Simple Pleasures 

 

I have wanted to have a HUGE garden my whole life but we rent. I have not had a suitable space to grow a garden nor did I want to make a large investment to create a suitable space for my garden to grow. I realized that years are passing and all the excuses are just that, excuses.  I assessed my struggles, little space, neighbors cat that poops all over our yard, living on a busy street that people don’t clean up after their dogs and also pick others flowers or veggies. I decided to throw caution to the wind. I asked around on Facebook and to friends to look for old large plastic plant containers, used garden boxes, or anything I could use to grow food in. I had a friend with two redwood garden boxes that she was not using and they were too big for her to store. My mother in law had several very large black plastic containers that she bought trees/bushes in.  I knew that one very positive silver lining was that my house gets great sun. For a coastal town we get lots of sun and it stays warm late in the evening when the fog is not present. Some plants seem silly to grow because they are cheap to buy at the market or others seem like they would be great to grow such as tomatoes but they can be tricky ( especially at the coast). I decided to go with what we use all the time and could cut as we needed them: collard greens, lettuce of several varieties, zucchini, spinach, and cucumbers. I researched what grew in my growing zone and started with start ups, I also bought seeds to sow when spring hit. I grew lettuce under my collards to protect them from too much sun. I try to water only when needed but deeply. My sons and I have started strawberries, carrots, and radish as well. These are fun for kids because they grow quickly and are easy to harvest.

We have so much lettuce! I can not believe how well it grows. We also have slugs, snails, and aphids. They have been problematic but a challenge I am up for and the plants are tenacious. They keep coming back and producing! I love being able to head out to get fresh greens each day for lunch and dinner. I know how fresh they are and can taste it too! Many of our neighbors walk by and comment on how great the veggies look, I feel very proud and excited to keep going.

Few important details, I knew where the sun would hit spring, summer, and fall. I used organic vegetable soil and amended it with chicken poop. I also have a worm bin and water down the castings and liquid they produce to feed my soil. Greens need a lot of nitrogen. I do not have chickens or ducks of my own so I am using a pet and kid friendly slug pellets. It is helping me keep control of them while I work full time.

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