oh the sun has been shining in colorado the past couple of days! this tired, glum mama sure needed it. so what a better way to ring in the warm weather (and valentine’s day!) with a new garden bed? bryant of the urban farm co of colorado had […]
oh the sun has been shining in colorado the past couple of days! this tired, glum mama sure needed it. so what a better way to ring in the warm weather (and valentine’s day!) with a new garden bed? bryant of the urban farm co of colorado had contacted me to see if i was interested in trying our family’s hands at growing some organic veggies out of his beds and, duh, i jumped at the chance. there’s always room for more garden, amiright?
the schtick is this: bryant and another worker show up with a pre-made 4′ x 4′ garden bed (ours was cedar. i believe he offers other options depending on what you’re looking for). after finding the best place for the bed in the most optimal sun and shade they level the ground and put down the box. then they bring out mixture of different garbage bins filled with different sorts of soil (bottom, fill, top soil) and fill your bed up. then they attach the strings for the square foot gardening method. voila! it was completely painless to have these gentlemen doing work in my backyard as they were completely professional, knowledgable, and efficient, but they were also a absolute delight to speak to. they also let ramona “help” out and get her hands dirty with them.
while bryant and dylan were putting everything together, they were able to answer some of my questions about the importance of soil when doing a vegetable garden. jp and i have always used the potter mix from large landscaping stores and then amended that with (what we thought) was good stuff from home depot. no siree. turns out, jp and i had been doing it all wrong! no wonder we were always so frustrated with the way our produce turned out.
here’s what bryant told me: soil is the most important thing in growing food. your garden’s yield, pest and disease pressure, and nutrient-density is all determined by the quality of the soil. existing colorado soil is really tough to work with – it’s very clay-ey and takes years and years of amendment to get it just right.
the idea behind the Urban Farm Company raised beds is that they’re filled with a premium organic soil mix that’s “just right” on day one. it’s high in organic matter, has the right macro and micro nutrients, and is teeming with beneficial microbes that are the key to healthy organic soil. it contains over 15 ingredients such as worm castings, compost, biochar, pulverized rock dust, and organic fertilizers — all of which are intended to create a healthy soil ecosystem for plant growth.
phew! well, now that i know all that i’ll certainly be treating the rest of our gardens differently this season. bryant and dylan will come back in late march or so to set us up with planting the seeds. we’ll get more instructions from them about water and care and weeding and then? it’s up to us! the business model bryant has going is genius and, more importantly, extremely necessary. jp and i have been doing garden beds for three seasons now but we really could have used some expert advice on how to make it the best it can be: both for the nutrients within the food we’re growing and for our health. people really should (yes, i said should) be growing their own food and i love seeing passionate companies like the urban farm co making sure it’s happening and accessible.
if you’ve been considering a veggie garden in your yard but don’t want to pull the trigger on the heavy lifting, construction, finding the perfect spot, etc, shoot bryant an email. he’ll help you figure out all the details and do all the dirty work for you!
i’ll be writing about what we grow and cook and eat from this garden so stay tuned! also, there will be a chance later this season to win a late-summer or early fall bed of your own through the urban farm co. best of luck!
your nona, my mama, came to visit this weekend under the guise of helping me decorate your new room. but really, it was time for us girls to hang. we shopped, we dined, we caught up on fall tv, we talked about books, we read books to you, and we got out for some fresh air. we did hang up some artwork in your new bedroom and nona hemmed your closet curtains for me, but mostly it was a girls’ weekend.
the three of us read a lot of books (most of them thoughtfully picked out just for you by nona!) while lounging on your new big-girl bed and nona helped me wrangle you in your two-year-old craziness. she’s taught me a lot about parenting children based on their personality and spirit. you sure are giving me a run for my money with your wildness!
multiple times this weekend i found myself whispering to you that i cannot wait to do this with you when you are older: long lunches, shopping sprees, tv marathons, long walks or hikes with thoughtful conversation. it’s an olson thing — something i got to do with my mother and hers, your namesake. and we’ll carry on the tradition.
i love you, miss ramona marilyn. you are my main lady and you always will be.
readers, if you’re looking for a nice, easy morning hike that’s also great for little ones, i suggest the trading post trail at red rocks. it’s not really a hike but offers beautiful views and a nice loop around the park. it’s a for-sure stop if you’re showing visitors around.
this past weekend we headed to the western slope to join the colorado makers at a harvest party at peak spirits farm distillery. we helped pick some grapes. well, helped until ramona–overzealous for the sweet fruits–fell into the bucket, hit her head, fell onto me pushing me into a thistle bush. ouch. from then on we schmoozed with the good folks from black eye coffee, r.l. linden & co, and basta. other wonderful makers were there including ritual chocolate, dram apothecary, stitch & hammer, western daughters, and crooked stave.
after a tour of the farm, we laid out blankets and enjoyed the bounty: pizza, tasty meats and cheeses, cocktails, beer, and wine. there was music and chatting and some other little ones for ramona to run around with. at one point they were playing on a fertilizer truck and we just laughed, loving the fact that everything on the farm is organic and biodynamic. the colorado makers plan to host monthly gatherings to showcase what is happening and being made by skilled craftspeople around colorado. make sure to follow them on facebook to be notified of upcoming events.
after hotchkiss, we headed back to vail for a weekend with jp’s family. it was wet and cold–definitely the first weekend of fall–so we hung low for most of the time. we did find the most amazing pirate ship playground to take mo to to get her wiggles out. during lovely extended family weekends it’s always nice to steal away for some powerdriver family time.
my parents were recently in town. every time they come to visit we make sure to make a trip up to boulder. usually we time it with the farmers’ market. we extended our stay up there this time, getting in a full late morning and early afternoon of adventures. we’ll most likely never live in boulder (but if we found some land we could afford on the outskirts of it, that might be a different story) but we love taking day trips up there as it has such a different feel than denver. here’s what we did that day that i’d highly suggest for any family with (or without!) little ones:
- start at the boulder creek. dip your toes in it. picnic in the shade of the trees (there’s also many grassy spots for frisbee throwing etc along the banks).
- then walk along the river path down to the boulder farmers’ market (saturday mornings and wednesday evenings). pick up fresh, local, organic produce for your dinner.
- finish up your visit with a refreshing visit to the small splash pad along the pearl street mall. make sure your little one either has a swim diaper or swimsuit as they’re required (or be willing to sacrifice your child’s clothes, as we did!).
what day trips do you take to get outta your town?