A few weeks ago we planted our vegetable and herb garden! Woohoo! Last year was my first year being an urban gardener-or a gardener of any sort, other than houseplants (which saw better days before the Little Miss came along). So last year was definitely a learning experience in many ways. As much as Eliana and I tried to care for our little urban farm, most of our vegetables didn’t grow. Boo! But, despite our failure, I resolved to try again. I want to grow some vegetables and herbs for a few reasons: I want to be able use them in my cooking, I like knowing that we’re cutting down on a tiny bit of our carbon footprint and knowing where food comes from is part of teaching Eliana to be a teeny tiny foodie.
So, in order to be more successful with this year’s urban farm, I needed to change the few factors I suspected were to blame for our failure:
- -Quality of my starter plants
- -Insufficient water drainage in the garden boxes
- -Super strong sun in the afternoon
So, this year, we did a few things differently:
- -Instead of using starter plants from the local hardware mega-store, we used seeds from an online supplier
- -Instead of just filling the boxes with soil, we added a layer of stones on the bottom of each box in order to allow the water to better drain out
- -Our deck is west-facing and we can’t change that. So, instead, we moved the location of the boxes. Now they receive less intense sun than they had in their old location
Like last year, I relied on my family for help with getting the garden planted. My mom helped me plan out where the boxes should go and made a long and exhausting trip with me and Eliana to the store for 2 more garden boxes plus 5 bags of soil. Oh, and it was originally 3 garden boxes but after pushing the 3 garden boxes and 5 bags of soil around the store using a large cart that was very disagreeable and spending 30 minutes in the hot sun hauling stuff into and out of the car in order to make it all fit while my mom kept Eliana entertained and happy, the 3rd box didn’t fit into the car.
So I walked back into the store and returned it. Sigh.
A couple of weeks later, Grandpa Steve and Susu helped me and Eliana plant the rest of the garden. Yay!
In total we planted:
- -1 cherry tomato plant
- -2 basil plants
- -3 types of mint plants
- -Zucchini seeds
- -Broccoli seeds
- -Mint seeds
- -Onion seeds
- -3 types of tomato seeds
- -1 set of parsley seeds (I had planted a few herbs in a window garden a few months ago. After I moved them outdoors, 1 lonely little parsley sprig has shown up).
- -And a partridge in a pear tree 🙂
Here are some photos:
Last year, Eliana had recently turned 1-year old on the ridiculously hot day when we planted the garden. Click here to read the story about Planting Day 2012. She wasn’t such an active part of that day and mostly watched from inside while Susu and I worked. But, for the rest of the summer and fall, Eliana helped me water the herbs and vegetables and helped “prune” the plants by swiping tomatoes and herbs from the plants for snacks. Click here to read more about last year’s garden.
This year, newly 2-years old, Eliana was absolutely part of the process. She came to the store with my mom and me to buy the soil, boxes, a tomato plant and a basil plant and then helped my mom plant the basil, too. She used her own teeny tiny trowel to help me and Susu loosen the soil as it came out of the bags and move soil around in the boxes before adding the seeds. She has helped me water the plants every day, sometimes twice a day. She also decorated the garden boxes with chalk and she still performs her own “pruning” of the plants by swiping tomatoes and herbs. Through all of this involvement, Eliana is learning about where food comes from, which is part of how I’m creating a teeny tiny foodie.
Here are some photos and a link to a video on our YouTube channel of Eliana helping out in the garden:
Click here to see a video of Eliana watering the basil.
We shall see what the summer and fall bring to our little urban farm. So far, all vegetables and herbs seem to be sprouting and/or maintaining except for the mint seeds. Nothing there yet. Fingers still crossed.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress of our little garden here over the next couple of months, but if you’re anxious to see more about how it’s all going, I’ve been posting photos on Instagram and Twitter as well as on our Facebook page and Pinterest page, too. So look for us there, as well!
Wish our little plant babies luck!!