Ever since we moved to Knoxville, I have loved the idea of having a garden. Our first home just didn't have the yard for one, but our new house has a fabulously large and FLAT backyard. Last year, we tried out a local fruit and vegetable co-op, which we enjoyed a bunch, but we decided to try our hand at our own garden this year. One of the things that we did not particularly enjoy about the co-op is that we had no control over what fruits and veggies we got week to week. It was exciting to try new things, but we found there were many types of produce that we didn't love that we still had an abundance of each week. I hate wasting something, especially fresh, organic produce, so we thought if we had our own garden, we could hand-pick the things we know we love and will use in our cooking.
When we moved into our house, there was an abandoned sand box built in the backyard. I loathed the idea of having sandbox---we host Care Group with 20+ kids, and I have visions of sand everywhere--so we have left it as is until just recently. Jonathan did a bunch of research and decided that a raised garden bed would be a nice option for us to try out since we are pretty new at this. We decided to turn the sandbox into a raised bed, and then Jonathan recruited his dad to help him build a second raised bed right beside the other.
A week or so after we got the raised beds built, we went ahead and bought our plants for our Early Spring garden. We bought broccoli, kale, iceberg lettuce, bib leaf lettuce, spinach, and strawberries. After we got everything in the ground (which was the PERFECT time to do, according to the Farmer's Almanac), we naturally got some very cold and freezing weather. For one week, we were out of town during Spring Break visiting our friends in Panama City, Florida, when Knoxville was slammed with several days of SNOW! SNOW!!!??? I was upset and certain that our garden was done for, but except for the loss of two plants, our little Spring garden is thriving.
Here are some pictures of the boys putting the plants in the ground. The kids are really enjoying learning about a garden and helping us along the way:
Starting at the bottom of the picture above, there are rows of strawberries, then spinach, then iceberg, then bib leaf, then kale, and finally broccoli.
We are finally starting to reap some of our harvest. Just this weekend, we picked lots of lettuce for some fresh salads, and I pulled a ton of kale. I made our season's first batch of kale chips which is a family fave. I'll have to post a recipe because they are super easy and super delicious!
This is a picture of the garden about two weeks ago. You can see how much it's grown in this picture from when we first planted, so imagine how it looks now! I've got to take some more pictures!
|Here is our first strawberry starting to grow!|
Here is all the kale I picked on Friday!
So far, we are really enjoying our gardening experience, and it hasn't been that hard to do. I know that may change as everything starts growing in more abundance and we have to be diligent to harvest and eat and keep up with everything else. We are planning to do a summer garden in the newly built bed, but we haven't planted those yet. I definitely want to do some tomatoes and peppers and squash, but we'll have to see what we end up with. Jonathan just planted some carrot seeds in a big planter we have on our back porch, so that will be a fun experiment. And I forgot to mention that I have some fresh herbs in another planter that are growing like crazy! Anyone need cilantro!?