Creating Our Kitchen Garden

Our house on Paris Mountain sits on top of a steep hill. There’s a parking pad extending from the edge of the driveway on one end of the house. Above is a picture of the corner of the parking pad and surrounding garden from Summer 2015. When we first arrived here, there was a very steep drop down from that corner. When it rained, there was a muddy mess under the shade trees, and the running water was eroding the hill.

My husband planted some tomatoes and squash right on that steep hill when we arrived in the spring, which supplemented the food he grew that summer in a garden he started right away down in the field. But during the following winter and spring he labored to create what we call our kitchen garden, and we all pitched in at various stages along the way. He is a great planner, and generally doesn’t start anything until he’s already completed the task in his mind. I have come to greatly admire this trait of his and try my best to emulate his example since I have been known to act without thinking at all. Included in the plan was to run a sprinkler pipe along the hill and attach it to the plumbing.

Planning was the first step, acquiring the raw materials was the next. Aside from the pipe and sprinkler valves, we needed some timber for the boxes, and railroad ties to build a retaining wall. We raked up mountains of leaves in autumn and dumped loads of them to fill in the bottom layer behind the retaining wall. Then came truckloads of dirt from a local landscape supply business, which he and the boys shovelled from his truck into the empty beds for days. We also bought rocks and stepping stones to put the finishing touches in place.

The remainder of the task took some carpentry skills, muscles and sticking to it to have it ready for spring. Honestly my biggest role in the whole effort was to have dinner ready every night. But ever since the garden was finished it has been my job to tend it. It is a part shade part sun garden and I’ve been learning from year to year what grows best. I grow a combination of perennials and annuals, including blueberry bushes that are several years old now.

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