Garden 2008 Photos- Organic Potager in the works!

arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)March 24, 2008

OK, the garden is ready! Thought I would show you what I have been working on for the last week or two.

We are now planting--- herbs have gone in, and so have carrots, haricot verts, sugar snap peas and lettuces. It is still cool here at night, so we will wait a few weeks to put everything else in.

We have 4 boxes in a row (they are 4'x6') and a 10'x2' box on the side. They get sun during the morning to early afternoon and are shaded in the hot afternoon sun. In the back is my planting desk :) and the compost pile is behind the lattice on the right. All the beds have irrigation pipes running around the inside perimeter. We control waterflow by changing the heads (to spray a 1/4, 1/2 or full circle) and by putting in, or plugging up more heads. These are all connected to the central irrigation timer for our whole yard. Unfortunately EVERYTHING must be irrigated, as we only get rain in the month of February (with intermittent sprinkles in Oct-Jan-- like for a day or two each month!)

My DH's fabulous idea of covering the fence to the right with tons of sunflowers, from 2'-12' high was so great last year, so we have the seeds already in along the fence, and can't wait to see them come up.

The garden is also filled with lots of loved objects-- the chairs from my childhood dining room table, the desk of my fathers that was falling apart, an old found wheelchair (my father has been a paraplegic since age 6, though it was not HIS chair, it makes me think of him!), the sign for my father and husbands CPA practice before they merged with a large practice, other wonderful little things that make it OUR garden!

First photo is of the whole garden, second is a close up of the back, and the third is standing in the back, at the desk, and looking to the garden gate.

We have:

Butter Lettuces (green and red)

Haricot Verts (super skinny french green beans)

Carrots (orange and purple- daughter's pick!)

Sugar snap peas

12 kinds of Heirloom Tomatoes: 1884, Heart of Compassion, Paul Robeson, Earl's Faux, Kellogg's Breakfast, SunGold, Amy's Sugar Gem, Hawaiian Pineapple, Black Ethiopian, Mortgage Lifter and Goose Creek

Pumpkins (the tiny Jack Be Littles, and carving pumpkins)


Yellow Squash


Butternut Squash

Tahitian Squash (a sweet winter squash- new for us this year!)

Watermelon (small Sugar Baby)


Hot Pepper

Sweet Pepper

4 Mini Sweet peppers (red/green, orange, yellow, chocolate)







Italian Parsley


Mint (in a pot so it cannot escape and take over the garden! That's it up close in the first photo!)

and various edible flowers to make it look beautiful- nasturtiums, marigolds, chrysanthemums, chamomile, etc.

Whew! Its work, but is great to see how much the kids love it!

I will try to post monthly photos here so I can chart the progress of the garden! I hope you enjoy it!


Mama to two kids, ages 5 and 9, 1 big dog, 10 chickens and a husband of 14 years!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like nice, rich soil. I would wonder if it gets enough sun for tomatoes and peppers though? I generally don't plant them where they can't get at least 6 hours of sun.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 5:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nice garden area!

I couldn't help but notice the "husband of 14 years" came last on the list after the dog and the chickens! LOL


    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 9:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paulns(NS zone 6a)

Beautiful garden, like an outdoor living room, which is the effect we're striving for with our garden too. Like a European garden too, every square foot cared for.
My second thought was, is there enough light? But then you're in SoCal, what do I know.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

As I said, they get sun from sunrise until early afternoon-- like 2ish and then are shaded by the house. That is actually good, because the afternoon sun can be scorching! This photo was taken at like 6 pm!

Unfortunately, as you can tell, we are very suburban. This means we had very limited choices as to where to put the garden. While I'm sure it would have been better to put it somewhere where it got full sun all day, that is just not an option! But we have been growing here for a few years with no problems, so I guess it is OK! Thanks for the comments!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Yeah, I did put him in at the end, huh? I guess because (most of the time, anyway) I'm not his Mama, so I tried to separate him from that subconsciously, I think!

Wonder what THAT means...... :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lyonsy(10 CA)


I love your space. I live in Southern CA and believe me when summer gets going your toms do need some shade or they will burn up.

I have to of the same wooden chairs in my landscape..that a friend was throwing out.!!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very nice! Just goes to show what can be done in a tiny space. Be sure to post more pics!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wonderful pictures! I can't wait to see the evolution over time ...

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 10:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
josue_grew_what(Zone 6)

Very nice. I cannot tell from the pics, but did you hammer nails in the corners into the blocks or are those deck screws kind of recessed?

