When we moved into our San Diego house, there was a large rectangle of bare earth in one corner of an otherwise grassy backyard. The previous owners used it as a vegetable garden, but we were quick to fill it in with sod. Mike had ideas of starting a garden of his own, but he wasn’t enthusiastic enough to plan it. His only real experience with growing edible stuff was one time in college when I got him a blood orange tree for Christmas (he went to school in Santa Barbara, so orange trees at Christmas made sense). His roommate’s dog ate it. Not a confidence-builder.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and here we are in Colorado, with a junky rental backyard and some empty pots. Not empty anymore.
While we’ve put some time and effort into the front yard–we don’t want to be those neighbors, plus, we like sitting on the front porch so it might as well be pretty–the backyard is straight out of the ghetto. It’s sun-baked, weedy, crooked-patioed ugliness. I figured a failed fruit and veggie experiment couldn’t make it look any worse, so I decided to try my hand with a few items that are popular in our house: strawberries and tomatoes.
Well, truth be told, I actually planted the strawberries shown in the photo above last year, but they never fruited (is that a word?). This year I added some marigolds (there were also chives there already; I think anyone can grow those) and some fertilizer. A few weeks later, we’ve got strawberries, baby!
The top photos show the heirloom beefsteak tomato I plopped into another empty pot. It seems to be doing ok, though maybe a little yellow? Too much water? I don’t know, I’m not an expert here. I just thought it would be fun for the boys to pick out a couple of plants, and watch them (hopefully) grow. They love strawberries and tomatoes, and seem to enjoy checking the plants for bugs, watering, and monitoring growth progress.
We also picked up this guy
an heirloom Mr. Stripey. I know nothing about him, just that Garrett liked the name. Seemed like a good enough reason to give ‘ol Stripey a try. We didn’t have a pot for him, so into the ground he went.
I have no idea whether this small garden project will be, fruitful. Ha! It’s just that the more I learn about where my food comes from, the more I want to source fresh, healthy ingredients. Getting the kids involved and invested is a huge plus. That way, some summer in the future when we have our own backyard, and I decide to go garden crazy, I have free labor on hand.
Anyone out there a master veggie grower? Got any tips for the rest of us? Or, maybe you ruined a whole garden with your ineptitude? That would be funny too.