testing the color of our thumbs

After four springs living in this house, we finally managed to put up a raised veggie garden bed. I’m not as lazy as that sounds. We first had to salvage this yard, which had been completely torn up from the previous owner’s rottweiler. And Violet is finally at a stage where she won’t pull up seedlings. Graham will, but he’s not as mobile as he’d like and we can catch him long before he makes it to the other side of the lawn.

Part of my reason for wanting to do this is to keep up Violet’s interest in all things outdoors. She already knows that the crape myrtles are the same age as her and the crossvines are the same age as Graham. She already loves bugs, worms, frogs, birds, squirrels and whatever stray wildlife wanders through our yard. Now she checks the garden with me every morning to see what’s new. I bought some tiny plants so she could see some results right away: spinach, swiss chard, strawberry, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. And my friend Nancy gave me some seeds (and lots of advice). Those have sprouted: beans, cucumbers, zucchini and lettuce. In my herb garden I’ve got parsley, mint, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, cilantro and sage.

The other part of my reason for wanting to do this is to get Violet to eat more (or any) vegetables. I imagine her plucking beans and sitting right down on the lawn to eat them, or helping me gather squash to grill for dinner and proudly eating it all. Hmmm… maybe not. Every single other technnique (trick?) has failed. Let’s just see how this works.

What I’m really excited about, though, is the Sunflower House. I got the idea from this book and have been obsessed with it ever since. I cut a six inch deep 9 x 6′ trench in the lawn, leaving a 2′ space for the “door” and filled it with good dirt. We planted 10′ sunflower seeds next to climbing vine seeds. Between those we planted 2′ and 5′ sunflower varieties. Hopefully, the vines will climb the giant sunflower stalks. When they get about 6′ I’ll tie a string beneath the bloom and tie the other end to the sunflower directly across from it. The vines will creep across, creating a “roof”. The shorter sunflowers will fill in the “walls”. How cool will it be for us to spend the hot summer in a house made of flowers? And if it doesn’t work, it cost less than $10 to try.

Now if only I could work in my garden for more than 10 minutes at a time.

5 responses to “testing the color of our thumbs”

  1. leah

    g and i are eagerly awaiting to see if the sunflower house works. we want pictures and updates, please. how much fun!

  2. Kate

    So happy to see you and family digging in the garden! I can’t wait to hear how Violet eats tomatos and green beans from the garden and hangs in her sunflower house!

  3. Sharon Lovejoy

    Violet and Graham are two lucky children, but then I think their parents are lucky too!

    The sunflower house is a wonderful thing to do and a powerful memory for your children. I am so happy you are doing it. I wrote Sunflower Houses & Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots, thanks for what you are doing with your young ones.

    Fondly, Sharon Lovejoy

  4. Sharon Lovejoy

    oh, should have mentioned that I am doing a new book for grown-ups and children called The Green Granny Gospels. Cooking, growing, art, traditions, and more. Hope you will like it.

    Blessings, Sharon

  5. hi, idea » Blog Archive » tepee flower house

    […] is the gardening project I’m the most excited about right now.  As you may recall, last year was the Sunflower House.  It didn’t work out as well as I would’ve liked due to shade, […]

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