I plan to make the exact type of boxes for this season with Cedar, but am just curious on how I might fasten them.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 6:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

They are special (way too expensive) screws that are "self drilling". I recessed them a bit. They were easy to make, but heavy and bulky to move from the "production area" to the garden!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 11:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's amazing how much energy you have with two children, a big dog, 10 chickens and a husband of 14 years! Your creativity is delightful. I'll bet it's the prettiest garden in town.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW, excellent!!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a lovely garden. So well kept. Your
family must love it. When do you plant
in your area? Everything is out in mine.
The only thing left is to find a spot
for lettuce and pole beans. I'm looking
for some containers. I'm out of garden
space. Keep us informed of your progress.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great space! I can't wait to see things progress for you.

I have to ask-- what is the Laineybug sign from? My youngest daughter's name is Elena, and I always call her my Laineybug!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Wow! Thanks for all the sweet comments! It has made my day!

Everything looks so much different now than when I first posted! I will take pics in the next day or two for the monthly update!

Deep South-- We are 9b (so. Calif) and so I plant out in the first week of April mostly. I will put in tomatoes and peppers in the next week (we are in a sheltered valley that gets cool at night-- so I have to wait a bit on those!) This next fall I will put in an official "Winter Garden" and plant peas, carrots, lettuces, that will be able to do very well over the winter/early spring.

SaraBell-- My 5 year old's name is Maclaine and we have always called her a zillion nicknames, the leaders being Miss Priss, and LaineyBug. We had the signs made (both the kids nicknames, our son's name is Alec) for us about 4 years ago. I first hung them in the playroom, but decided I wanted them outside in the garden instead!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 6:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Here is the first update!

First garden bed is the herbs,
Second bed is the squashes/melons
Third bed is corn/future pumpkins
Fourth bed is tomatoes
Long bed on Left is lettuces/carrots/beans/peas

Well, the seeds went in the first week of April. I am trying really hard to do Companion Planting so that we can build a healthy environment by bringing in good bugs and making it *easy* to garden organically!

I have really loved the "Great Garden Companions" book ( )
and have tried to incorporate those ideas into our little potager garden. So far, we have had some seedlings gobbled up by bugs, but the flowers make it so much more aesthetically pleasing that even if it takes a while for their benefit to be noticed it is worth it!

Almost everything here has been started by seed, with the exception of a few of the herbs and some of the flowers which were purchased at our farmer's market from a wonderful small organic grower. A cool thing you may notice is the little bug/bird water bath that is red in the 3rd bed. It is just a glazed pot saucer, but it has a rock that we got at the beach in it (with all the homes carved into it by mussles and other ocean creatures) so that the beneficial insects and other helpers can get water without diving into the big dish!

The other big addition to the garden this last month has been the increase in the compost pile (very back right, behind the lattice)! I cleaned out the chicken coop and added lots of straw, grass clippings and other kitchen scraps, and it will now sit and cook until the fall, when it will be spread out on the (mostly) empty beds. At that point I will again clean out the coop and start over, so that by early spring I have another big pile of compost. So far it has worked very well like that. Love those chickens and their poop!

You will also notice our big dog in these photos, (3.5 year old choc Lab, 105 pounds of muscle and energy!) and our daughter who loves her garden, and loves to pose!

Hope this gives everyone some ideas, inspiration and encouragement-- I have gleaned so much from all of you!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very nice! I see the water line of which you spoke in the first thread, nice idea. I can tell this is going to be a favored thread, following the progress of the garden.

I am a tad bit jealous as we just had a winter storm go through here yesterday (snow, freezing rain the whole bit). I know some people one person will dispute that it can't be a "winter" storm because we are into spring, but trust me, this was a winter storm.

I look forward to next months pictures.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Lots of difference in the photos this month--things really took off.
Roly Polies, though cute, were eating a ton of the seedlings! After much research in finding an organic solution, I found a product called Sluggo Plus that takes care of them with just iron and a bacteria (FYI- this is different from "Sluggo" which just takes care of slugs/snails. The "Sluggo Plus" also takes care of roly polies and earwigs)! After applying that (and replanting!) we have had no further issues.
Something (mice? birds?) were digging up and eating the sunflower seeds that we planted along the fenceline! Twice! We gave up and planted wildflowers and lavender. The flowers really help in bringing in the bees and other good bugs to help control bad bug populations as well as to pollinate our plants.
The tomato and pepper plants arrived! We got them from for the second year in a row. HUGE selection and simply fabulous customer service.
We found a beautiful little ORANGE watermelon plant at the Farmer's Market that we had to have. The flesh is peach colored and I was told it tastes like sorbet! We are looking forward to that one!
Everything is growing well, with the help of every 2 week fertilizing with a Neptune's Harvest fish/kelp fertilizer. This stuff is the best! It has really helped our lemon and lime trees take off this year too!
My DD and I took out the sand from the sandbox and replaced it with soil and compost and planted 72 (!!!) strawberry plants... the kids can't wait!
The blackberries and raspberries are going crazy again this year-- I have attached a photo of the fenceline.
We are already eating lettuce out of the garden on a regular basis-- yeah!

