33 2002

New Weelicious Series- My Own Edible Garden- Part 2

Share

It's been an exciting few weeks in our edible garden since we got started two weeks ago. First of all, I realize now that I knew even less about gardening than I thought I did when I started this project, so this has been a big learning curve for me. Thank goodness for my partner in this experiment, Lauri Kranz, from Edible Gardens LA who has been teaching me all of her tricks.

Lauri and I started by digging up a small piece of my yard that was totally overgrown but receives tons of light throughout the day (very important for growing). We then built what will hopefully be the first of several above ground beds made of untreated redwood (wooden beds that are treated contain lots of nasty chemicals that can leach into the soil and wind up in your fruits and vegetables) because they're easy to maintain and usually yield a larger amount of edible goodies because they're so deep. We finished by dumping out most of the old, dried up dirt in all my planting pots in back of the house and filling them, the above ground beds and the newly cleared piece of the yard with nutrient-packed soil and compost.

Now that all of the planting beds and pots were fresh and ready, Lauri and I got to planting (aka the fun part!): Lemon Verbena, three varieties of thyme, opal basil, sage, African basil (great for attracting bees for pollination), white and Japanese eggplant, four varieties of tomatoes (and even more varieties to come), purple tomatillos from seeds, two kinds of lettuce, carrots, Blue Lake beans, Persian and white cucumbers -- and this was just round one of our planting! As exciting as this was for me, it was even more mind blowing for Kenya and Chloe. You’d have thought we built an amusement park in our backyard. The kids had the best time dropping seeds into the soil, digging little holes, putting the baby plants into the ground and covering their roots with more dirt. Finally, we pulled out Kenya's watering can and let him drizzle all of the plants with a drink of water (which in hindsight may not have been necessary since it rained nonstop for the following few days). For my kids, this was dream come true: being able to get really dirty, play in the water and have the opportunity to watch the process of food growing from seed to edible treasure.

Lauri has taught me that 80% of the success in growing healthy, delicious plants starts with the soil you plant them in. For example, we've had an apple and pear tree for over four years (the first fruits Kenya ate actually came from these trees), but in all that time they have barely flowered. Lauri and I decided to move the trees to a sunnier area of the yard -- placing them in richer soil -- and in just two weeks they have already sprouted green buds all over. Kenya and I were totally shocked by their rapid transformation and have loved watching them flourish every day. But back to the soil, just remember that if you're going to take the time to build your own edible garden, it’s a wise investment to buy the best quality organic soil and compost you can find. You will likely offset the extra cost with the size and quality of your yield and thus have less produce to buy at the supermarket to supplement what you grow.

One of the other highlights of this experience came when Kenya was helping me make dinner last week (Veggie Frittatas). All of a sudden, he was struck with a brilliant idea: "Mommy,” he said, “we should get something from the garden for our dinner!” My heart nearly burst. Obviously we had just planted the new garden and so nothing had grown yet, but one remaining potted plant from our previous garden still had tons of chard growing in it, so Kenya, Chloe and Daddy went out into the pouring rain to pick it and bring it back for us to wash and chop up in our frittatas. The best part was watching the kids talk on and on during dinner about our veggie and cheese filled baked egg dish and how much they loved it. I think knowing that an ingredient in it came from our own edible garden made both kids even more excited about eating it as well as about the prospect of having a veritable farmer’s market that they helped plant, right in their own backyard.

Stay tuned for our next installment in two weeks. This will be an interesting experiment as we all continue to learn, grow and enjoy the fruits of our labor!

Related Recipes

Comments






  1. Pingback: Happy Earth Day: Tips for Gardening with your Kids | Crayons and Croissants

  2. Mental Chew

    June 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I can totally relate to the idea that the more I garden, the less I feel I really know about the process. We just keep our fingers crossed that we will have some delicious meals in store for us in the months to come. This entry was great fun and your photo editing has inspired me to try somethng a little bit different on my blog. Are you using PhotoShop to add in the commentary? I love it!

  3. Jessica

    April 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This is such a fantastic idea and a great way to spend time with the kids outside! Recently I did something similiar with my boys! I purchased a Little LifeSaver (thelittlelifesaver.org) for myself and they shipped it in a seed sprouting box! We had a blast planting it and learning about how the environment works! Now we have a trees starting to sprout!

  4. yeni

    April 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

    This looks like so much fun! What an exciting thing to do with our children. Thanks for posting photos and explaining everything. It’s very helpful to folks that are starting new gardens this year (i.e. ME!). Can’t wait to see everything grow!

  5. Erica

    April 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I’m so inspired by your dedication to your kids, the food they eat and sharing all the wonderful recipes with us. We’re going to try out a family garden at our home this year too… about to set it up and plant some goodies. Hope I’ve got a green enough thumb, and good sun to keep growing some food for our family :)

  6. JJ

    April 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I have been searching for large pots! Where do you buy these?

  7. karen

    April 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    just wondering what your plan is for pest control on these…. every year I plant, and every year the squirrels, birds, grubs, caterpillars, ants… you name it, eat the fruits of my labor! Since I’m in SoCal too… I’d love some of your tips! thanks!

  8. tami

    April 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Love your website and all your ideas! Just wanted to know what you thought about the nuclear fallout from Japan. My co-workers (I work in a medical facility) are telling me that it’s unsafe to eat fresh produce now and that I should buy frozen instead. Have you heard of this? If this is true, then for how long and will it do any good?

