Inspire and Discover

July 23, 2010 | 9:07 am

I recently made friends with Katy. She is a friend of a friend. After first meeting, I realized my three-year old would be going to pre-school with her daughter. We scheduled a play date and our gardening discussions began. She grew up in a small rural town, but never experienced agriculture (food production). For some reason, I assume that kids growing up in small town USA are exposed to the benefits of gardening, not true. I introduced her to the Nutrients for Life blog.

Amazingly, she was inspired by the blog and is currently planning her very first garden for next spring.  She has two young girls and sees the benefits of gardening with them. Katy asked that I take a look at her back yard and give approval for where she was planning to put her new garden.  It was perfect; close to a water source and in full sun.

I encouraged her to build a raised-bed garden. A raised-bed garden is simply raising your garden above the current soil level. These gardens are usually rectangular (mine are 4×8) and made with landscape timbers. Other materials include: concrete blocks, bricks or stones. You must invest time and money in building a raised bed, but it should last for years!  The other thing that I LOVE about raised beds is that you have total control over the type of soil you add (top soil and compost).  Garden centers will carry bagged top soil and compost. Also check the classified ads in the newspaper. Often you can buy a truck load and they will deliver to you.

I suggested that she start small with one raised bed. Katy is beginning a new adventure and I want her to taste success as she learns the skill of gardening.  Often we get excited and bite off more than we can chew. It’s much easier to manage a small garden than a large one that takes more time and money.  I look forward to helping Katy and her family as they enter the world of gardening.

While in Katy’s back yard, I asked about the apple tree at the back of the property. She said, “What apple tree?” After living there for a few years, she did not realize she had her very own apple tree! I picked an apple, took a bite and said, “Mmm, these are great!” I think I surprised Katy by my quick actions: picking and eating.

We called the girls to the tree and they had their very first apple picking experience with mommy! It was a great moment! I wish every kid could pick an apple from a tree. It is such a simple task but one few have the opportunity to do.

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