April 5, 2009
It started as an idea 3 years ago, a necessity really if we ever wanted to eat greens from our own garden. Urban soil in older neighborhoods is notoriously known for pollutants, our little lot being no different.
I love living in this small city, 3 blocks from Daddy's office and everything we need within a 1/2 hour walk. But having lead contaminated soil is something I don't love. In fact, it infuriates me to my core. Not being able to eat food grown from your soil is just all wrong, wrong, wrong. What if I had no choice but to eat what I grew from my yard??? I would be poisoning my children. (Not to mention starving since we can't grow enough with the space we have to feed our family). But those are topics for another time...
The fact remains we have lead contaminated soil, I've tested it - and so should you if you live in an older urban neighborhood. I can grow certain crops, (well peeled) root crops, berries and fruiting vegetables no problem. But greens; lettuce, spinach, chard, kale - the really good-for-you veggies are a no go.
But we love those vegetables so we decided to a) build a raised bed and b) try to de-tox the garden soil (this year we're growing sunflowers - supposedly they help leach lead from the soil but you have to treat the plants as waste, ie: don't compost the lead back into your garden!)
The raised bed idea was born a couple years ago but has taken time to come to fruition - like everything else in my life! So I'm so happy to announce that last week, the first week of April, I planted my first spring seeds in the raised bed, while my kids played in mud.
Here's a couple advantages to raised bed gardens (in addition to not poisoning your urban kiddos with garden grown greens):
Here in Maine we don't plant our "regular garden" until mid-late May, except for peas, which I'll plant soon. So you can understand my delight in planting my raised bed a whole month and a half early! This means I'll be able to do successive plantings. Here's what we've got:
The "hoop house" in the photos was fashioned with:
To make your own raised bed you can check out this post How to Make a Raised Bed blogged at The Pleasures of Homemaking.
If you know of more great how-to-build a bed resources please leave a link in comments.
As a note, I use the square foot method but think 4 feet is too wide, especially for a short individual like myself. I think 3 feet, with access from both sides, is just right.
Up for grabs Seeds of Change Certified Organic seed packages. China Choy Chinese Cabbage and Anaszai Flour Corn, winner gets both (somber-faced princess is not included). They look like lovely seeds and this is a company I would buy from if I didn't have such a great seed source</a>, Pinetree Seeds, so close to home.
Comments and contest now closed. Winner chosen using Random.org:
So, commenter number six (not including those pingbacks) is MMW.
Happy planting and isn't this just the best time of year??
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