Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Last night we enjoyed the first salad from our garden. Two kinds of lettuce, two kinds of kale, radishes and chard. I added a pear cut into pieces and tossed it with a splash of balsamic vinegar and two tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette. It was delicious and very healthy!

The garden is loosely based on Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening technique. We bought a raised bed cedar kit from Craig's List, which came pre-drilled with all the necessary hardware. After choosing an appropriate location, we set-up the structure and filled it with custom mixed soil: equal parts of compost, peat moss and vermiculite (key to keeping moisture in the soil).

garden plants
I planted pole beans, lemon and sweet cucumbers, saucer squash, cantaloupe, Japanese eggplant, red bell pepper, strawberries, walla walla onions, chives, green onions, basel, Italian parsley, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, early tomato, golden tomato, candy cane beets, purple carrots, radishes, kale, chard, bok choy, butter lettuce, mixed baby lettuce and spinach.

Raised bed garden with trellis
Yesterday morning I constructed the trellis for the vines (beans, squash and cucumbers) and tomatoes. We bought three 10-foot sections of 1/2-inch diameter electrical conduit, four 3-foot pieces of rebar and conduit joiners. After bending two sections of pipe to make a three-sided piece, I cut sections of the third pipe to extend the height of the two trellis frames using the joiners. I anchored the rebar into the ground with a sledge hammer then slipped the conduit pipe over the rebar to secure the trellis.
Square-foot raised garden
Lastly, I tied trellis netting to the structure to give the plants something to hold on to as they grew.

We bought scissors and trowels at the Dollar Store and stuck them in the ground so they're handy for planting, trimming and harvesting.

We've had a few strawberries ripen, but this morning I noticed they were a treat for the local blue jay so we covered them with screening material.

Today was the first real hot day for the garden and all the plants held up well.

What are you growing in your garden this year? What do you do when a plant goes to seed (sprouts up a stalk that flowers)?


  1. Hey! Great interview in Style Magazine!

  2. Im on your website for the first.time after reading Style. My boys love Toby Mac too!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you like what you find here.

      Check out Purple Carrot Books. We now have a FREE app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

  3. Hello Chris, I just read your story in Style Magazine. It brought me to tears! Thank you for sharing and congrats for beating cancer. We lost our beloved Mother 1 year ago yesterday to colon cancer. Like your family, she ate healthy, exercised and took care of herself. The difference was she was 86 years old and not strong enough to pull through the surgery to remove the cancer from her colon. I hope that God blesses you with many more happy and healthy years. BZ

    1. Hi BZ,
      Thank you for your encouragement. I'm sorry for your loss. Losing a mother is very hard no matter their age.