That's about it! Thanks for letting me share!

The back half of the garden-- tomatoes in back box, corn, pumpkins on front box. On left is lettuce, beans, corn, sugar snap peas.

The beautiful compost pile! I can't share it with anyone else but you guys-- everyone thinks I am crazy! It is about 4' deep, 2.5' wide and 3' high. It is covered daily in rose petals from the roses above-- it makes it even more beautiful! I'm a dork!!! :)

The blackberries and raspberries. The whole fenceline isn't in the photo, but it is about 40-50' long.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 2:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gorgeous! Everything looks good enough to eat! :)
Those blackberries / raspberries are amazing!
And your compost is beautiful too.
Neat and tidy and, well, picture perfect!
You've done a splendid job.

~ sweetannie4u

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have a beautiful garden! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 7:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Thanks to all the posters for the generous pats on the family (sisters/parents/friends) can't imagine why I would rather grow my own veggies--- "isn't it just *easier* to buy them???" So I appreciate the understanding here!

I come from a family of accountants and attorneys where everyone is on "billable time" so everything comes out to "how much is my time worth?" By those standards, each tomato might be cheaper if bought at the Farmer's Market, however, the joy I get from watching them grow, the knowledge I am giving to my children about gardening, the connection to the whole process, and the fact that I am growing things organically and sustainably are huge paybacks for me that cannot be measured in "billable time" alone!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your garden is growing beautifully! I guess it takes a gardener to understand a gardener. It really is a joy to watch things grow.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have a lovely garden and I hope you'll continue to post updates as you get through your harvest. It's a true inspiration.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

OK, so it's been a really long time since I posted photos! Thought I would finally share with you guys...

This is July 1, 2008

looking back toward the garden gate

Carrots, hericot verts, lettuces, nasturtium...

Crazy heirloom tomatoes (even though I meant to plant intensly, this was *too* much in this box!)

And this is August 9, 2008
We were on vacation the whole month of July (didn't think through what that would do to my garden) and my lovely neighbors totally overrode the timers and overwatered my tomato plants and so they crashed! The squashes took over, too!

So now we are begining to plant (this week! Whoo hoo for living in Southern Calif!), and I will continue to post updates, hopefully better than I did last year!

Hope you enjoy~~~

Much love,

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 3:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dogridge(7b nc)

Wow, I am so inspired! I just started a potager this spring. All the beds are amended and laid out. Just waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get planting!
Can you share pics of your chicken housing? I am interested in keeping a few backyard chicks as well.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Here are some of our coop:

Our flock under the grapevines:

And some new fluffybutt babies under our broody chicken in October. She was broody (sitting on eggs that were infertile- we don't have a rooster-- a natural instinct that hasn't been bred out of some breeds) so I ordered her some babies to raise. (this was a composite photo I sent to family of my daughter's new chicks, hence the writing)

She is not in the above coop, but in a separate little area to keep the babies away from the big hens for a little while.

Keep in mind that we are doing all of this on an 8,000 square foot suburban lot! If we can have a garden, fruit trees, blackberry/raspberry bushes, grapes, chickens, a huge 105# dog, and 2 very active kids on a piece of property this size, anyone can!!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dogridge(7b nc)

Your coop is adorable. Did you build it yourself? Is the bottom sitting directly on the concrete or do you have a wood bottom? How often do you clean it? I am thinking of doing a small A frame style coop. I will probably have only 2-3 chickens.

It is amazing what can be done on a small lot. I am lucky to have almost 2/3 of an acre. The down side is that it is almost all shady and I don;t want to cut down any more trees. We already removed a number of them to open the house up to more light and provide a sunny spot for veggies.

So far we have planted snow peas, lettuce, arugula, beets, radishes, scallions, kale. I was given a number of raspberry bushes from a friend and now have a 20 ft row. I'm hoping for a few berries, but it will probably be next year before I get much of a crop. I also have a fig tree and plan to put in a peach and an apple tree as well as a bunch of blueberry bushes. They grow very well in our area and tolerate a fair amt of shade.

Our family consists of 2 big dogs, 1 little 4 yo boy, me and my hubby. Off site I also have a horse who provides lots of manure for the garden!

Thanks again for the inspirational photos. I'm looking forward to more!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

We bought the plans online, and had a contractor friend of ours build it. Unfortunantly, the plans were not great, and there are some MAJOR changes I would now make to it before I built another one. Ebay now has a ton of cute small coops. It would be worth it to buy them premade (even with shipping). My mom bought a small wooden children's playhouse and converted it-- it is way cute, too!

