Yard Gardening in Southern California

Just a bit about what I’m growing in my raised garden beds, and why…

My Dad owned a garden center while I was growing up in Connecticut. Instead of going to daycare or being planted in front of a TV after school my sisters and I would go to “the farm,” where we would run through the sprinklers without our clothes on (usually my idea), make forts in the piles of mulch, and carve our names in the beams of the haybarn. During the winter I would sit and watch my dad make beautiful wreaths, the largest one which would hang outside the church on Main Street where I would one day get married. I distinctly remember the smells of wreath glue, fresh fir trees, and the earthy smell of greenhouse on my Dad’s L.L.Bean vest when he would come home. I am so thankful for that childhood. I have such a respect for my Dad who loves to work with his hands, and who showed me what it means to respect the earth and what comes from it.

I’m by no means a farmer, or a botanist like my Dad, but this Spring I made myself a few raised garden beds in my dry, Southern California yard. Using redwood fence posts, a good number of screws, and my first lesson of how to use a drill, I made those boxes and I’m pretty proud of myself. After a Uhaul full of dirt from a nice man on Craigslist, and a few amazing friends who helped me haul it, I have some garden beds that are actually full of edible things now.

As a cook, there’s nothing more important than quality ingredients. What could be more quality than tomatoes that were actually ripened in the sun or beans right off the vine? And what could be more beneficial to our planet than growing our own food? I’ll follow up this post with a few instructions for how to make your own raised beds without spending a fortune.

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