My father was a gardener. A mill worker by day, in the evenings during the spring and summer months he could be found tending his plants. He grew vegetables, herbs, strawberries, blueberries, pears and a variety of flowers. He planted flower beds and a beautiful rock garden with tulips, lilies, irises, phlox, violets, pansies, marigolds, lilacs and a Weeping Willow tree. My two older sisters and I were expected to help with the weeding on Saturdays, a chore both my sisters hated! I on the other hand, like my father loved to be in the garden. I loved planting seeds and watching them grow into sweet tomatoes or crisp beans that we ate right off the vine. Most of all I loved flowers and like my father, my favorites were the roses. The smell of roses and lilacs and freshly mown grass still evokes pleasant memories of my childhood. I learned a lot from my father about composting and fertilizing and companion planting to keep out unwanted pests. He was an organic gardener without really thinking about it. I used to wonder how my father could work so hard all day and still have the energy to work in the garden when he came home. Now that I have a garden I understand.
Having mostly clay soil which is hard to dig and not great for growing vegetables, I decided to use a raised bed. You can build your own but at the time I didn’t have a saw so I bought one at Home Depot and filled it with organic soil. I started out small just planting lettuce, tomatoes, three different kinds of peppers, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower. Some things grew well and it was awesome picking fresh lettuce, tomatoes and peppers every night for salads. The broccoli, cauliflower and cukes didn’t do as well. Next year I intend to have more raised beds, some of them stacked so I can grow vegetables with deeper roots.
I’ve seen so many posts on pallet gardens I had to try it. I got the pallet in the Home Depot garden shop for free. After making sure it had not been chemically treated, I stapled weed block to the bottom loaded it up with organic garden soil and started planting. This year we had basil, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, Simon & Garfunkel were singing that song in my head as I planted those).