The drought in Southern California is serious and so is that monthly water bill! So, we decided last year to give our backyard a makeover that would cut down on water usage and provide a way to grow some of our own food. We turned the water off to the lawn (which seemed to have an unquenchable thirst for water) and removed it. Then, we drew up a design for raised garden beds with benches around the top. Hubby built four of them. We stained and sealed them a dark brown to match our patio cover and to help make the wood last longer. Hubby ran pipes to each one so we could later hook up drip lines. We bought a LOT of pre-mixed garden soil from a local bulk supplier and moved it in several trailer loads and then lots and lots of wheelbarrow loads to the back yard to fill the beds.
Salsa did a great job of supervising...
Then came the fun part...planting. We planted a tomato in the center of each bed and added little pyramid trellis' that hubby made. I think they look really cute.
The benches around the sides work great to sit on and to set things down like plants, tools, seeds and even an ice cold beer!
It was fun to see the garden grow and take shape. And, Salsa thought it was fun every time we went out to check on it and spend time in the yard. She runs around in a state of complete joy whenever we go out there.
It was so exciting every time we saw a baby squash or other food start growing!
We realized that gardening will take a lot of learning and practice as we didn't have the best of luck. But, we did manage to grow a few things we could eat. Radishes were one of the things we had a bit of success with...
Zucchini was our most successful crop. In fact, at one point we had trouble keeping up with eating them as fast as they were growing. And, they seemed to get large rather quickly.
We harvested a few tomatoes here and there through the summer and fall. And, in the fall there were a few butternuts that we got to enjoy. They were delicious! The marigolds we planted to help keep some kinds of insects away did really well. They were pretty all summer long.
I've always got herbs growing in my half wine barrels all year 'round. They always do best during the summer though. I love the flavors of fresh herbs! They really bump the dishes we cook to a whole new level.
We had fun shopping at the garden center in the fall for new things to plant. We got onions, garlic, beets, cabbage, and a couple new herbs.
Look, they're growing! So exciting!
And, it's about time to plant some more things in our garden for spring and summer.
Oh, and the water bill? It's a lot less since we took out all that grass! Yay!
We still have more to do in order to finish the yard as a whole but we hope to make a lot of progress this spring. I can't wait 'til it's done to see how it all turns out and to share pictures. Stay tuned!