A few months ago Chris and I embarked on a project to grow our own fruits and vegetables in the backyard.  We felt like we had the perfect spot for a garden.

When the triplets were babies we had three redwood trees removed from the corner of our yard and grass and a fence were built in its place.  The purpose of this was to provide the little kids with a safe outdoor area to play in.  There were two major problems with this plan though, which we didn’t  figure out until after we had paid a wad of money to have it done.  The first problem was that the area was sloped even after we had requested that it be perfectly flat.  This meant that it was very difficult to put anything up there to play such as a play structure or trampoline.  The second problem was that the new play area was in full sun.  In the summertime it felt like the Mohave Desert up there.

With full sun and a gate, a raised garden sounded like a perfect plan.  My kids could help me plant and grow and pick fruits and vegetables and maybe they would get to know where our food comes from and the importance of eating fresh organic produce.

The original plan was that Chris would build all of the beds by himself.  He brought in our friend and neighbor Bob from across the street to help design the placement and shape of the beds.  Bob came up with a very creative and space efficient idea that was much better than what we had planned on doing.  Then we brought our gardeners in to to take the grass out and level the soil.  This is when our gardener offered to build the boxes at a “very good price”.  It was an offer we couldn’t refuse considering that we have lots of children and very little time.

The problem was that Chris and the gardener had very different ideas of how to build raised beds.  In fact, they had different ideas of how to do everything regarding building a garden.

Here are a couple of examples of differences in opinion:

 What kind of wood should you use to build your planters?

Jesus wanted to use the cheapest wood possible and get the job done quickly.

Chris wanted to use Redwood planks that is more expensive but is known the weather well and stand the test of time.

P.S. – Jesus wanted to use nails.  Chris wanted to use 3 1/2 inch galvanized screws. Nails will rust, screws are stronger.

What kind of dirt should you use?

Jesus wanted to use fill dirt.

Chris and I wanted to use just about the best soil in the entire world.  It is called Super O organic soil from Front Yard Nursery.  It is their own mix that has been tested for perfection by the soil experts.  It has just the right amount of everything in it to help your garden grow.  We also added one half of a bag of Llama manure to each raised bed as a fertilizer.  The cost difference between the two soils is several hundred dollars.

What kind of watering system should you use?

Jesus was supposed to do the sprinklers but he and Chris had a difference of opinion on that project as well.  Jesus wanted to do sprinklers.  With all of his Internet research, Chris determined that drip is the better choice.  Chris took over the sprinkler installation job.  He dug trenches, cut pipe and got the job done.  Now each of our little budding plants has its own drip.

Chris argued with Jesus and his workers every step of the way.  Jesus’ workers were calling Chris swear words under their breath. There was a lot of Que Cabron and Pinche Fue! The funny part is that they knew Chris could speak a lot of Spanish so it was obvious that the gardeners wanted him to hear the swear words.  At one point Chris and Jesus arm wrestled as some sort of macho ritual proving superiority.  Chris won.  He was very pleased.

Chris’ job was to build them and my job was to plan out the garden.  I needed to figure out what would go in each box and what to plant.  I want to put a quick plug in for Front Yard Nursery if you live in my area.  Front Yard Nursery is seriously the best nursery around.  They have a huge variety of wonderful plants, but the best part about this nursery is the customer service.  Their knowledgeable and helpful staff is amazing.  Within 3 seconds of being at the nursery a nice man came up to me and asked me if I need help.   I told him that I was completely overwhelmed with the idea of planting four huge raised beds, and I was starting from scratch having never planted a garden before.  He said that I shouldn’t be overwhelmed and he stayed with me the entire time that we planned out my beds.

Here is what we came up with:

Bed #1:  The Bruschetta Bed.  This bed is made of six tomato plants.  There are heirloom tomatoes, little Sungold tomatoes, and a big prolific beefsteak tomato.  In between all of the tomatoes are basil and parsley plants.

Bed #2: This The Fallic Vegetable/Pepper Bed: this bed has cucumbers and zucchini, red bells, yellow bells, a jalapeño plant.

Bed #3: The Melon Bed.  This bed has two watermelon plants and two cantelope plants.  We couldn’t plant too many in this bed because the melon plants spread and get very big.

Bed #4: The Bean, Corn and Butter Lettuce Bed.  I planted 12 corn stalks and 4 bean vines in this bed with 6 butter lettuce along the edge of the box.

Each bed has two marigold plants in each corner as a natural way to keep insects off  of my fruits and vegetables.

I decided to let the kids help me plant my fruits and vegetables.  I thought this would be a nice activity I could do with the kids to teach them about gardening.  The only problem is that my patience was worn thin after the first minute that all four of them were in the garden.  The first kid to get kicked out was Ava, the second was Elsa, the third was Preston and Violet got to stay because she was actually doing a descent job of listening and planting.  I think having a miniature gardener to help is best if it can be a one-on-one ratio.

I am so excited to see my first harvest.  There is something totally exhilarating about growing your own organic fruit and vegetables. Every day I walk up to my garden and see new leaves or buds.  So far, nothing in my new garden is dead.  If I can raise four children, I figure I should be able to grow some vegetables.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.

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The Novice Gardeners
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3 thoughts on “The Novice Gardeners

  • June 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I totally got stuck on Jesus. I was like, since when do Jews care what Jesus would have done? That was like a really long time ago and I get that he was a carpenter but he wasn’t a gardener that I know of.

    Oy. Hope to see you Sunday.

    • June 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Oh my god that is hilarious! I didn’t think about that. 🙂

  • June 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    So impressed. We have mint – everyone can grow it and you can’t get rid of it. We have basil – dead – every plant every time. We have cilantro – so far so good. We have tomatoes – looks great but are usually mealy.
    Good luck. Send some our way.


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