“In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding:
Sweet lovers love the spring.”
– Shakespeare, As You Like It
Over at Strollerderby, they took time out from celebrity gossip (I kid because I love – only 50% of the posts are about celebrities) to talk about alternatives to expensive grocery store organics. I already posted my thoughts/additions on their article on the comments there, but it reminded that I was thinking this weekend about our garden… as I looked at our snow covered box garden that I built a few years back.
If you have the space, a raised-bed garden is an excellent way to grow your own organic foods.
I wish now that I could remember where I got the plans from for our garden. However, if you search on raised-bed gardens, you’ll find many plans out there on the internet. Choose one that looks appropriate for the skill, tools, and time you have. The important thing is do not use pressure-treated wood for your garden. There are chemicals in this wood (the “greenish” looking wood at your local lumber supplier) that will leach into the soil and thus into your food).
Last year, late in the season, my daughter was able to help out by watering the garden with her watering can. This year, I think she will have matured enough to be more involved with the garden. Having seen how interested she is in cooking (yeah, yeah, I’m getting to that post), I think this will be an awesome activity for the whole family.
I’m not going to lie to you – maintaining a garden is a lot of work. Our original plan was to add a second raised-bed garden, but the thought of taking care of that many vegetables (especially considering our success rate – we’ve never been able to get peppers to grow well) has made us put off that second one.
Now, we just have to figure out what to plant. A lot of this will be dictated by the availability of organic seed (and how well they sprout for us) and organic seedlings (we are very lucky to have an agricultural magnet school near us which grows and sells organic seedlings).
One thing we are considering doing is taking the large clay pot we usually reserve for flowers (but was originally for tomatoes), and using it for strawberries this year, something we think our daughter will enjoy. We’d plant them in available area near the house, but our house was built in the 20′s, and we’re sure there’s still some lead in the soil around the house.
Oh, and a great way to fertilize your garden is to compost. We have a composter we put leaves and coffee grounds (btw – Starbucks’ll give you their used coffee grounds for free, if you ask) and food scraps, etc. into, and use this on the garden each year. It is a great way to “recycle” food scraps and cut down on large quantities of stinky garbage.
Of course, your garden, then, will only be as organic as the stuff you compost… But, like I always say, every little bit helps.