From the garden...

A Garden Story…

This is how it all happened!  As we had no travel plans for this summer we thought we would put some energy into having a small garden plot.  As always, I went to the library.  I found this amazing book:


I’m a sucker for the revolutionary way to do anything, and when I read that the author had been an efficiency expert in his corporate pre-gardening life I was smitten.  The book has tons of great information – I highly recommend it.  I thought we would start with a simple 2×8 box, but Mr.Martini doesn’t do things by halves, and so we ended up with something more magnificent…


This is exactly why I had children – many hands make light work!


This is exactly why my father-in-law wishes he never had children – having a son has earned him a crazy daughter-in-law who finds endless tasks for him in his “retirement”! (He secretly loves it. It gives him great ammunition for his daily rants.)


After digging out our spot and laying down landscape fabric we built an 8×8 frame using two layers of 8 foot long 2×6 planks.

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We filled the frame with four yards of garden soil (compost, sand, dirt mixture) from the garden centre.  Thank goodness Zio has a utility trailer – that would have been many trips otherwise!


Thank goodness for many hands, and for a beautiful evening to rest and appreciate our labours thus far!


Our flower garden was humming along on it’s own this spring with lupins…






…and the very first poppy of the season…


…plus cosmos, some snapdragons…


…and African daisies…


…so we continued to concentrate our efforts on creating a home for the veggies.  Our giant plot would be too big to maintain from the edges so we built a plank bridge right down the middle, creating two separate sections with 3×7 grids.

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The real square-foot gardening method involves a grid plan where the number of plants is calculated by how much growing space it needs and therefore how many seedlings could grow in each square.  We drew ourselves a map to remember what was where, and over the growing season we have referred to it many times – it is surprisingly easy to forget which is red cabbage and which is savoy or how many butternut squash we actually planted when they are all growing enormously large and every which way!  In the beginning they were so tiny, but filled with promise…  Starting in mid-June we had hot weather, day after day, and so we continued to water the veggie patch faithfully.


In the meantime, the flowers continued to grow in spite of our neglect, and made a happy home for birds and bees and ladybugs…

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As we tended the baby plants they continued to grow.  In preparation for the rain that we expect eventually here in the temperate rainforest of the north west Mr. Martini built a support for the shelter we would need…


The little plants loved the sun and heat that kept on coming, and so we watered every day.

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Meanwhile, the poppies continued to bloom…


…followed by the peonies…


…and the ever-present foxgloves…


…and the kiwi flowers came in abundance…


One morning, while leaving for work, our entire family stopped in amazement to see a hummingbird hanging out in our front garden… I knew I let the yucca grow there for a reason!



Then the biggest surprise of the summer so far: our female kiwi tree, covered in more blossoms than ever before (in spite of our constant neglect, and with no male kiwi in sight) began to make actual kiwis.  Amazing!

 Then the absolute best part of having a garden began – those little plants that we had nurtured and watered (and sung to – thanks Miss G.) were ready to be harvested!  None of my hobbies are more satisfying than growing my own food; it creates a great sense of pride and fulfillment to know we can do it.  (Really, the food grows itself!  But I’ll take some credit when I can.)

First came spinach…

  …followed quickly by the broccoli and the early tomatoes…


…then the savoy cabbage which was very popular as a bug hotel.  Lots of washing required…

The beets are not quite ready, but some of them are getting close!

We have more cucumbers and zucchini than we know what to do with.  Today I found a cookbook at the library with six zucchini recipes.  Phew!


There are so many spaghetti squash as well – this first one I picked from our garden weighs over 9 pounds (about the same as G.Jr. when he was born!)

We are still waiting for the peppers, the pumpkins (started at preschool from seeds!) and the butternut squash.  Also, we optimistically planted a cantaloupe… maybe this will be the summer that we actually get one!  As for the little square-foot garden – well it sure has grown.  And we still have two months to go!  If the vines start coming in the house windows we might worry…


4 thoughts on “A Garden Story…

  1. Wow – you’ve done so well with all those veggies, they look amazing and I’m sure they taste even better. What a great project to get the children involved in, love it!! Also very jealous that you have a kiwi tree that bears fruit!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t take much credit – the warm and sunny weather has been uncharacteristically consistent. We just keep watering and the garden keeps growing! My in-laws are natural gardeners so I have learned a lot from them. Even Nonno is amazed by the kiwis though – they really were a surprise! Now I am looking for squash recipes…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! Your little patch has sure produced lots of yummy stuff! I agree – it is so gratifying to grow your own food. Even though my little “pots of produce” don’t compare to your patch, it’s a thrill to pop out to the garden and pick items for tonight’s dinner salad.
    Good job Martini Fam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We didn’t really expect to grow so much. One zucchini plant has made at least 9 giant zucchini! Now I have to find ways to cook it all. Let me know if you need anything. (Zucchini? Cucumbers? Squash?)


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