As we traveled down the path of eating more locally, it was hard to escape the feeling that maybe we should try growing some of our own food, too. Because we weren’t planning to stay in our current house as long as we have, I never broke ground for a garden and just made do with an herb pot last summer. We closed on our new house on Friday, though – perfectly timed with the last frost date for our area. So what did we do Saturday? Put in our starter garden bed. (Normal people might pack or move first, but I was afraid it would be too late by the time we got settled in.)
In the past I’ve had a small blueberry bush and a very prolific raspberry patch, so I know I *can* grow something. As we’re expecting baby #2 in just two more months, I tried to start small. We (namely the husband) made a 4’x6’ bed, with 10” wide planks. The bottom is lined with cardboard, and then filled with 6 bags of organic soil and 1 bag of organic compost (the compost was unintentional, I wasn’t paying attention when the garden center employees loaded the car).
I set aside an end row for the boy, and let him pick his crops. Aside from the requested “cheeseburger plant,” we were able to plant the rest of his wishlist: carrots (orange & purple), broccoli, strawberries, and a pumpkin. My rows contain more of the carrots, French radishes, beets, and a low-growing pea, with an open space for cherry tomatoes and peppers to come later. (Why are we gardening? When I showed him my pea seeds, the boy said, “But peas don’t grow on plants! They come from the store!” The husband asked where the store gets them from, and he said, “New York!”)
Of course, I’ve already made a couple rookie mistakes: namely, trying to buy garden supplies on the first day of planting season – and a gorgeous, sunny, mid-60s day to boot. We wound up with fir planks rather than the cedar I wanted – I’d read that cedar is a natural pest deterrent. I can only assume it’s my punishment for going to Home Depot rather than an independent lumber dealer … the characteristically helpful service from Home Depot (note sarcasm) prompted me to proclaim on Facebook that I wanted to take on a new challenge: a year without Home Depot. We did go to an independent garden center for the rest of the supplies (organic soil, seeds, a window box for herbs, and the strawberry plants) – and we have at least two independent hardware stores near the new house which we will be checking out soon. The broccoli and beet seedlings came from our new neighborhood’s farmers market. Between the cost of the wood, organic soil ($14/bag) and those pricey strawberry plants ($3.99/each), I’m not sure we’ll break even on our garden this year. But it’s a learning experience, right?
At any rate, here’s week one of the FoodieTots Kitchen Garden:
See more photos of the construction at Flickr. And stay tuned for progress reports throughout the season.
Do you have a kitchen garden? What are you growing?
This post is part of GrowCookEat at goodlifeeats.com ~ visit the roundup to learn more about kitchen gardening.