It was a simple square plot, 2 long by 2 railroad ties wide, 8 inches deep.
We filled the back of our old green Silverado pickup truck (on a day it was running) with topsoil purchased from Wolfinbarger’s in Chino, California. Shovelful after shovelful, the boys and my husband emptied the truck bed by filling the wheelbarrow with the crumbly, chocolaty brown mixture that would magically grow bumper crops of all things vegetable, which up to that point, our sons avoided eating.
It took all weekend, but by the end of it we had a proper vegetable plot. Making mud was our son’s favorite part. Kenny, who was only two, had to be brought in to the house screaming because he didn’t understand why he had to take a bath. That first season, every day the boys would run outside with arms waving to chase away the rabbits and squirrels and gophers. Trevor was in charge of the noise and Kenny carried the big green watering can.
Through this interaction with “their” tomatoes and peppers and onions the seeds of eating well took root. The knowledge of seasons and connection to the natural world was established. Giving thanks for the bounty of the table took on special meaning.
Nan Sterman, author of the marvelous California Gardener's Guide, Volume II, wrote an excellent piece about gardening with edibles for the San Diego Union-Tribune this weekend. Please link to it at http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080803/news_1hs03kitgars.html
Nan's book, pictured on the left, is worth the price just for that brilliant cover photograph of a Matalija Poppy. Published by Cool Springs Press, it's clear text is a blueprint for success in Southern California. If it isn't on the shelf of your favorite bookseller, it is easy to order off the Internet through Amazon.com at http://http//www.amazon.com/California-Gardeners-Guide-II/dp/1591862671
Wolfinbarger’s is still in business! You can link to see the pricing on the best soil and amendments in this area at http://www.ofwolfinbargerinc.com/