Upon moving from the city to the suburbs many years ago, my husband and I found ourselves with a patch of sunny land and less access to the organic vegetables and fruits that we had enjoyed at our local market in our previous neighborhood. We decided to experiment with our first raised bed garden, following Patricia Lanza’s Lasagna Gardening advice, and were staggered by how easy it was to grow a variety of organic vegetables in a small 3’ by 3’ raised garden bed.
Having been raised without access to home-grown vegetables, I was also astounded by the superior taste of the food coming out of our own backyard. What really made me fall in love with organic vegetable gardening was the interest our children developed in eating foods they grew themselves. Our 5-year old daughter limited her vegetable intake to beans, zucchini and peas until my aunt bought her a cherry tomato plant for her birthday three years ago. She planted it, cared for it, and by the end of the summer was a die-hard tomato lover. Our garden has proven to be the most effective way to introduce new foods to our kids and has taught them appreciation of different vegetables. Our hope is that they will continue to enjoy these foods once they have grown, and will live longer, healthier, happier lives as a result.
Our passion for organic gardening has doubled, tripled and quadrupled over the past five years, and our garden has grown accordingly. In that time, the garden has become more than just a food source. It is also a way to connect with neighbors, some of whom also share a passion for gardening and rejoice with us over the first tomato or sweet pepper of the season, or just come to marvel over the ever-changing environment of a vegetable garden. Our children, along with the other kids in the neighborhood, take breaks from playing to rest in the garden. They will grow up with memories of plucking crisp snap peas off vines to nibble, chomping on sweet carnival carrots or feasting on sun-warmed tomatoes. They are also the first to volunteer to help us build garden beds, spread topsoil or compost, water the garden or plant seeds, and are always excited to see the fruits of their labor.
Our family vegetable garden has become a chance to “stop and smell the tomatoes.” Our lives move fast and being in the garden inspires us to be more “present” in our day. Our pulses slow, and we feel gratitude for this experience. We have learned to welcome stormy days with gladness, understanding our garden’s thirst for water, and appreciate the bounty the rain will bring.
It is our wish to share our passion for raised bed organic vegetable gardening with you, so you can experience the joy a garden can bring, whether your garden is made up of a group of raised beds in a backyard, a few pots on a balcony, or Grow Bags in a sunny parking spot in the city. Join us. Talk to us. Be our new neighbor. Kickstartgarden.com is a tool to help your garden become a reality.