Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Garden Project - Part 1

Although it may be a long time before Mommy 2.0 ever goes completely green, it looks like 2012 is the year that our family makes a stab at creating a renewable food source, right here in our own backyard (literally!)

I have envied those of my friends whose Facebook photos in the midst of the summer heat, show their kids' freckled faces amidst the verdant backdrop of their summer vegetable garden, picking and eating their homegrown beans and peas. I have longed for quiet moments in the garden with my girls, as they discover the excitement of seeing a new shoot, or the glorious victory of plucking a finally ripe tomato off the vine.

But to be honest, the only time my thumb has ever looked green, is when I have spent more than a few minutes trying to scrub green marker/fingerpaint/or the occasional green-colored candy off of my rug/walls/various body parts of my children.

Plus, in the back of my mind, I know that having a fruitful garden is a Buttload.Of.Work!

I think Sweet Hubby has always been right there along with me; plus, he has the added "I'm-a-chef-so-I-am-supposed-to-grow-and-harvest-fresh-food-for-my-family" kinda thing going on.

This year, despite the odds against us (lack of time, lack of energy, lack of knowledge), we decided to go for it. With a little bit of self-motiviation (and A LOT of enthusiasm from Little Diva), we stopped planning to make a garden, and actually made one.

Since Little Diva, and by extension, The Baby (who, by the way, isn't really much of a baby anymore - but that is a post of a different day), really motivated the process, the Garden is dedicated to them. Though we hope for some decent crops, it is really more of an experiential project for the whole family.

Here is a glimpse of the experience so far . . .

Because of the local wildlife population, namely groundhogs and rabbits, we opted for the Raised Bed style garden.
The wood for the bed is cedar.
Getting to use the gigantic drill from 1975 was just a bonus!
So it is pretty level - a good start!

This was the original frame plan - 8'Lx4'Wx6"deep. We decided it need to be 6" deeper, just to help keep those pests out.
We got lots of help from Little Diva, who was really into the whole construction concept.

With the sides complete to a height of 12", we picked just the right sunny spot in the yard.
Oops, we spotted a little gap, that Sweet Hubby was kind enough to fix, because that kind of thing would just drive me crazy.

We tacked a weed cloth, and a stainless steel hardware cloth (aka chicken wire) to the bottom to keep both the weeds and the groundhogs from poking their ugly little heads up.
We decided on a local company to deliver the soil. It is a Screened Topsoil with Mushroom Soil added.
We also plan on amending the soil with some good organic fertilizer from the bunny cage.
Having the wheelbarrow bust on the first soil run impeded our progress a little, but Sweet Hubby powered on.
This is one very proud dirtgirl and she refers to every thing we are planning to grow as "hers". Her peas, her beans, her tomatoes.
We will see how her tune changes when it comes time to weed the place.
I recruited her to help me measure and mark off the bed in 12" increments.

She happens to be really into using the tape measure, and it ties right into what they are learning about Math in school right now, so I felt very gratified by her participation.

So here we go, ready to start planting! We are loosely incorporating some the "Square Foot Gardening" concept into the project, so I felt that neatly a measured and marked grid would help. The duct tape was not the most aesthetic choice, but it is more of a temporary guide to help us know where to plant everything.

Our first crop of shelling peas and snow peas has been planted and the rest will wait for a few more weeks until slightly more reliable warm temperatures come around.

Anyone have tips or anecdotes to share about your own family gardening experiences?

1 comment:

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