This past weekend Michael and I spent a good full day, with the help of some very talented friends, reconstructing the derelict raised bed that adorns his parents yard. They have an amazing backyard, complete with several types of grandfatherly trees and loaded with hundreds of fireflies come summer. In the middle of the yard a small, 7'x7', raised bed was completely overgrown and needing some love. So, we decided to implement Riha Family Farm and set to work ripping out the weeds and putting in some veggies.
The weeds were relentless, some of them went down to what seemed like forever, and we ended up axing out a few of the tougher ones. After weeding and turning some of the topsoil back into the bed, we added a good amount of manure (thanks to Scotty's mom's horses) and made the soil perfect for growing some hearty veggies. As we planted we supplemented each hole with some loose potting soil, to give a little more O2 to the plant roots. Once everything was planted we topped it off with some rich organic mulch that will help to maintain the moisture in the bed.
The bed now holds 4 different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, dark green zucchini, 4 varieties of hot peppers, one sweet pepper, cilantro, basil, lavender, purple sage, rosemary, Italian parsley, marigolds, nasturtiums, and some pretty purple flowers that I couldn't resist. Hopefully Michael's parents will reap a great bounty off the plot for the rest of the summer!
Projects like these reaffirm for me that we can complement the food system in a really positive way if we approach the idea with the right tools, and the right friends! This idea of small space farming, manageable to two people who work full time, is a continuing project for me. Round one, done.