Sunday, May 25, 2008

The George Garden

We have our very own vegetable garden! Yes, here in North Carolina with the lovely clay soil. You can't really grow anything in this red clay (it reminds me of Margaret Mitchell's description of the Georgia soil in GWTW), and I wasn't sure we'd be able to have one (it's something I've dreamed about doing with my kids). But then I found out about square foot gardening (HT: A Life at Home). Basically, you build a 4 x 4 (mine is 4 x 6, but one side can be no longer than 4 feet) box and put a cross section in it, and you devote each 1 x 1 square to a different plant or crop. The benefits are numerous--if you don't have good soil, like us, you can have a garden anyway, and you can actually plant a little more than with traditional rows. Plus, there aren't any weeds! Or bugs. Although Dad says that we will get bugs soon. :( I don't like bugs.

Speaking of dad, he is the reason we have this garden. It is called the George Garden (like the Rose Garden) because my dad built it. He made up blueprints and everything--I need to scan the plans and post them. Then he found the wood, donated by my grandmother (thanks, Oma!), cut it all to size, and put everything all together. He even made it twice as high and thick as I would have made it, making it much more sturdier and easier to grow root crops. Dad never does something unless he's going to do it perfectly!

Here he even invented legs for the cross section, in case the kids walked on it--that way it wouldn't sink into the soil. I don't know why he still comes to visit us, because every time he does we put him to work! It was a lot of work to do all this, and Dad did about 99% of it (all I did was buy the soil and keep Brad from losing all the screws while he "fixed" his bike). I am so blessed to have such a great dad.

You can see the garden is in a little patch left by the previous owners. I think they tried to have a garden of their own, because I found a couple old markers for peppers. I'm not sure how successful they were, because the soil quite terrible, actually. I'm planning on using the space to the left of the George Garden as a compost pile. Now we just need to train ourselves to stop throwing old bits of food in the trash and throw them in my little compost bowl instead.

I'm really hoping that...well, to be honest, my goal for this year is to not kill the vegetables. But for next year, and the year after, as I get the hang of this, I'm really hoping to save a bunch of money on produce. Salad greens, spinach, carrots, peppers, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli--these things are only getting more expensive. You know things are bad when has an article about gardening! I'll post more pictures as the summer goes on and let you know how my little experiment is going.


Mom said...

I'm very impressed! But as you said, your dad doesn't do something shabbily when he has a project to do. This looks really great!

Lyndsey said...

I like how Dad comes to visit and you put him to work. Nice! :o)

Leah said...

As a native "Georgian" let me go ahead and confirm that it IS Georgia Red Clay! They might call it something different (like North Carolina Clay--I don't know), but it is Georgia Red Clay! it was all over where I grew up--including most of my and my siblings' clothes:-) Great planting idea. I hope it works out well for you!