The Vegetable Garden at Our House
We have a hot, sunny back yard. It’s landscaped and planted with ornamentals but in over ten years, we hardly used it. Joanne had proposed a vegetable garden back there, but we both thought who has the time? Eventually retirement and unemployment caught up with us, and then we both had time on our hands. Joanne needed a project, and I enjoy making things. A garden might provide for both of us, Mike and Joanne, and idealistically fulfill an imperative too. Maybe it’s time to reestablish the homegrown food system that predates modern supermarkets and big agribusiness. What if all the lawns in our neighborhood were transformed into beautiful vegetable gardens? We could survive potential supply line breakdowns. There would be less dependence on and use of city water, and we’d have fresher, healthier food on our tables. Our street could become a small community supporting its own people. Our front yards as farms; yes, we could supply ourselves. Is anybody doing this already? Look around… In our neighborhood we’d seen a well-established garden with raised planting beds. There were many flowers and trellised plants. Checking it out seemed like a good place to start.
Just setting foot beside those beds and seeing the plants arranged in them was an eye opening experience. Fortunately for us the homeowner noticed and came out to talk. Pam Aitchison is a UCCE Master Gardener who teaches poor families to economize and improve their food through vegetable gardens of their own. She gladly gave us a tour of her yard with a quick course on building raised beds and how to grow food organically. She also suggested looking at “square foot gardens” on-line. We found a lot of inspiration there, too. Our other best source of info is Julie Molinare, who suggested “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” as a valuable resource.
To transform our back yard into a vegetable garden took a lot of work, but the work was made easier by first educating ourselves, by planning, and then proceeding step by step. The initial project was made less expensive by doing most of the work ourselves with help from family and friends. The infrastructure is now in place – four raised planting beds, a soaker-type watering system, and a good-sized compost bin. The hard part is done! After planting, the plants are now producing, there’s more coming, and our labor is so very much less. Harvesting for dinner salad, trimming and tending, pulling weeds, watering… that’s about it. Often we just sit and watch the bees and butterflies. With so much bounty at hand, it’s a pleasure to share the blessing with others.
This wonderful story was written by a friend of mine, Mike Hill, and is the story of Mike and Joanne’s garden. Mike earned his BA in art from Cal State Long Beach and was employed in the Movie Industry as a sculptor for about 30 years, he is now retired. He loves cycling, nutrition, exercise and gardening. Joanne worked in accounting for Trans-America after receiving her education at Life Bible College. She found her true calling in her career within their church. She too loves exercise, nutrition and gardening (she’s the impetus behind the project) and leaves the cycling and heavy lifting to Mike.
If you would like to create a garden sanctuary, a vegetable haven, or even spruce up with some container design consider giving me a cal at 661-917-3521 or you can visit my website and contact me there.