I never knew I would be so enthusiastic about things like rosemary and lettuce. But here I am, two weeks after planting our new raised gardens beds, and they are all I want to talk about. Did I mention I made rosemary olive oil bread this weekend from our very own rosemary? Or that we've already enjoyed two salads from our two little lettuce plants? Or that I made pizza using our basil and oregano? Because that all happened in the last week.
But let me start at the beginning. We had an ugly swath of yard along the side of the house and deck, which for the last five years had the sole purpose of producing massive quantities of mud in which the dogs liked to dig and roll around.
We'd considered planting a garden in that area and had even made a few feeble attempts at sunflowers and lavender. But the predators of an unguarded garden were just too much for the poor plants to bear. Sure, the predators below look like the most innocent creatures to walk the earth. But beware. In their presence, no garden could possibly survive.
Last fall, we decided it was time to create a vegetable and cut-flower garden in that muddy spot. Our only chance of success was to build high-security beds; we went with raised beds and a fence (with mesh to come) to keep the plants safe and happy. In November, Jeff and his dad built the beds. A few weeks ago, Jeff added the rail, and we readied the beds for planting.
Then came the fun part of selecting our produce and flowers for the 4x4 plots at the farmers market and a few local nurseries. We chose things we eat a lot: two varieties of lettuce, two varieties of tomatoes (Cricket would put away an entire pint of grape tomatoes in one sitting if I let her), bell peppers and strawberries.
For the flowers, we went with black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers, which my mom always had in our yard growing up, and zinnias.
We also filled two crates with soil to create an herb garden of basil, oregano, chives and rosemary.
To encourage at least one of the natural predators in our yard to engage in productive activities instead of garden destruction, we let her select her own flowers to plant and water on the deck. She chose these lovely yellow marigolds and is quite proud of them.
So far, so good. But we've got a long summer ahead...
I would tell you more about our garden project, but I'm too busy gorging on eggs baked with our chives. I will, however, post updates as the growing season progresses—if I remember to take photos before eating everything.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.