I made it my mission this year to show Pea where her food comes from and to start teaching her how to grow her own. So with the help of Pinterest and a fabulous friend with a high tunnel and a flock of chickens, Pea and I built ourselves a series of hoop houses.
Turns out, building a hoop house is a fabulous project for a pre-schooler. We started in the spring with giant wood slabs that we picked up from a lumber mill out East End Road. In total sisters are doing it for themselves
fashion, Pea and I loaded up Hunter's pick up with slabs, tied them down, attached a little red flag to the longest of them, then carefully drove them home.
With the help of a girlfriend we cut the slabs down to size and screwed them together to make four raised beds. We used power tools because pre-school girls need to know that circular saws and cordless drills are for girls, too.
A few weeks later, we borrowed a friend's truck and drove out to Anchor Point Greenhouse for ground cover and top soil. With soil in our beds, we got to work covering them up. I put Pea to work hammering rebar into the ground. I felt like such an empowering mom until I watched her smack herself in the forehead with the backend of a hammer. One giant goose egg and a life lesson later, we bent PVC pipe onto our rebar then covered our now-hooped beds with 6mil plastic. Voila, little greenhouses!
Here were the plans we followed
. Instead of one giant low tunnel, we built four covered raised beds.
In the meantime, with the help of Pinterest, Pea and I built a seed starting rack. It was a fun way to teach her about measuring (and sawing, and drilling, and cursing). Our rack was huge and it took up most of our dining room but that was just fine by us. We put seeds into trays, put them on the shelves, hung full spectrum shop lights and watched our little plants grow.
We also built a compost bin. Again with the help of Pinterest, we found plans for a simple pallet composter. We managed to sweet talk our way into four free wood pallets and using a cordless drill and a tube of zip ties, we made ourselves a composter.
Fast forward to the beginning of July...the kale. My God the kale. We planted a lot of kale. Honestly, I didn't think this whole garden thing would work out. Thought it would take us a few years to figure it out. Thought I'd have to give Pea the "if at first you don't succeed" speech. Instead we have buckets of kale.
For fun, I built a vertical potato bin. I thought it would be neat to grow potatoes up rather than down. And it was neat...until our potatoes actually started growing. Now I find myself actively hunting for soil to shovel into my bin.
Should have thought that through. Pinterest made it look so easy! I now travel with a bucket in the back of my car in case I find some nice dirt to throw on top of my potato plants. Pea's getting pretty good at spotting unattended piles of dirt from the back seat of the car. I used to look for moose along the side of the road. Not so much anymore.
Yesterday, as Pea and I were shoveling even more dirt into our potato bin, I peered over to my composter and I saw that it was steaming. My compost pile was actually steaming!!!
Never mind the buckets of kale, the ill-conceived potato bin and the one single red strawberry...I HAVE A STEAMY COMPOST! I feel like a badass. Like the Clint Eastwood of gardening. Heck yea!