6.13.2015

Adventures in Growing Food

I'm pretty excited as this is our first year with a proper vegetable garden.  This time last year we had just moved to our new home in small town Southern Ontario and even though our new yard was perfect for planting, we just didn't have the time.  But this year I was on a mission!

A mission to grow food for my family!

My husband and I decided on a perfect spot for the garden that would allow us to enclose it (read: keep dogs & rabbits out) and still have some big open spaces for romping.  We decided that some raised beds would work best given we live on a giant sand dune and I really didn't want to spend days tilling and trying to make our dirt suitable for veggies.  And then it was on to finding materials to build our beds.  We definitely didn't want pressure treated wood given all the toxic chemicals that would leach into our homegrown veggies and cedar was super expensive.  So what then?

But as luck would have it we managed to find a much more environmentally friendly and frugal solution.  We had a dead tree taken down a few weeks before and the guys that did the work live on a farm right around the corner.  Their property is gorgeous and littered with piles of lumber and boards!  So hubby headed over to ask them if they had any planks for sale.  Talk about perfect...not only did that have wood, but gorgeous 12 ft aged ash boards that they would deliver for us!.  I don't even remember how much wood they brought, but it was way more than we needed and it was only $50!  And even cooler was the fact that these brothers also have a small sawmill so that had made the planks themselves from other trees that had taken down in the area.  So cool!

So then we built the beds, or rather my handy husband did.  We decided on four 12x5 beds with walk-ways in between. We lined the area with heavy duty landscape fabric and installed the beds.  And then it was shovelling and more shovelling.  We ordered 4 yards of triple mix soil and had to lug it all from the front yard to the back.  And then wood chips to fill in the paths and make our garden area complete.  All I really remember from that week was shovels, calluses and sore arms.

But wow, did they ever look good.  We then needed to protect the area from rabbits, and our dogs who would tromp through all my seedlings. Talk about good karma, our neighbour had 2 large rolls of chicken wire she didn't need and happily donated it to the cause.  And my crafty husband then found some awesome metal trellis/fencing that someone was getting rid of and that's how we crafted our enclosure.

Then of course it was on to planting.  I had started all kinds of seeds inside in the early Spring and couldn't wait to get them in the ground.  I had everything just about planted the weekend before Victoria Day.  In hindsight, it was way to early, but I was just sooo excited!  So after having to cover up all my plants multiple times over the following 2 weeks due to frost I was home free!  Let the garden grow!

Everyday we take a tour through our new little plot.  The kids love checking out whats popping up and all the veggies that are getting bigger each second.  We've already started picking some of our veggies including kale, lettuce, spinach and radishes.

I remember being sweaty and cranky and in the thick of building and filling the boxes and my husband saying "wouldn't it be easier to just go to the grocery store?"  And initially, there were times when I definitely thought so, but now, watching my plants grow and seeing my kids get excited about picking food for supper I know that growing our own food may not be easier, but it sure is way more fulfilling AND delicious!

Have you got a garden this year? What are your favourite things to grow?

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