I must take a moment to mourn the loss of our little garden boxes. Tear, tear.
I can hear you all out there gasping. Backyard gardening has been a huge trend over the last few years and we did jump on the bandwagon as well.
We built our pretty garden boxes four years ago so that we could grow produce for our family.
It was fun. They were pretty. They just did not really make sense.
Let us look at the reality of the garden box situation.
We had two rather large garden boxes. They measured 3ft by 6 ft each and we had two. This gave us 36 square feet of garden to work with.
However, plants need room to grow. We planted 3 tomato plants, 1 tomatillo plant, 2 cucumber plants, 2 zuchinni plants and a grove of peas last year. We did get quite a crop of tomatoes and squash. The tomatillos were a bust, we recieved a freeze before the blooms matured. Zuchinni produced as well, which was wonderful.
We were spending around $150 every spring getting this garden bed ready. This cost was for seeds, starters, new compost and soil, lady bugs, new tomato supports etc. Did we gain $150 in produce? Probably not. Add on top of that the fact that our water bill shot up to $150 per month in the summer so that we could water our little garden. Eeeek. Not very sustainable or earth friendly at all. That was a lot of city water!
I have been desperatetly wanting to expand our patio because the area where our table and chairs sit gets hit hard with afternoon/evening sun right around dinner time. Not the best place to relax and have a cocktail after a long day. The perfect spot for an outdoor dinner table was right where those pretty garden boxes lived.
You can see in the picture below, where our patio table sat on the left. As the sun rose over the house during the day it beat down on that patio and there was not a bit of foliage around to shade that spot. As you can see, the area near the garden boxes is nice and sunny during the day, but in late afternoon and evening it is shaded by the curling willow tree in our yard. Seriously, it is the perfect spot.
For a couple of years now we have been contemplating the expansion of our patio. We never did because we thought the experience of growing food was so good for our boys. Until, my Dad suggested that we coop with them this year.
My parents live out in the country and grow a HUGE 40×40 garden. We are talking the works here. He grows hops, artichokes, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, peppers, several varieties of cucumbers, tomatillos, rhubarb, and berries. They always have way more produce than they themselves can eat and end up donating a ton of it to local food drives and churches.
Thier plants seem to grow better than ours do also, because they are on irrigation water. Must be some natural fertilizers in that country ditch water… if you know what I mean.
We offered to help him with spring start up costs like buying seeds and start up plants. We will also take the boys to help them plant everything. Once a week we will go and help him weed and maintain and harvest his garden too. Sounded like a win- win to us!
You know what else that means… goodbye big ol’ garden boxes in our yard! Hello patio!
I cannot wait to share some of the details with you… we have been hard at work.
Stay tuned for more patio goodness to come!