Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Edible Garden, Part Deux

As predictable as a change in the weather, a little time off, an inspiring vacation and a good read -- these things will generate some new project in my world.

Project?  Back Up the Truck!
The books I pick up usually are in some way tied into my vacation destination.  Logical or not, I feel like I'm eeking a little bit more out of my travel experience if I'm taking in someone else's perspective too.

French Dirt, by Richard Goodman, was just that book on this last trip.  Actually, John read it first and couldn't stop talking about what "we" could do to expand our own kitchen garden.  The next thing I knew, a grand plan was being hatched for a chunk of our backyard.  I better get reading!

John's working on our ambitious plans
Goodman and his girlfriend Iggy rented a 200 year old stone house in the South of France for a year.  The town being tiny, Goodman endeavored to connect with the locals.  After multiple attempts to strike up a meaningful conversation and running low on money, he offers to trade his labor on a farm for firewood.  As he begins to mix with the locals, he witnessed every one's very plentiful vegetable gardens.  So inspired by others, he talks one of his new village friends into loaning him a plot of land for a season.  His readers can't help but share in his trials and tribulations with ultimately gratifying results of having a cultivated patch of his own.

I've always loved gardening, and in the last couple of years amped up my gardening focus on edibles.  Some of you may remember what motivated me do so in my post, Supersize Me... My Way.


Our first edible garden...now producing turnips, snow peas, carrots, lettuce
 and garlic
Enjoying our successes and having taken a Permaculture class last year, I already concluded our yard had so much more potential to be productive.  Hey...we could even save a few grocery dollars over the long run if we did more.  It didn't take too much prodding to get me on board for the next generation of kitchen gardening at the Avey homestead.

No time wasted!  Our first free day off together after our vacation we targeted the spot for our new garden, visualized, debated and removed plants which weren't working anyway.  Later that evening John said, "I can't wait to start digging."  Yes, digging!  Anyone who knows John well knows he doesn't like digging.

But Sammi likes to dig
To the man who uttered those words, I asked, "what have you done with my husband?"  A smile with a glimmer in his eye told me enough.  He is a man on a mission.

Both of us are aiming for a bigger and better vegetable plot than the last one we created.  But, like Goodman, we hadn't calculated the potential issues or consequences that laid before us.  Oops, I meant to say "opportunities."

First "opportunity:"  we no longer have a truck to get wood home.  Delivery?  Delivery costs exceeded the cost of the material!  John went to Lowes early one morning to snag the one and only first come first serve rental truck ... only to have it rented out from under him just 5 minutes before.  Grrr.  Lowe's Delivery guys feel John's pain and they give him delivery for the price of the rental truck.  Woo-hoo and a tip o' the hat, Lowes!


Second brain stumper:  should we or should we not dig out the grass where the future plot will lie?
   

No!  We laid down landscape fabric in the bed blocking grass and weeds before dropping dirt in the raised bed.

Water the plot?  How to get water to the area without reworking the whole sprinkler system?


We installed a portable hose to connect to a soaker hose.  A soaker hose is more efficient and less troublesome to plant leaves.

We needed lots and lots of good soil.  But soil is a very expensive proposition if you buy it buy the bag to fill 120 cubic feet.  Neither of us realized we would have to budget over $600 if we had to buy bags...ouch!  No matter what, dirt had to be delivered to us. 

To overcome the pricey bag option, we ended up buying soil in bulk; it came in less than half the cost and no waste.  Overwhelming when delivered?  Oh yeah!


It became even more overwhelming when we had to manually shovel it in a wheel barrel and then dump it in the new bed.  My sore muscles reminded me of just how much dirt we moved.

It's all been worth it though.  Our raised bed is built and ready for planting all those edibles.



Now the fun part for me.



I'm studying my Edible French Garden book a girlfriend gave me several years back.  It's loaded with tips, plants, guides and recipes.

In the meantime, John's at our favorite nursery, Sperling's in Calabasas.



Remember I said there were unanticipated consequences?   John's incessant talk of our new edible garden inspired his work buddies to jointly build one of their own.  And John being the generous guy he is has volunteered "us" to help them build it!  Oh my little arms....



1 comment:

  1. So very cool! And inspiring.
    - Barbara

    ReplyDelete

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