Intro to Edible Gardening

by Kira @ Her New Leaf on April 25, 2011

With the push toward healthy eating and sustainability, what could be fresher or local-er than produce from your own yard? Southern California not only has great weather for surfers, but also for vegetables. Edible gardening has become super popular on the blog-o-sphere so once I decided I wanted my own garden, there was definitely no lack of inspiration (check out the bottom of this post for some of my favorite sources). We really had no reason not to start our own edible garden!

Since we live in a fairly urban area and weren’t sure of the quality of our soil, we decided to build a raised bed. There are tons of plans online, we mostly used these plans from Sunset. These plans are great because they are based on the lengths that lumber comes in at the stores. We picked the cheapest untreated lumber, which at our store was douglas fir. We had our pieces cut to length at the Depot, so all we had to was screw them together in our driveway. And by “we,” I mean my personal carpenter.

Our yard is really sloped so we had to dig out quite a bit of dirt underneath to make it level-ish. Then, with virtually no complaining from me, we carried it into place in our front yard. That’s a lie. It was really heavy. We stapled some weed control fabric to the bottom and then filled in with organic potting soil. Then we planted!

We planted a combination of easy-to-grow veggies, fruits, and herbs, both from seeds and starter plants from Home Depot. Here’s a full list, if you’re interested:

  • Starters:
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Cilantro & marigolds (to attract pollinators)
  • From seeds:
  • Cucumbers
  • Jalapeños
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Snap peas
  • Basil
  • Chives & green onions (to deter pests)

Three weeks later, here’s how my garden grows:

Clockwise from top left: snap pea sprout, lots-o-spinach, baby strawberry, blossoming tomato

The lettuces prefer cool weather so I’m not sure how much longer they’ll thrive here, but everything else I think should do pretty well in the California summer.

Tiny lettuce, basil, and chive sprouts

I may have accidentally spilled an entire packet of basil seeds. I should probably thin out some of those basil seedlings.

Here are my favorite online resources for gardening:

As with all the topics I blog about, I’m certainly no expert on edible gardening. Do you have any tips for me? Are you growing any edibles this season?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcus April 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Pollinators = bees. You’re bringing bees into my yard! Bees!

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Kira@hernewleaf May 2, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Don’t be such a curmudgeon – bees are endangered! They need us!!

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joanne April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

love your raised bed! i am jealous, been wanting a garden for the last couple years. i must get me one of those personal carpenters!! good luck on the garden!

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Kira@hernewleaf May 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

It really wasn’t that tough, Jo – I bet I coulda done it by myself, even without my personal carpenter!

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Courtney April 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Thanks for the links to urban/small space gardening sites! I want to do this but continually doubt the possibility because of a) my tiny deck and b) crappy Boston weather.
As a side note: I just started doing c2-5k and logging my food intake on myPlate…I’m not trying to be you, but you do inspire me. Apparently I need fun internet graphics to motivate me. :)

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Kira@hernewleaf April 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Definitely check out those blogs, Court – they have tons of ideas for tiny balconies and even fire escapes! And I need to get back into running again, true be told – I haven’t run in about six weeks! You need to inspire me!

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Evey April 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I am super jealous of your awesome yard and your new garden! I’ll def have to come down there and see it now that it’s prettier. I don’t have an outside garden, but I just planted cherry tomatoes and jalapenos in my aerogarden! Might be some salsa in our futures.

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Kira@hernewleaf May 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm

My jalapenos haven’t done anything yet, I may try sprouting my seeds inside. You can come visit my veggie garden whenever you want!

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Kristin April 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Are you kidding me?!?! You guys are awesome! What a fun project to undertake together.

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Morgan April 26, 2011 at 4:48 am

Very impressive garden! Great job – I’ve been bugging for a raised bed, but since it’s just about impossible this year with our craptackular backyard, looks like I have to wait. I’ll be taking notes from your experience.

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Layla April 26, 2011 at 6:50 am

Wonderful! We are definitely planting a garden once we have our own place. I’m excited to see the progress of yours!

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Lori April 26, 2011 at 7:31 am

Congrats on the veggie babies! We won’t have any this year, but the herbs are going strong!

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Suz April 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Way cool, Kir!! I bought some tomato and pepper plants today, but have not planted them yet. Too busy planting flowers…

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Kelly May 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I’ve just popped over from the wedding bee boards!

I’m very jealous of your veggie garden! I wish I had a yard so I could grow things (or even a window that got enough sun to grow an herb garden– I’m not picky!). But, yours looks great!

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Ashley May 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Mmmmm fresh tomatoes! Is there anything better? Good luck with this project – it looks like it’s off to a great start!

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Kira@hernewleaf May 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The tomato plants have tons of flowers on them now – I can’t wait for the maters to start growing! Thanks for stopping by!

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Anon May 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Hi, I am just catching up, and also considering a Boston-LA move. :) Do you feel settled in now? Are you happy you decided to go?

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Anni May 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

If we had a yard (or a balcony, for that matter) I’d be all over this! I can’t wait to see how it turns out for you.

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Loribeth May 6, 2011 at 9:33 am

We’re doing raised gardens too! We bought ours as a kit at Home Depot for $57–came with the wood and the screws and caps for the corners.

My dad saw them last night, and he said, “doesn’t look like you’ll be able to grow much in those,” but what he doesn’t understand is everything can be planted closer together, because you don’t have to leave room to walk between the plants.

Can’t wait to have fresh veggies this year!!!

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