Design: My First Garden

It’s fall, and garden installations are top on our list. Last week we created a starter garden for a health-conscious couple and their young boys. They all want to know where their food comes from, and this first garden is a great way to learn.

Since theirs is a household of boys, our garden needed to be protected from soccer balls, water guns, and general rambunctiousness. We chose the neat and clean lines of portable cedar planters, that elevate the garden away from play areas and pets.

New raised beds are safe from invading roots of a nearby tree.

New raised beds are safe from invading roots of a nearby tree.

We cleared a boxwood hedge to make room for the planters and re-routed irrigation to the raised beds. The south-facing beds will get full sun, even though they sit slightly under a tree canopy. The family home is located in a toasty part of Los Angeles, where 90 degree days are not infrequent.

The brassica bed holds kale, broccoli, and cabbage. It's a sampler garden.

Bed 1: The brassica bed holds kale, broccoli, and cabbage. It’s a sampler garden.

For fall we planted brassicas, peas, lettuces, and root crops. We grouped plant families together to make crop rotation easier next year.

Lettuces, peas, spinach, carrots and arugula populate the next bed.

Bed 2: Lettuces, peas, spinach, carrots, and arugula.

The beds are just the right height for their youngest boy. The family will be able to guide peas up the trellis and harvest outer leaves of all their green “factory vegetables.”

We also planted garlic in a tall MiniFarmBox Tomato Tower, and in spring we plan to plant sweet potatoes when the garlic finishes up. Sweet potatoes can be invasive, so the Tomato Tower will help keep them contained.

Strawberries were added to an in-ground planter bed in a corner away from trampling feet.

Strawberries were added to an in-ground planter bed in a corner away from trampling feet.

We also added herbs and strawberries to a long planter area. Sage, chives, oregano, cilantro and parsley join forces with existing thyme to give the family plenty to season their meals with.

We planted a Navel orange tree in a large pot by the house. The boys helped pull off the existing fruit to give the orange tree a healthy start. Removing fruit helps focus on root production rather than fruiting. They’ll enjoy their first fruits next year.

The finished product is a fun starter garden the whole family can enjoy.

The finished product is a fun starter garden the whole family can enjoy.

This fall, the boys will be picking greens and watching garlic grow. They will learn how to grow some of their favorite veggies and can check in on their plants while they play. If they need to move the garden for any reason, all the planters are on wheels, so they can remove the drip tubing and roll the garden to safety. It’s a win-win for both parents and kids.

 

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