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Thursday, January 16, 2014

From Lawn to Garden (Part One)

I'm pretty sure one day my husband is going to insist that I change the title of this blog to "Wife who has husband and kids on the crazy train" because weeeeeeeeeeeeeelllll.... sometimes I get these ideas. I share them with my husband and he asks some really good questions and is surprised when I have some really good answers and then my crazy idea actually begins to make sense. Or maybe he is going crazy too. I don't know, but my new crazy idea is what if instead of having a little vegetable garden if we turn our entire lawn (read every single inch of our outside property) into a massive garden to try and feed our family veggies for the year. And again, my husband said yes to my crazy idea! I want you now to glance back at the title picture. We have a long thin anorexic yard. We don't have acres but a small fraction of an acre. We also have four kids. Two parents. And we are so going to try and make this happen!! And really, if we can do it, anyone can. I mean before this year we dabbled in tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers and last year we had two small pitiful tomato plants that gave us maybe 10 pieces of fruit (which is because I spent the spring on bedrest, then had a baby, then was in a wedding.... yada yada-- we totally did nothing last year). So this year we wanted to roll our sleeves up and do it better. Then we decided to do it crazy bigger and better (I hope or instead of learning alongside of us you'll be learning from our mistakes).
Our kids are all on board. Till we explained it would be the entire lawn. Like no more grass. Or play house (which no one even touches anymore unless they are jumping from the roof which drives me bonkers... but hey, maybe when your mom goes crazy enough stuff like this happens! ha!). And they innocently asked, "What will we play?" To which I said, "Farmers." Which apparently I underestimated how cool this was because they squealed with delight and asked when we could begin. Except this guy.
I think he just figured out Momma will not be holding him every second of every day. So I quickly explained we will get food out of it and I think he's on board too now. Our family has delved into videos on youtube on how tos and gardening and canning and blanching... and pretty much all from this Canadian man at 50 Ducks in A Hot Tub We are feeling pumped up! So, you want in, here is what we have done so far:
The first thing we did was order our seeds. I am mentioning this because if you want heirloom organic seeds certain veggies run out quickly. We even had to go with our fourth choice for corn. We went with Incredible Seed Company but there are others out there. Next we went to some local woods and found a bunch of sticks all different sizes which we will form into teepees to grow beans, peas, etc. and also for tomato stakes. We also got a big bucket from the store 9cost us less than 3 dollars) and will be placing all our egg shells in there from now until, well a long time. Egg shells add calcium to your garden and when you crush them they break down faster-- also placing them in a ring around plants makes it harder for slugs and other nasty critters to eat your prized plants. So very simple steps to begin making this winter in preparation for your garden to begin this spring.
This back yard area behind our shed was originally what we had planned to turn into our garden and this is where we will begin our work. You can see we have our potting soil (organic) ready to go. We also have secured some pallets which we will be turning into vertical gardens so we can grow our herbs without taking up any much needed land. You can see how to make a pallet garden here. We have a large black tub that was originally going to be our little pond but we didn't use it so that too will soon be put to work and grow something on the patio or porch. We also have a lot of patio stones leftover from when we put our patio in and they will become stepping stones. I am showing you all this to have you take a look around your yard and see what you can use that you already have. (and I apologize things are messy-- it got a little crazy when the kitchen was remodeled).
Again here is our little bit of lawn before it goes to veggie seed. We need to get the playhouse out and get the ground ready but will wait till its warmer and the ground is softer. I didn't get it in the picture, but two years ago we planted our first grape vine and last year we did get to add the second. Hoping soon we get grapes as not only do we go through a lot of veggies but fruit too! we are hoping to start strawberries this year too.
One final thing to begin doing now: save your containers to begin seeds indoors! we have berry containers, milk, and clear bottles which we will turn into planters as well. We are super excited and will try and update as time allows. Our kids have helped pick out what we will grow and this week we plan on making our teepees and mapping out where everything will be planted! So, what's the best thing you have ever got to grow in your garden or your secret gardening tip?

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