I am so proud of Barbara’s first year growing an Abundance Garden. I feel that after her first year in the course that I’ve lost a student and gained a friend! She was inquisitive and loved to share her garden with me, and today she allowed me to share her garden with you! Barbara’s first year cinder block garden is quite the beautiful Abundance Garden, it’s so beautiful that we have already featured it from earlier in the season! Now that her growing season is finished we checked back with her to find out how her garden went. The Abundance Garden relies on raised beds. Our favorite material is cinder blocks in these gardens as you can move the garden bed if need be and have more space for planting in the holes. Barbara’s cinder block garden was quite the beauty. Read about her garden below!
Barbara, what were some of your gardening triumphs?
I had no tomato worms! Amazing!! There was great productivity for such a small area. Abundance in cucumbers, beans, tomatoes….in fact, everything was quite abundant (except the plants that didn’t make it, due to operator error-see below)
How has your garden affected those around you?
Myself and my husband, Jeff, learned the difference between contained space/well-made soil/organic supplementation and just using the ground soil to grow plants and even with supplementation, seeing the dramatic difference between Cinder Block Garden produce and in the ground produce.
I shared pictures of the garden to anyone who would show interest. My physician’s husband is a stay-at-home-dad and he especially liked the concept and the idea. Many people did.
I think our son and daughter were really impressed…I’m sure they’ll be doing this next year.
What has been your favorite produce out of the garden?
We eat Kale in our smoothies almost everyday. Next season I’m adding a 4×8 Cinder Block Garden JUST for greens! And the CELERY! OMG! People can’t believe I grew celery—and that it was so beautiful! For the first time in 40 years I really got good carrots (they’ll be even more beautiful and large next year) The herbs in the holes of the cinder block garden are doing great! The Basil, Rosemary, Dill, Lemon Verbena, Parsley, Oregano are all fantastic!
What was your greatest challenge?
I lost the cauliflower because it was too crowded and shaded by broccoli The cabbage got worms and destroyed before I realized what was going on. :-/ Keeping up with each particular pest was a little consuming. Once I realized that it was spider mites on the cucumbers, I had quite the problem to eradicate. But each remedy has worked! My biggest pests have been: roly-poly bugs and grasshoppers which I still can’t figure out how to capture—Jeff says “get a net”! What a simple solution for next year.
One challenge was putting too much in each section! I’ll be building 2 more 4×8 sections for next year (plus a separate section just for the garlic—that will be a wooden box about 12’x8’…This year was not so good for garlic and the onion maggots were awful! So we’re going to cut down on the amount of garlic and do it in a container just to see how much easier and more robust it can be—we’ll keep you posted!)
What are you thinking of growing next year?
A whole section just for Kale, Swiss Chard and maybe Lettuce. And More Beets!! More Celery! More Carrots!! I’d like to have more variety in the garden as well as room for cabbage. I grew one for our neighbor’s 3rd grader—Put it in a separate pot next to the Cinder Block Garden—It thrived! I might do a bunch in their own pots—I think keeping it isolated but well supervised helped it do really well.
Next season I will NOT put sunflowers in the holes of the cinder block garden. They were so BIG and got in the way. I thought they were a dwarf variety—maybe so, but for my space and ease, not a good idea—but they were gorgeous.
Cheers! To Lynn and her Green Heart and dirty fingers 🙂
It’s incredible to see how far Barbara has come. In the beginning she jokingly called the garden a test between her and her husbands gardening methods. Today her garden is better than either of us could have imagined. I am so proud of her! Each of our students have beautiful gardens to share with the world. It is our mission to empower people by teaching them the life skill of growing a high performance garden. This next season I look forward to teaching many new gardeners how to boost their productivity and enjoy the best harvest possible. If you would like to begin learning this lifechanging gardening system take a peek at our Abundance Garden Online Course or read the High Performance Gardening eBook. There is no time like the fall season to prep your beds for the coming spring. Beginning your gardening education today is the best time.
I look forward to helping you and many other new gardeners boost their productivity in enjoyable high performance garden systems, like the Abundance Garden System.
Until next time, may your garden be easy, fun, productive and always organic.