The Faithful House garden has been planted. And let me tell you, it was a family and community affair.
After my husband teased me to design a vegetable garden, I decided to take him on. Once the draft was in his hands Kevin graciously cut out the sod which was located off to the side and built our raised beds.
We pulled in a colleague of ours to fill the raised beds with the turned over sod, covered with newspaper to serve as a sheet mulch while the sod broke down and a balanced soil blend I ordered from one of my favorite soil distributors. The site’s native soil, being very close to the beach is great, on the sandy side but ripe and ready for a little plumping with some good chunky organics.
The vegetable garden area was designed to meet the needs or our family. Each bed being no wider than 5 feet but did reach 12 feet in length. The paths were laid 4 feet apart for the possibility of a wheelchair or garden stool to be placed. Paths are wide enough to run wheelbarrows through and each bed stands 18″ tall, with the possibility of being raised higher if the property were to ever host programs for elders or clients with physical challenges such as my own. In the end our materials were chosen with the idea that the gardens may only be temporary, as we don’t know the future of this area due to an application we have going with the City of Victoria. (Long story, I’ll get in to some time if it’s relevant.)
A week later, we ran a simple pvc irrigation line to the beds with pop up routers on risers and away we went. The simple system was hooked to our rear garden hose-bib with a battery operated timer, and an additional bib for hand watering! Making seed germination a little less tricky for someone who can’t manoever stairs well.
Our paths ended up lined with fabric and covered in chip. Each path started and ended with two 1′ x 2′ concrete pavers to transition and provide an easy path for my wheelchair to enter and leave.
The chip was laid shallow enough so that the tires of the chair could grab ground no matter the choice in path material. As it turns out, I’m baring weight on my leg now, so the chip feels great under my very plush Asics running shoes bought for me by my boys on Mother’s Day.
Seeds were bought from local nurseries and seed wholesalers, though not as many heirlooms as I had hoped. I thought it best to be less picky about getting everything perfect in a new eden.
My current mobility or restricted energy might let me down from time to time, who knows what interruptions might distract me over the next 4 months. If I was going to do this right, I’d best not set high expectations. Better to enjoy the process and hope for the best. I’d already tasted disappointment. Anyone having been through rehabilitation or having watched a loved one go through it, knows this feeling.
Watching my family and friends take on the installation from the porch or kitchen window was wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But the simple fact that I had longed to create this garden for Oh so LONG, really tugged on my nerves. That I could not participate in the full experience was very difficult and disheartening. And I won’t lie, the general contractor in me was finding it hard to lose all control.
I remembered to practise tolerance and appreciation. I swallowed my pride, accepted my need to be where I was when I had to be there, and crossed my fingers that I would soon be able to participate in the planting and “frosting” of the gardens. And truly, that is my favourite part.
I’d be happy just to see the beds fill with green at this point. It seems the idea of sitting out in the gardens and running my hands through the soil, or weeding the beds is enough for a smile to creep over my face.
Before we knew it, I had hired our friend Sean to come by and keep the momentum rolling. Our 100 year old Blackberry brambles were trimmed and tied back against the fence, with great intention to at least postpone their inevitable chaos of tasty madness. The beds to the south of our vegetable gardens were widened and shaped to make room for the start of a sensory garden.
The boys and I soon had our seeds in the ground. Peas, Beans, radishes, onion, mixed mesclun lettuces, cucumbers, pumpkin, and my very favourite, Kholrabi!
We cheated a bit this year for the sake of my limited energy; planting our lettuces with the use of seed tape which the boys thought was the smartest invention out there. We started deep magenta and purple zinnias on our front porch, laying out my heating pad under the flat to kick start them in the cool air.
The excersise was a test in my sons’ patience, but we all found it very rewarding and some needed quiet time spent together. This time we used peat pucks for the ease, but next up the kids plan to make their own pots with newspaper and recycle our egg cartons.. they are really inspired.
The seedlings and starters lay outside our kitchen door, patiently hardening off before being placed in to their new homes this weekend.
Today, my mom and I carefully maneuvered a local nursery to pick up the last of my vegetables and fruits… (for now at least.) With the help of a charming young man, I hobbled down the gushing green aisles with a 2 gallon pot of Vaccinum sp. Bringing home three species covered in flowers, promising to flood our kitchen with tangy ripe blueberries.. if they ever make it to the kitchen!
From the Cardoons I grabbed for the giant planters out front our home, to the Hops bought to trail up our porch lattice, or the cabbage starters I hoped would reach maturity in the front gardens amongst the shrubs and perennials (how fun). I had myself a terrific and whimsy collection of botanicals.
Thank heavens my accident landed me in bed during the early Spring season rather than the late. I’d have a much harder time accepting my fate without the sun’s rays or the miracle of germination, fruit and flower.
another great table top garden project
Stonecrop purchased for my table top garden program at Silver Threads Care facility, now lay in waiting alongside six packs packs of sedum and flats of native plants for upcoming terrarium projects.
I’ve procured a good deal of prosperity in the gardens. I am glowing with excitement, rejuvenated by the bounty that lay before me, and gushing with the pride only a gardener or mother truly knows. And to top it off, I am outside, out there and using my leg. Powered by my own drive, inspiring myself and my children. Beating the odds and smiling all the way. I am one month ahead of schedule in my recovery and I’m fast forwarding to a higher state of mind, counting every blessing this accident has brought to me.
There have been many great experiences over the last few weeks, and though I have been away from the computer, I have a great deal to share soon.
Some photos from the Lovely Raven Hill Farm
Looking for seeds, please check out Raven hill’s seed catalogue at Raven Hill Seeds