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Any mama's gardening?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey ladies! Any of you mamas gardening? I have gardened the past few years at this house but didn't garden while pregnant with my first daughter because we lived in an apartment. I love to garden heirloom vegetables. It's fun and rewarding.

Since I'm pregnant this year I'm kinda paranoid about toxoplasmosis because there is either a wild cat or neighbor's cat that likes to use my garden beds as a kitty litter box and I'm so upset about it because the city says that if it's a wild cat that they can't do anything about it except get it fixed and then let it go.

I have read that the risk is extremely low but the fear is still there. :-/ Has anyone every been tested for toxoplasmosis immunity?
post #2 of 27
I have owned cats my whole life, so I already have the parasite, most likely, despite meticulous hand washing. I don't worry about it like I did with my first pregnancy. I always wonder if single moms who live with cats feel guilt because they can't just up and make their partner handle the litter. I hope not!

As for gardening, we have a few patio plants: tomatoes, jalapenos, Japanese eggplant, and spinach. My DDs have a strawberry plant to tend to as well. The soil in FL is basically beach sand, no matter if you are coastal or inland, so I find container gardening to be easier at this stage than trying to create 4-6 inches of healthy soil for veggies.
post #3 of 27
I can see your fear about gardening with the wild cat running around. I don't know what I would do in that situation....

We put in a huge garden this past year, about 50 by 20 ft but now we are selling the house and moving to a super duper small yard in July, i think the new yard is actually smaller than our current garden greensad.gif . We currently own both houses so our plan is to go to our new place and rip out the entire yard since it sort of looks like an abandoned lot right now and start from scratch. I want all the boarder plans to be herbs or food of some kind; like strawberries for an edging and raspberries say for a fence since we really can't afford to waste an inch. The plan in the long run is to do a wall of vertical garden vegetables along the house since the kids will need the last bit of green space we do have to play in so we can't afford to put a real veggie garden in. Not sure how far we will get this year lol but I can dream orngbiggrin.gif
post #4 of 27

We are in the middle of a multi-year process of converting our entire property into an edible landscape, so I usually do quite a bit of gardening. There are outdoor cats in my neighborhood, although I've never seen any of them using our garden as a litter box. I assume that since I've been a cat owner for many years, I am probably already well-exposed to it. I am more concerned about my energy level and motivation to actually get the garden going. I put in my garlic in November, before I was pregnant, and decided not to deal with starting seeds this year. Whether I actually buy starts remains to be seen. I have put in a lot of perennial plants though, like artichokes, raspberries, strawberries,  blueberries, rhubarb, etc. So this might be a year we only eat perennials. Usually I grow all of our greens, kale, leeks, and tomatoes for the year, but that seems highly unlikely this year! 


I also usually have a 20'x20' plot at our neighborhood community garden, which I gave up for the year. I know how much time it takes and the physical labor involved, and I just can't do it this year. 

post #5 of 27

We'll just be doing the basics this year. Last year was a bit of a disaster because it rained most of the summer. The potatoes got blight and even the kale did badly. So I'm worried about the weather being bad again this year.


And good point on the toxoplasmosis. Our neighbours downstairs have three cats and they all seem to like using our veg patch as a toilet, which really annoys me. But there's nothing I can really do about it. I might try covering our veg patch with netting or something like that.


I do want to concentrate more on herbs this year; it would be nice to have more medicinal plants growing in the garden.

post #6 of 27
Live in a townhouse for now so I'm doing a lot of container gardening and have built a vertical herb garden out of a shipping pallet this year that I'm filling up next week.
As for the toxoplasmosis, it's likely I have already been exposed because cleaning the kitty litter has been my chore since I was six or so. It's not airborne and has to be ingested in order to catch it so if you're worried, wearing gloves, not touching or rubbing your face and then washing thoroughly are good precautions.
post #7 of 27

In our small backyard, we've got a couple of large raised beds, a small raised bed for tomatoes that has a glass topper if needed, an herb bed and I think we're adding one more large raised bed this year (goodbye grass!).  I am not dealing with starting seeds this year, mainly because the only good south-facing windows are in our bedroom, and the cats ate most of the seedlings last year. Despite my best intentions to keep the door shut, our 4 year old isn't responsible for keeping up with things like that.  Our other south-facing windows are obscured by our covered front porch.  So, we'll buy starts for what we need this year (tomatoes, peppers, kale, broccoli) and throw everything else in when we're safe from frost.  Up here in very northern Michigan, that's usually not until after Memorial Day, so our growing season is quite short.  We'll do lots of greens, lettuce, slicing and cherry tomatoes, green beans, peas, kohlrabi, kale, squash, beets and cukes. Maybe some carrots and potatoes too, but we have a good source for storage veggies from a local farm.   I'm not looking forward to harvesting and canning while heavily pregnant in early September, but I have a lot of mama friends who will gladly help me out with pickles, dilly beans, peaches, etc.  My ILs downstate grow canning tomatoes for us, and my MIL has canned them for us the last 2 years (about 60 quarts each year!).  We're  blessed by their willingness and generosity.  We pick wild berries and freeze them, and have fingers crossed for a better blueberry year this year.  My dad and stepmom have a prolific cherry tree that we'll get a few gallons from too. I love the summer and early autumn feeling of stocking up the freezer and pantry and root cellar!

