It’s the season to get into the garden again! I’m excited because last fall I dipped my toe into the whole edible garden thing and now I’m ready to dive in! I told you all about the blueberries and the vertical garden. Over the winter…I know, if you live in the Northeast United States you’re laughing at me saying winter. Our version in Southern California pales in comparison with what Bostonians deal with. A friend of mine posted pictures of the icicles and ice she scraped off her roof in between storms. I can’t fathom! Well, for me, winter is still cold. We rarely go into the backyard. But this year I fully intended to! In fact, in October I finally planted a veggie box! I did winter crops: lettuces, carrots, kale, leeks, some herbs. I had every intention to use my crops as motivation to keep going out there. However, where I set up the box is perfect for summer but horrible for winter because it gets no sun! Ugh! I am learning though. I’ve learned that blueberries need shade. I need to move both barrels elsewhere. I also learned that where the blueberries currently are is the perfect spot for a garden all year around. I’ll be building a veggie box out there soon. How I got to the conclusion is pretty funny. Everyone told me not to plant tomatoes in the fall. Well, one day I noticed a tomato plant growing in one of the blueberry barrels. I figured it would die by November. Instead it grew and grew and grew and forced me to go out and buy it a cage. It started producing a ton of grape tomatoes. The girls love it and the plant seems to know it. The more they ate, the more the plant produced. Winter had it’s ups and downs of weather. We’d get a few days of 80’s and then it would dip again back to the 60’s. The tomato plant hung on. I wanted to move the barrels to another location but our gardener said not to because the tomato plant was a “volunteer”; meaning it grew on it’s own from bird droppings or the wind blowing. Who knows? But it was happy. So, I let them all be. Then P tells me one day that she was the one who dropped seeds in there. And Dave admitted to pouring out the warm coffee grounds in the barrel every morning. He wanted to keep the plant warm. I still don’t know how much of this is all true or if it really had an effect on the plant but despite freezing temperatures for a few nights, the plant has not only survived but also started producing fruit again! I’m thrilled to take my new found knowledge from the fall and apply to spring and start growing our own food. As much as I’d like to go out and pick my veggies with a stylish country basket and look like I live in the South of France or Italy I fear the reality may be different. What’s been happening is, the girls go out into the garden and start eating the crops right off the plants. On the one hand it’s annoying. On the other….I love it! Sure beats them going into the snack cabinet! Here are a few pictures of our veggie box developing: I replanted some of our herbs that were in other pots. The girls put some seeds in soil. It took forever to see something sprout. Little did I know it was because our light was getting shorter and shorter. Finally things were growing! And then that was it! This is how our little box looks now. Those winter crops are not going to hold on in the coming heat. We’ll see what we can grow next. The best part of the veggie box was watching the girls work together. It’s also been expanding their understanding of food: where it comes from, how it grows, the seasons and why farmers are to be valued in our society.