The coop is sitting on the concrete, though there is now about 12-16" of straw covering it. We had originally planned to put it on soil, but forgot that the neighbor on that side has a satanic dog that would terrorize our chickens! So it went on the other side of the house on the cement pad. This also prevents any predators from digging under the coop, so I guess its OK. We started off with only 2-3 chickens as well. But we started with bantams (minature chickens, about 1/4 the size) so they would do less destruction to our landscape and so my daughter could more easily hold them. We have been very happy with them, especially the Cochin breed, which are very calm and sweet.

I would STRONGLY suggest you visit and look around there for a while....there is so much fabulous info there. Over 22,000 members across the country and so much knowledge. I spent hours and hours on the site and learned so much before we even got the babies. Another great source of info was

This really spells it all out! Have fun! My daughter has really enjoyed the last few years with our chickens! Here she is reading books to them in the doghouse :)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

Beautiful! Your garden & chicken set-up is marvelous.

Is your broody hen a Cochin? That's nice that you gave her a family to raise, she looks so content. It's got to be a great start for the chicks too.

And a berry question -- how many berries did you originally plant for a 50' row? We have about the same length of fence and I'm buying more Olallieberries today.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Thanks slogal (btw, I am probably less than an hour away from you, in the SYValley!)

Yes, she's a Cochin, and we have more babies coming in about a month........I can't wait!

That fenceline has like 10 plants on it-- 6 are blackberry, 4 are raspberry. The blackberries have done MUCH better for me. I should go up to Cambria and get some Olalieberry bushes (and have some pie at Linn's!).

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

Very pretty down where you live -- we like to go to Solvang and visit PCPA in the summer and Village Spinning and Weaving anytime!

Do you buy your chicks locally from a feed store or do you mail order? Mail order seems like a tough start for those little chicks but I guess that's how they get to the feed stores as well.

I ended up buying one more ollalieberry and three thornless boysenberries upon the recommendation at one of the local nurseries. She still has a selection of berries but other places are sold out. According to another nursery, ollalieberries were in short supply this season so call ahead before you make the drive up. And have a slice of Raspberry-Rhubarb pie for me at Linn's!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 3:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arwmommy(9b So. Calif.)

Wow, it was wonderful to find this post from so long ago, as I am the OP!!

So it is a couple of years later, and the garden is at the start of the season again and I am back on GardenWeb! Today my daughter harvested the volunteer potatoes that have been growing the last few months (no doubt from our compost!). She was thrilled......she looks so much older than the photos from a couple of years ago.....sigh.

I don't have photos of the garden yet, as there are just sprouts and some tomato plants just started, but will try to update from time to time again this year. I did include a copy of our garden plan for the year, I know some of the text may be hard to read, so from the blue box on the left, going clockwise:

Chair/Hose (an old chair I have over the spigot that I wrap the hose up onto)

Worm Bin


Carrots, celery, lettuce, pole beans

Potting table

Tomato boxes (see box at right for variety)

Blue circle: bird bath (there is also a bird feeder just to the right that isn't on the map)

Poatoes, anna swartz squash, chives, golden beets

Basil, hot pepper, sweet pepper, chard, parsley, oregano, thyme and sage in the middle.

Mint in pot

Compost bins

With flowers as the yellow band on the back and the far right.

Happy Spring and Planting to you all.....


    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

arw...I love reading this thread and following your updates. They are very inspiring. Your daughter, too, is certainly growing up and what a memorable childhood for her. I also have new raised beds, a small flock of hens, and reside in suburbia. The diversity of your garden is wonderful, especially since you incorporate a variety of plants, animals, and garden items. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. They give us ideas, and hope when we need it :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Okay, arwMommy, how about a 2014 update? :-)

You gave me some advice about lasagna layering in a new raised bed I was working with a few years back and I just did a search to refresh my memory about how to fill new beds, because we just had to rebuild all our raised beds, and found your link to this thread in that thread.

What a lovely garden you have. Everything looks so healthy and neat and clean! What's been going on in the past two years? Anything new? :-)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 6:22PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Got tomatoes?
The organic Earthbox tomatoes have been coming in nicely...
Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study fin
"Clear differences between organic and non-organic...
Roundup got sprayed on my organic garden.. need advice
Anyone know the extents of danger on this happening...
My Onion Seedlings are not standing upright!!
I started my onion seeds March 1st and the germination...
Sponsored Products
Tommy Bahama Fortuna Outdoor Rug
$99.00 | FRONTGATE
Gardening Wall Clock
$36.00 | Bellacor
The House Gardener Hardcover
$24.99 | Dot & Bo
Nourison Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Nourison Rugs Home and Garden Pavilion Black
Home Depot
Clara 60-inch Outdoor Green Bench Cushion with Sunbrella
Hudson Valley Lighting | Garden City 1 Light Wall Sconce
$376.00 | YLighting
Kichler Olde Brick Hammered Roof Landscape Light
Lamps Plus
24'' Butterfly Berry Wreath
$39.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™