This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
How many of you are thinking about starting a garden this year? Intimidated? I’m with you. I started my first garden last year with my “backyard salad beds” post, and I’m embarrassed to tell you that it was a total and complete failure.
The thing about gardens is that you have to be consistent about watering them. I was consistent about watering my garden …I consistently forgot to water it. I got no lettuce, and my “salad beds” continued to be empty dirt piles in my backyard. So sad. Hey, I can only keep so many things alive at once, and my husband and kids are doing great.
Lets change gears for a second so I can introduce you to my “little” brother Eric. I know we spend a lot of time talking about Adam’s giant family on here, but this is my brother and my only sibling.
As you can plainly see, Eric was blessed with the ability to get a tan and I, sadly, was not.
Eric also has a green thumb. He’s so good at growing stuff that calling it a green thumb is practically an insult. He has a green thumb on steroids….a chartreuse thumb, if you will.
A few years ago Eric and his chartreuse thumb decided to tackle the old horse pen at my parents house and turn it into a garden. Not your normal garden though, he wanted it to be attractive, functional, and nearly maintenance free. And he wanted everything in it to be edible.
And so, the “food forest” was created.
We live in south Texas, where it is CRAZY HOT during the summer (and frequently shorts and t-shirt weather on Christmas). We also happen to not get a lot of rain…we could go all summer without getting a drop. Its not easy to have a garden here. Eric created the food forest in a way that when it rains (or when you give in and finally water it) the water runs downhill and is deposited into the places that need it most. Then he covers everything in an insane amount of mulch to keep the soil moist and safe from the scorching sun.
Things grow great here.
This garden is mostly herbs, fruit trees, and leafy things, but they also have two more giant gardens with all your normal (and some not so normal) stuff.
So for Christmas my brother took pity on my terrible gardening skills and made a garden. A garden that I never have to water! Here is how he did it.
He started with this lonely corner of my backyard…
As you can see from little suited up Levi, it was cold…well, Texas cold.
Then he ordered some GOOD garden soil and had it delivered.
(Elijah was pumped about using his new tractor to move it.)
Eric made two piles of garden soil, spread it, surrounded them with a thick layer of mulch. Then he lined it with rocks we had lying around the yard…standard garden stuff. This is where I would have planted seeds and called it a day, but Eric had better plans.
First he dug a trench and laid in PVC, one arm going to each bed and one that went to the edge of the garden.
Then he added an adapter to each PVC arm and added drip tubing, like so…
Here’s a close-up of the adapter, and he secured the tubing to the ground using cut pieces of wire.
Then the PVC leaving the garden got a hose adapter.
Pretty great right?
It gets better. I can’t even be trusted to remember to turn the water on and off each day, so Eric added a programmable timer to my spigot. I had no idea these things even existed. You can put in what days you want to water, times of day, length of watering, etc. Then you completely forget about it until it’s time to go pick your veggies.
This does mean that I have a hose permanently running through my yard. You could bury it so that you don’t have to look at it, but we live on solid limestone and that just wasn’t going to happen.
(BTW, those are green beans in this bed near the house. I had perfectly spaced out the beans when I planted them, then evidently my kids dug them up and put them all in one hole. Oh well…they’re growing, right?)
Here is what my garden looks like today. It’s still in the beginning stages growth-wise, but everything is coming up beautifully.
In there we have lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, canary melon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, onions, green beans, snow peas, parsley and basil.
Oh, and of course, more mulch. Mulch is the word.
And that, folks is my kind of garden.
Here is a supply list and links for all the items Eric used to make the garden self watering…
- PVC and PVC joints
- 4 way drip irriagation manifold
- 1/4 inch drip tubing
- hose adapter
- 3/4 inch garden hose
- hose splitter with shut-off valves
- 25 psi pressure reducer
- hose thread filter
- DIG digital watering timer
This spring I have teamed up with Miracle Gro to get some outdoor projects done…and to motivate YOU to get some outdoor projects done. With a little bit of prep you can also have a garden that you don’t ever have to think about, even if you don’t have a chartreuse thumbed, overly tan, super helpful, gardening brother. You can follow along with Miracle Gro through the The Gro Project on facebook, get ideas for fun garden projects on pinterest, and check out Miracle-Gro online to access their library of articles and videos full of gardening tips.
Miracle Gro has even offered to throw a BBQ where I invite family and friends over to eat and then trick them into doing work. It’s like they read my mind… people are pretty willing to help you out if you fill them up with ribs and beer beforehand.
Want to see what we’ll be working on? I have my sights set on the area between our house and our garage.
It looks horrid, but I think it has a ton of potential. I see lots of mulch, new plants, stepping stones and bench. Perhaps a few less plastic toys (we’ll just banish them to the backyard as to appear classy). Perfect for a BBQ workfest ;)
I’ll leave you with a motivational video from Miracle Gro … and an adorable picture of Elijah lounging around the garden soil.