Our kids eat a lot. The more they eat, the more it costs us in groceries. We decided that since they have strong backs and good constitutions, they could start offsetting some of the grocery bills by growing their own grub.
Step 1: Building Some Raised Beds.
The beds are made from 2X8 cedar boards and attached at the corners with pallet hinges I got online. The hinges have a 1-2 inch extension on the bottom that loosely anchors it to the ground.
The beds themselves are 4 ft X 8 ft. We put 2 layers of corrugated cardboard under each bed to help prevent weeds/lawn from overtaking the gardens.
Step 2: The Business
It helps to have friends that have trucks. We got a 4:1 mix of garden soil to compost. For the 3 beds, it took 2 loads this size.
Step 3: Kid #1
This is eater # 1. She has the metabolism of a hummingbird. She once ate her weight in pancakes.
Step 4: Kid #2
This is eater # 2. Don't let his diminutive stature fool you. Just before this picture was taken he polished off an entire lasagna, Garfield styles.
Step 5: Enough Sitting Around, Get to It.
We filled the beds in with the soil mix with almost no tears. The occasional accidental plastic shovel to the head, and dirt clod to the face barely slowed them down.
Eater # 1 was pretty excited to use her wheelbarrow. It was the perfect size for her, but it took flippin' ages to fill the beds.
The wheelbarrow was too big for Eater #2, so he resorted to moving the earth by hand. Callused were his fingers by night fall.
Step 6: Beds Filled, Now Fencing.
We have a lot of stupid deer here that have a taste for veggies so a fence was needed. Cedar posts up and page wire attached with fencing staples. The posts were then braced with with 1/8 inch angle iron I got from a junk yard. It worked well. The fencing is nice and tight, and the posts don't move under tension. We wanted to incorporate a couple of our young apple trees into the garden. You can see the makeshift chicken wire protection surrounding them which we removed at the end.
I had a bunch of cedar slab wood that I wanted to use to make a gate. I sketched up the construction of the gate using the program, AutoDAD. It worked well, but you could use whatever you are comfortable with. It turned out not totally crappy.
Step 7: Planting Time.
Eater # 1 is older and more dexterous so was in charge of the smaller seeds. Snap peas, carrots, and kale. Her seed spacing left much to be desired, but I let it slide because I'm a good person.
Although not as coordinated as Eater # 1, Eater #2 has powerful arms and was in charge of digging the rows. For some reason, he works better when wearing denim. He was also in charge of row markers. Adequate job.
Once it got a little warmer, we started transplanting peppers and broccoli. I had to call in a back up supervisor to make sure everything was done to code. Now we wait.
Step 8: 2-3 Months After Planting...
Carrots, kale, beans, peppers, snap peas, and broccoli. It is awesome to watch a kid eat straight out of the garden. It is a real source of pride.
How do you get a kid excited about broccoli? Make her grow it herself!
Eater #2 was so excited that he couldn't even get the broccoli to the house without taking a big dirty bite out of it.
Since the kids are in the garden so much watching things grow and weeding, they also get to learn about some pretty cool critters (Luna moth caterpillar featured here).
Since getting our kids to grow their own food, they seem to have bigger appetites from all the physical labour, are now eating more than before, and our grocery bills have actually increased! Damn, I didn't think this through. Oh well, what are you going to do? I hope you enjoyed reading this instructable as much as I enjoyed doing it! If so, vote for it in the garden contest! Thanks.