post #8 of 27
I'll be planting our outside garden end of May/early June depending on whether, that will be our root vegetables mostly, and some of the taller plants like peas and corn. I have a fence around the garden that generally keeps the cats out - not that they couldn't get in, but they don't really find it worth the effort smile.gif

But since we have such a short growing season here, i've been looking for a solution to grow stuff all year round inside, and finally found what I wanted - a Tower Garden. I ordered it today and am SO excited about it! It's an aeroponic set up that doesn't take a lot of space. It can be used outside or inside with lights. I'm going to start seedlings right away and plan to grow year round, outside when weather permits and inside the rest of the time. No dirt means no worries about our cats trying to use it for a litter box. I'll be growing most of our non-root vegetables in there - lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, cucumbers, zuchini, butternut squash, tomatoes, etc. My friend has one too and they produce way more than enough for two families so we're going to split varieties between her TG and mine and split the produce whenever we harvest. I'm thrilled to have a source of food that won't require weeding.. because I hate weeding at the best of times and bending over and crawling around to weed my outside garden when I'm 36+ weeks pregnant is so not going to happen.

Once my Tower Garden arrives I'll get it set up and send you ladies pictures as it grows, if you're interested!
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
I love canning and freezing my produce. I grew up doing that every year as a kid when the harvest came in. Where I live in Ca the summers don't get very hot or humid and certain vegetables that I like to grow don't do very well so this year I just want to concentrate on the ones that have been doing well like peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, lettuces, green onions, and herbs. I love to make sweet pickle relish!

I would love to move back to Va and have a good sized piece of land for having a huge garden.
post #10 of 27
Livingsky I would love to see a pic of your tower garden once you get it in smile.gif our yard is only about enough space to park at max 8 compact cars front to back. orngtongue.gif and it already includes a deck and driveway for 2 cars lol. So using space differently is what we are looking for. In the long run we are talking about building a second floor deck over our existing deck and to make that our garden. smile.gif
post #11 of 27

LivingSky, I'd love to see the Tower Garden setup, for sure!  

post #12 of 27

Swissmiss, are you from VA and living in CA? Same here! :) We are in Southern California, but I'm from Northern VA, born & raised.

post #13 of 27

I'm from WV and living in Southern California!

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sarahl918 View Post

Swissmiss, are you from VA and living in CA? Same here! smile.gif We are in Southern California, but I'm from Northern VA, born & raised.

Yes! I was born and raised in Southern Virginia and now live in Northern California! Lol My husband is from the Bay Area. I'm still trying to convince him to move to Va so we can afford a home with land. The Bay Area is so expensive for what you get. We are renting right now.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by bexsd View Post

I'm from WV and living in Southern California!
We are a long way from home! Lol
post #16 of 27
Originally Posted by swissmiss2584 View Post

We are a long way from home! Lol


very! Is your family in VA? It's hard being so far with a baby on the way.

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Bexsd- all of my family is in Va and we are a very close knit family. My husband has some family here but we aren't that close to them even though they all live within 2 miles of us. We do love them but never feel like we can ask them to watch Amelia or anything. :-(
post #18 of 27
Wow, you ladies are ambitious. I should have gotten started at Presidents' Day weekend, putting in my peas, but I am TIRED. I finally bought some seeds last weekend, but he thought of getting out the inoculant and soaking the seeds is defeating me. Which stinks, because our kids love to eat peas fresh from the garden.
It's particularly bad because I was lazy and left my bean trellis up since last summer, so I don't even need to put one up -- I just need to make the time. But all I want to do is nap.

Hopefully, we will get a decent day again -- PDX is gloomy and wet right now -- which will motivate me. Not sure what we will do with the rest of the garden this year; I don't fancy trying to weed for hours and hours in the heat when I'm as big around as a house!
post #19 of 27
We are for sure! Had a huge garden last year but moved to a new house a month ago so we have to star from scratch. Looming forward to spring!! We still have yucky weather her in WI so we will wait a few more weeks. I saw this neat idea using a pallet with garden fabric on the back filled with soil and plant in rows.
post #20 of 27

I'd never thought I'd say this, but this year, I am a bit envious of those of you with short growing seasons!


Where I live in Florida, we actually have two mid-year growing seasons, because it is too hot and/or rainy for things like tomatoes to survive throughout the whole summer.  So my options were to start planting when I was about 7-8 weeks pregnant and felt like total barfy garbage, or wait and plant in July/August and risk having to harvest while leaking lochia into a pad.  :)  Neither was a stellar option.  In the end, I did what many of you mention and just nixed starting from seed - it was the pricey little plants from Lowe's that I used this year.  Although I still look longingly at my Burpee catalog and dream of growing something rare for here, like tomatillos or something.


We hand-tilled our small flowerbed in the backyard (we've only been renting this house for 2 months!) and we found that we have non-sandy soil in the beds with nice big fat earthworms!  I am so thrilled, I may try to plant a few non-patio varieties of plants there.  I love my bush tomatoes, but I miss a good green bean, you know?

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