Monday, 5 March 2018

Our New Garden

For the past six and bit years our family has been living in a two bedroom apartment. It gets a little tight at times with five people in quite a small space, but for the most part it works pretty well for us - although I'm sure that Ava would tell you we need an extra bedroom so she doesn't have to share with her little sisters!

When we moved here from Australia way back in 2011 we made the shift from a three bedroom house with a relatively large yard. I say "relatively large" because by suburban Australian standards our yard wasn't big, but by Bay Area standards it was massive! We had lots of space for the kids to run around on grass, an undercover porch, an area for outdoor dining, a large cubby house for the kids (complete with a slide), fruit trees, and a big veggie patch. Growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs was something I really enjoyed, and it's one thing that I've really missed with apartment living. 

But all that has just changed...

No, we haven't moved. We're still in our apartment, but after about five years on the waiting list we were offered a plot in our local community garden! You guys, I can't tell you how excited I am to have a garden again! I can't wait to start growing strawberries, leeks, beans, tomatos, garlic... All that good stuff we used to grow in our garden in Australia. 

After a particularly rainy day on Saturday the sun (quite fittingly!) came out on Sunday, so we headed to our new garden to get to work. Our plot was a little overgrown with weeds (especially after all the recent rain) but a few hours of work and it was ready to get planting.

As we dug through our garden we came across all sorts of garden creatures living in the soil and under rocks. The kids were pretty excited every time we found a new creature. First up we found a big juicy grub. Ava was a little freaked out about holding it - even though she was wearing thick leather gloves!

Then we found a gecko! Actually we found a lot of geckos. At first we thought they were worms as they were so long and skinny, but then we spotted the eyes and little tiny legs. Most of the geckos dropped their tails and ran away as soon as we lifted up the rock they were hiding under, but one brave little guy let us pick him up and move him to a safer spot away from our gardening tools. The kids were pretty excited to hold the gecko. Unlike our pet leopard gecko Cookie, this little guy was pretty slippery. I am still surprised that he let the girls hold him and didn't drop his tail.

Lola was a little unsure about holding the gecko (she thought he might have sharp claws like Cookie, or might try to bite her), but after patting him on Ava's hand she plucked up the courage to hold him too. By the way, don't ask me what is going on with Lola's hair here! I have no idea what she did to make it look like this!

Our next garden friend was an earthworm. Like the gecko, we found a lot of these. And that's a good sign that our soil is healthy! Mathilde was worried about the worms getting squished with a shovel or pitchfork so she moved them to another garden bed every chance she got.

We also found a few centipedes and spiders but we kept the kids away from those! Our garden bed is right next to the butterfly garden which is full of flowering plants to attract butterflies and bees. I'm sure we'll be seeing lots more garden creatures as the weather warms up.

Once the weeds were all removed from our garden bed Kim and Ava shook out the bark that had made its way from the path into our soil. Then Ava used a hoe to even out the soil ready for planting.

As we were pulling out weeds we found quite a few tiny strawberry plants hidden in the mess. As strawberries were something we definitely wanted to plant I made sure to put these aside to go back into the garden bed. Ava took on the job of planting the strawberry plants while Lola and Mathilde played on the climbing structure in the park. She also planted some kale cuttings that I took from a huge kale plant that had been in the middle of our garden bed. That thing was taller than me, but had collapsed under its own weight!

All done for the day, we locked up the tools in the tool shed. That's one great thing about the community garden - all of the tools and equipment are provided for us to use. I bought the kids their own gardening gloves, but apart from that everything we need is right there. No need for us to find a place in our apartment for storing watering cans, shovels or hoes. There are also compost bins and a worm farm, so the girls are looking forward to composting food scraps instead of throwing them in the trash like we do now (our building unfortunately doesn't have compost bins). 

We're all so excited about our new garden and can't wait to fill it with plants. Conveniently the garden is located right next to where the kids practice karate in the park so Mathilde and I can tend to our plants while Ava and Lola practice their kicks and punches.

I can't wait to share more of our gardening adventures here on Little Hiccups.

Do you have a veggie garden at home? Or are you part of a community garden like this? I'd love to hear what you grow!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...