late in the season when pregnancy or new baby prevented me from planning ahead/caring.  Some years my plants-from-seeds completely flopped and produced zero fruit.  Some years my garden was over abundant and my tomato plants were exhausted and spent before the heat of the summer even rolled around.  I cannot seem to find the common denominator but I keep at it every year and enjoy it more and more. I especially love the planning stages and watching all my little seedlings take off.
my current set up.  so far we have three different types of tomatoes, zinnias {i usually don't start these indoors but thought what the heck this year}, eggplant, marigolds, lavender, okra {it's ben two weeks and the seeds haven't sprouted...?}, and cantaloupe.  i plan on starting zucchini, squash, beans, and corn outside, and then carrots and lettuce this fall.  the grow lights cast such a welcoming glow out the front windows of my house, don't they? {not}

I do NOT love pest control, especially since I do all I can to keep our garden organic, from start to finish.  Squash bugs attack my zucchini and squash every year leaving me with only one or two fruits the entire season, if that.  I am yet to figure out those pesky things but I refuse to give up hope of having enough zucchini for zucchini bread or squash for squash dressing.  One day!

seed starting

If you live in the South, or DEEP south for that matter {Mobile is zone 8b}, it's best to start your seeds early, in mid February/early March, or plant your store-bought plants earlier than the internet would tell you to, since our summers are so hot nothing can grow very well in the hottest of July and August.  A local gardening guru Bill Finch created a wheel just for our zone, which actually has two growing seasons instead of just one {spring/early summer and early fall/fall}, and it has been a very helpful guideline for what and when to plant:

It might initially look like a bunch of gobbledy goop but I promise if you follow his little signs/icons it is helpful :)

tomato blooms

I think people can look at home gardening and get overwhelmed and think it's too much work or they don't have enough room or it's too hard - I promise it's not!  It's a great activity for/with the kids and the prize of harvesting your own produce is very exciting {well it is to me!}.  Making raised beds is pretty basic but if that seems like too much work or if you don't have enough room, tomatoes, squashes, eggplant, peppers, and herbs and lettuces do great in containers.


It's still not too late to start planning your garden if you live down around me, as we have actually had quite a long and cold winter and the consistent warm temps of spring needed for healthy new plants has not yet arrived.  The instructions for starting seeds is conveniently on the seed packet so everything you need to start is right there!

Happy gardening!


  1. We started building our raised beds this weekend and hope to finish this week so we can get started!!

  2. I was crossing my fingers you had a bug solution! Ha. They truly are the worst.


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