Growing food has been romanticized to the point of no return. We tend to lean towards the practical side of this increasingly popular hobby, but the truth is that all of the us are completely in love with plants. Building gardens is indeed a romantic endeavor for us and we strive to share that magic with as many people as possible.
We love a garden with arches covered with tomatoes or butterfly peavine, potted herbs spilling over and flowers in every color of the rainbow peaking out of every corner. These are the details that make a garden a magical space to experience. Growing food at home is not supposed to be entirely practical, it's also going to be beautiful and inspiring.
Of course all of the magical elements are rooted in practicality because after all there is an end goal. In fact, the motivation and energy that comes from having an end goal is what powers us to work so hard and be so vigilant in a vegetable garden. Soil is heavy, the sun on our backs burns and pests are relentless. In order to succeed it is undeniable that we have to work for it.
One of the questions we answer frequently is "How much garden space do I need to feed my family?" That question is tricky, but over time we've learned how to answer it, for the most part. The answer is going to be different for everyone and it's based on your end goal. Do you want to harvest a salad every other day? Do you want to grow the veggies your kids enjoying eating? Do you want them to experience harvesting their own meals on a regular basis? Is your dream garden a place where you'd like to sit in the evenings with a cup of tea or glass of wine? Are you sitting in the garden alone or with friends?
Knowing answers to questions like these helps you figure out how much garden you should invest in. Other factors to consider are how much experience you have and how much time and resources you are going to dedicate to it.
If you are new to gardening we may suggest a realistic goal like growing all of your own herbs; wouldn't it be nice to stop buying those little plastic boxes of herbs from the grocery store? You just need 1 raised bed or a collection pots to grow herbs. Next on the list would be salad greens, which are easy, but have a short growing season. Someone with a standard 4'x8' bed can easily grow all of their herbs and enough greens to harvest a big salad a couple of times per week. Now let's say your garden goals include growing tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers because your kids love to snack on those. Tomatoes have big thirsty root system and require serious trellising; they are a long term crop that is planted at the beginning of the season and unless you get unlucky with a disease they'll stay put in your garden until the very end of the season. Ideally tomatoes would get planted in their own bed or large individual pots. Carrots are very slow to germinate, need consistent moisture and don't complete well with other plants, so ideally they'd get their own bed or at least be paired with something compatible. In general it's nice to start with at least 2 different beds so that you can manage crops according to their different needs. Two beds also present the possibility of adding an arch between them which is a really easy way to add both beauty and functionality to a garden. An arch is a great solution for trellising tomatoes and can also work with so many different plants like cucumbers, pumpkins, butterfly peavine and other flowering vines.
If your dream garden has arches, a bird fountain, enough beds to grow most of your fresh vegetable needs and a cozy place to sit and watch all of the butterflies that visit daily, now you are speaking our language! A garden like this is busy, there is always something to do, always something to eat and always something to photograph. A garden like this will change so much from month to month as quick crops of lettuce and cilantro go into meals and flowers go into bouquets all over the house. A bed of broccoli will bloom from one week to the next and you'll make broccoli soup, broccoli quiche, broccoli for school lunch and broccoli in the freezer for later. In a big garden with multiple beds you can grow long term crops like leeks, sweet potatoes and carrots. During the peak of the growing season you'll find something ready for dinner every day. You'll have flowers everywhere and with them pollinators galore. The flip side of course is that during the seasonal transitions you'll have your hands full trying to keep up with mulching, turning soil and planting.
Maybe that's were we come in! Our team has many years of experience designing, building and maintaining edible gardens in South Florida. We're super excited about building large gardens with a lot of magic touches like arches and winding paths lined with wildflowers. This year we've embraced a line of metal planters made by Vego Gardens™️. They are made of a metal blend that is especially rust resistant, but they are also enameled and have a rubber edging that makes them super smooth and safe. They recently released special shapes like corners and U-shaped beds which we are very much looking forward to incorporating into garden designs soon.
One of the things that qualifies us most for planting and maintaining vegetable gardens is our farming background and organic plant nursery where all of our plants are born from seed. You could say we are kind of obsessed with growing the healthiest starter plants possible. Through experience we have come to understand that successful gardening starts with robust plants. If they are given a strong start in life they are much more likely to carry that momentum into maturity. They are more likely to survive transplant shock as well as pest and fertility issues. We stand by the quality of our designs, our team, our service and our plants!
If anyone can help you grow a productive and beautiful home garden it's us!