2016 was a year of firsts for Stephanie and myself in the yard. We have only been able to kill plants and grow marginal tomatoes up until then. But the summer of 2016 was one in which we dedicated ourselves to the garden. We grew tons of peppers, tomatoes and spinach. We turned the tomatoes into pasta sauce (Jordan does not like raw tomatoes…I know, weird, right?!?). We made jalapeno poppers and our own hot sauces (another blog will follow to show how to do this). And yes, we had so much spinach that the amount of salad that was consumed that summer was borderline psychotic. Now that we understand we are more than plant killers, 2017 will be a pivotal year for us as we need to get more roots in the ground to be more sustainable! So we drew up some schematics and figured out our favorite veggies while scaling at a rate that would be sustainable during soccer season (yes, it is all consuming). We tripled our square footage for 2017 and increased our output to also include broccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes and green peppers. It also was great pricing the 3 components out to ensure we could keep it under budget. Gavin, our son, went to Home Depot with me to get the 2″x 12″ necessary to build the raised beds. We also added some rugged plastic containers to grow our potatoes and sweets in. We began prepping the soil with the compost we had collected from the past year. The picture at the top is at about 70% completion. Everything is where it will be located but we need more soil and amendments and then the seeds in late February/early March. I look forward to updating this blog and sharing the success of these beds and the lessons learned from becoming more sustainable and independent. From this vertical view you can see that we have added 3 beds in hopes of depending on the grocery store less and ourselves more. You can even see the newly built pallet compost pile where much of our nutrients come from. The construction of these raised beds was made much easier since I had the great help of Gavin and Steph during construction. Below you can find a video update on how our raised beds are coming along.