  9. dawn

    April 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    What herbs are best to be planted together in a one large pot?

  10. arianna

    April 2, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I just started my veggie and herbs garden about 3 weeks ago. Me and my daughter how is almost two enjoy spending time watching and watering the plans. She is really into it, and is a great activity for a toddler and a busy mom. Beside of the benefit of knowing where the food that we are eating comes from it also relaxes me and clear my mind.
    Quick question, can yo keep that many herbs in just one pot? Or are you are planning to move them in the future.
    I heard that mint should be planted alone because they say that grows like crazy, the same with squash.
    Thanks for sharing this experience with us!!!
    Arianna

    • Carlos

      February 5, 2014 at 2:54 am

      You get a lot of respect from me for writing these helpful arseilct.

  11. Salma

    April 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Such an inspirational read! I love gardening and will look forward to the future entries. Thank you so much Catherine for the awesome recipes and now this series.

  12. Franki

    April 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    This is such a wonderful thing to do for your family, and for your business!
    We only have a balcony, which is a big change from the large backyard we had a year ago, where I was able to have an entire garden. I’d like to know what vegetables are the best for container gardening. My daughter and I did herbs last year in pots and it was very successful, but I’d like to take it further this year! I’d imagine I’d have to start growing them indoors right away (we are in central Canada). Thanks!

  13. SaraBeth

    April 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    How fun! You are such an inspiring mom! I, too, am a KY girl and love your website! :). Go UK!

  14. Clarity

    April 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Plants also love to grow in food forests, and can do very well without any wood sides; just piles of earth with deepest-rooted plants on top, shallower rooters on the sides, and create little moats around plants to catch more water. Mulch conserves water; a great use for chipped trees and branches. A food forest has seven layers; ground cover, veggies, bushes, dwarf trees, (or espaliered trees on a hot suny wall: 4 kinds of fruit can be grafted onto one trunk, canopy trees, and vines, vines, vines for shade and food. Nice garden, Kenya, & Chloe. We are all born to garden. Thanks for bringing this to light, Catherine. Aloha, Claire KLARITY.org

  15. michele

    April 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Where did you find Persian cucumber plants! I’m in NY and have been searching forever!!

    • Julie S

      April 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      I got Persian cucumber seeds from Renee’s Garden website. Planted them a week ago (I’m in AZ) and they’re already popping up. Can’t wait for those yummy cukes!

  16. Jen

    April 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I was wondering how big your beds were and how many plants you put in each one thanks!!

  17. Jessica

    April 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    This has totally inspired me. My daughter is only 13 months old, but some of my favorite memories were helping my dad in our veggie garden. She loves the outside; I think I’ve got a plan for this weekend forming!

  18. Amber

    April 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I LOVE the idea of doing all the herbs in a separate big pot!! We are doing two 4×8 raised beds in our back yard this summer and putting all our herbs we plan to grow in a separate pot away from everything else would free up so much more room. Im going to talk to my husband about doing this tonight and hopefully he likes the idea because I sure do!!!

  19. Carmen Smith

    April 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I want to start a graden and have no idea where to start. Now that AZ is getting so hot don’t know if I missed my chance.

  20. Carrie N.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    We can get advice from Lauri? Really?

    I want to try container gardening for the first time. We have decent deck space to work with but zero experience. Can you recommend plants (both edible or flowers) that are easy for newbies?

  21. Sasha

    April 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I love this plan. We are doing a similar project. We can’t plant outside until Mother’s day. There are several herbs and varieties of tomato and peppers started from seed living by the kitchen window.
    Also, let’s hear about the bean trellis! It’s super cool!

  22. Lisa

    April 1, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Awwwww! You guys are so cute and everybody looks like they are having so much fun. Good luck and I hope you have a wonderful bounty of produce to enjoy this summer.

  23. Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama

    April 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

    It looks so sunny and warm there. I’m jealous! :-)

  24. the Iowa Expat

    April 1, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Love this post! Also, the Kentucky t-shirt–very timely!!

  25. Susan G

    April 1, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I’d also love to know more about your trellis! I am so jealous you can already start planting in the ground. We live in CT and nothing can be planted until after Mother’s Day! We are starting seeds indoors this weekend for some peppers…and more in the coming weeks!

  26. Melissa

    April 1, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I would love a trellis like that. Did you buy it or make it? If you made it, could you please tell us how you did it? It looks so cool!

  27. Pingback: Weelicious ™ – Fast, Easy & Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food … | Easy Family Style Recipes

  28. Brit Chambers

    April 1, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I’m loving your bean trellis… like a little teepee! So so fun!

    We just planted our garden and are using it as part of our preschool activities as well. My kids already love eating veggies, I think this is only going to encourage that!

    Here’s our garden so far: http://www.livingwiththreeboys.com/2011/03/how-does-your-garden-grow.html

  29. carrie

    April 1, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Love it! Just did this last week with my little man! Where did you get your bean trellis?? I’ve been looking everywhere for a similar one!

  30. cassie

    April 1, 2011 at 12:16 am

    such an awesome READ! =) and your kids are going to be excellent planters..i want a garden of my own but only have a lanai..and we have 3 avodaco tree growing..i hope they make fruit by the time my kids are teenagers …i want veggies but not sure how much space i have to grow!!!!!

    • Heather

      April 1, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Try the book Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail. It’s all about gardening in small spaces. She also has a website (that I haven’t visited yet) called yougrowgirl.com.