I have built a vegetable garden, in some form, at nearly every home I’ve lived in as an adult. They have taken many forms – big and small, in raised beds and in rows – but no matter their size or shape, I’ve always loved starting with literally nothing, creating something and then watching it grow.
And I’ve had fun with the gardens in other ways too. I used to live in a corner house with a nice size front/side yard. There, in addition to building a vegetable garden, I created a new “lady” scarecrow every year. It became something of an urban garden for the neighborhood, with people stopping by on walks with their dogs or babies to see how the garden was growing. It was so sweet!
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen I’ve been busy building my newest creation … the third take on a vegetable garden at my current house (which just goes to show you, nothing in the garden needs to be forever). With this version, I was determined to have something that was not only beautiful, but also would produce something that, despite all my attempts, I’ve never mastered – a great tomato! I’ve always wanted to grow tomatoes like my Aunt Millie did in North Carolina … tomatoes with real homegrown flavor. If you’ve ever had one, you know what I mean!
To help me achieve this goal, I did some online research and found an amazing resource at Gardenerd. Please check out this site! It offers so much information, and the best part is you can email them and ask for advice. Because I’m in L.A. and the people who run the site are nearby, they made a house call and helped me fine tune my plan. For instance, she gave me a great tip for the tomatoes – add 1tbsp of Epson salt and 1tbsp of organic vegetable fertilizer in the hole – and so far, everything looks good! (click here for another neat Garden tip.)
Once I had my plan, I used newspapers and kitchen flour to literally lay out what I wanted. Then, I called a handyman friend of mine and, together, we built the garden. While it was underway, I searched far and wide for a fountain to serve as my focal point. The whole project was hard work for a few weeks, but now that the it’s done, I am so pleased and can’t wait to enjoy (and hopefully share) the fruits of my labor. (Click here to see a short Making of My Garden video.)
In just the few weeks since completion, the garden has taken off – I’ve got five different kinds of tomatoes, yellow and red bell peppers, hot peppers, beets, kale, spinach, chard, romaine, cucumbers, green beans, squash, pumpkins, herbs, strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon. (Christy at Gardnerd told me to divide the beds in 1′ squares and each square gets a different plant. You can really plant a lot that way!) My favorite part so far is going out and cutting romain, chard and spinach leaves to make a fresh salad. There’s nothing going bad in my fridge!
I know that starting a project like this can be intimidating, especially if you’re not a seasoned gardner. But, you can always start simple. And like me, you’ll learn best by trial and error. Either way, I hope you’ll try planting something – trust me, the rewards are so sweet!
PS – I love talking with other people who gardner – it’s a great way to get tips and ideas. This week, I was on set (at ABC Family’s Chasing Life) and the make-up artist, Ann, shared with me her passion for organic gardening. I think what she’s trying this season is so cool that I asked her to share it with you. (Click here to see Ann’s “Three Sisters” video.)