Messy but infinitely productive veggie and herb garden at “The Patiolab”

IF you go to the Press page you’ll learn that my brother David and I destroyed my parent’s yard. We had 1/5th of an acre in a suburban cul-de-sac to work with.

We moved the fence up to create more backyard, built 500+SF of garden beds, and smothered out grass. We volunteered for an Urban Harvest fruit tree sale and bought about 15 trees, then hid them on the side of the house until my Dad didn’t completely hate the idea of the trees. I barely told my parents about the 2,000 gallon cistern and the community worksphop scheduled for its installation. We had a great turn out!

My Dad was on his computer in his bedroom for most of this – and I’m not sure if we was unaware of what we were doing or just intensely patient. But one day it was POURING and he ran down and said, “let’s check the tank!” My heart filled with joy and we got soaked looking at the level of rainwater in the new tank. It was working perfectly!!

My Mom griped about the chickens for a while and has since learned how to take care of them. Now that Walmart-shopping woman won’t eat eggs from anywhere else.

Below I have photos from the first plants I ever grew, and I apologize for the random order as I get my entire photo library organized over here. Anyhow, I didn’t grow up with farmers – I grew up in the suburbs of San Jose then Houston, and a brief stint between in Eagle Pass taught me more about ranching than farming.

Below is me being completely amazed, at the beginning of a true obsession. I’ve learned that it’s a lot of work at certain points, but do you know how easy it can be to grow your own food if you have the right ingredients?

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MORINGA.
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Roselle leaves (the best cranberry+lemon salad green you’ll ever taste, zero shelf life), Zee Best okra (again. best, spineless), backyard eggs.
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Results of the “save the bees” flower seed mix from Botanical Interests. Wabash Feed usually stocks this. So bouquet-worthy.
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The very feminine, sprouting Chayote squash.
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Crap(py hoses) happen/s.
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Moringa leaves.
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If you’re a hippy gardener, you’ll try framing a garden bed out with logs. This worked alright! The weeds were bad on the edges, but I could’ve set up a thicker layer of boxes at the outset to avoid this.
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Once a neighbor heard we were growing food, he brought some of his home-grown spinach. BEST. EVER. Nothing like a gift of something you grew.
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The most lovely tree in the spring: multi-grafted, low-chill stone fruits.

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