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!