Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I must say, having a garden was near the top of my list for reasons we wanted to leave downtown and get our own yard. Josie, despite growing up in the heart of the city, has always like getting her hands dirty and loved the PeaWee Patch gardening classes at the Cincinnati Familly Enrichment Center each summer. Truth told, her thumb is much greener than her mama's and the gardens at school developed her green thumb even more.  There was no way we could let this first full summer in our house pass without a garden.  Lou created a yard for us and finding a home for our garden was soon to follow.  Since early spring, we've been talking to lots of people about gardening - even calling in some of our friends with expertise in this area. It all felt a little overwhelming until one day in April when I had a conversation with Josie's teacher about the Square Foot Gardens she was creating with some neighbors just a few blocks over from our house. She told me about the book and I ordered it from my phone in the parking lot. I read it in two days and our gardening problems were solved. We planned and purchased with the goal of getting it all going by Mother's Day. 

For us, it has already been such a joy! Digging in the dirt together, checking every morning to see if any more seeds have sprouted, measuring "who" is growing the fastest, making bets about just how tall the mammoth sunflowers will get - these are the things that I have found to be the most rewarding.  Sure, having fresh cilantro for taco night is pretty awesome but the thing that is blowing Josie's mind (and teaching her so much) is that those tiny little seeds have already transformed "magically" into "real plants."   These are the things that make gardening a treat instead of a task.  And thankfully Mother Nature has blessed us with enormous amounts of sunshine and rain to make our jobs even easier. (No kidding, our rain barrel is FULL!)  

Here are some photos from our early weeks setting up the garden.  

Finding the perfect spot

That's a lot of dirt to carry across the yard

Josie's plan: one scoop at a time

First scoop of the garden

That might move things along a little faster

Measuring out the square foot increments

When did she get this big?

"Mom take a picture of a bubble"

It worked: the bubble popped on my lens with Josie on the other side

Petunias for the front and a few transplants for the garden

That sweet smile again

Planting Petunias

Plotting out where the seeds and starters would go

Admiring her work

Putting in the starters

The beginning of what we hope will be a massive sunflower garden  by the house
Looking at these photos, it's amazing how  much everything has already grown. I will get some new photos of the progress this weekend.  

You might also want to check out:
The Austins Blog - who tackled SFG on their rooftop after I suggested the method to my sister as the answer to their gardening dreams as well.
Eating on the Grid - my friend Lori's blog about SFG growing and cooking

We would love to hear about your adventures into family gardening - What has been your favorite thing to grow? Epic successes? Epic failures? Favorite stories?

2 comments:

Catherine said...

I'm so intrigued by this concept! We have a garden box as well, necessity as the soil in Florida is too sandy to grow good veg without help. I spaced everything out about a square foot based on suggestions from the seed packet and starters, but my tomatoes COMPLETELY took over. Like hostile take over. Their growth has been enormous and choked out about four other plants I had! :( Mean tomatoes!!! Next year, I think I'll do a separate box for mean tomato plants!

Carri, Lou, and Josie said...

Good call Cat. We are doing tomatoes out of the box for this exact reason. Either someone told me or I read somewhere that they can take over. Same thing with peppermint - put that elsewhere. I'm sure there will be other lessons along the way. :)