We started our long-anticipated vegetable garden today. It has proven to be a lot of work, in part, because I chose to do it with as little financial investment as possible. I read that one of the best ways to start a little garden for young kids was to use raised beds or just do it in pots. But that costs money and since I am pretty sure that all of this could result in a) a nice meal for rabbits or b) a total disaster that I never touch again, I didn't want to make too big of an investment. I have all this unused ground for free, so why not just use it? Here's why:
We just built our house last summer. The back has neither been landscaped nor really gotten the grass coverage that I want in some places. I thought it would be easy enough to dig in one of the sunny and bare spots. I totally underestimated the power of that grass--it is sparse but scrappy! The roots were so strong I could barely dig, but I refuse to use a grass killer because it would put chemicals in the food (defeating the purpose of the garden). I tried digging for awhile until I realized that the reason that the grass was not coming in was that it was also where the masons had mixed mortar and the drive-way guys dumped left-over aggregate and the carpenters left wood. To my horror, I basically live on a really fancy landfill. I was prepared to keep digging, though, because my husband would never let me forget the hole I dug in our yard for no reason if I stopped.
Finally, I realized that this was going to require a home depot run. An hour later, I am back with a tiller and feeling like Goldie Hawn in "Overboard" (think bubbubububububububbbu). It was a beast, but I did feel pretty cool that I never asked for help (not that it was offered to me, thankyouverymuch). My 1 and 3 year olds helped me pull out the big chunks--they were dolls in their garden gloves. Actually, the little one was just in plain-old-gloves, but we didn't have the heart to tell her.
Then I realized that I should be mixing the compost in with the tiller. I rush over to local nursery with my two kids (again, thankyouverymuch), got the compost, and rushed back to mix it in time to get the tiller back to home depot before the rental ran out. Since no one offered to make lunch, I did that too. Its hard being a stay at home mom attorney organic gardener y'all!