“If you build it – the food will grow.”
We moved into our new home in December of this year. The previous owners were avid gardeners and had planted various vegetables including asparagus, tomatoes, and basil in the front garden. In the backyard they had 3 massive garden beds that had completely grown over and were a total mess. Since we have been working with various garden and CSA projects recently I knew I wanted to keep the gardens but not in their current form. And so my flamingo garden was born!
The first thing we had to decide is where we wanted the new garden. Our backyard has a clay tennis court that wasn’t taken care of and the previous owners put their garden beds right in the middle of that tennis court. Since we have a VERY active small child we decided we wanted to turn the tennis court into a field for the child to run and play sports on when he gets older. A small section on the corner of the yard was already fenced off and contained an ugly tan garden shed. We knew it was the perfect place for my garden.
So I took the wood and cinder blocks from the existing garden beds and moved them over by the tan shed to plot out my garden. The wood and cinder blocks were surprisingly heavy – so thats about as far as I got that day.
I am a novice gardener so I decided I needed to read a lot of gardening books so I would be prepared for spring planting. In addition, the new garden area needed some sprucing up to get the aesthetic I was looking for in a garden – because you know it needed to be cute! We live in Florida so I wanted to give the garden a tropical beach feel. I started with the shed. It desperately needed a paint job and the obvious choice was turquoise of course.
I taped up the edges of the shed with painters tape and actually spray painted the whole shed turquoise. My brother made fun of me for about 2 weeks over the spray paint but it was quick, easy and I think had great results! I also felt the wood around the garden bed needed a bit of sprucing up so I spray painted them (outside only) a lime green color.
Next we needed to dig up the grass that was in the middle of the garden space. For this I needed my husband’s help because lets be honest I don’t really do manual labor. 🙂 Small child loved this part and insisted on helping his daddy. I went and got flamingos for the garden (because every florida garden NEEDS a flamingo) and a hammock so I could sit and watch the boys work.
So soil composition for Florida gardeners is a complicated topic. After reading several gardening books I was and am still confused. Since this is our first attempt at gardening and we have the boards to create a somewhat raised bed we decided to add organic raised bed soil to our garden. We added about 10 bags of natures care organic raised bed soil. We will see how this works once we start planting!
Finally it was time to add details to really make the garden look special. I added some plants on each side of the garden shed, a spring wreath to the door, a statue one of my colleagues gave me to remind me my mother is watching us from heaven and two plastic adirondack chairs with cushions to add some seating for when we want to sit and watch our garden grow.
This weekend we will finally be ready to start planting!!!
Happy planting and eating!
~The Gardening Dietitian
I don’t know where in Florida you live, but I recently visited the Kitchen Garden at the Florida Botanical Garden in Largo, which has lots of raised beds with very happy veggies growing! You might get some inspiration!
Hi Carolee – thanks for the comment! Largo is on the other coast (we are on the east coast of Florida) but that is something we should definitely check out soon! 🙂 I am hoping our veggies will like their new home after we plant this weekend.