Construction has begun!  Our first raised bed went in today at the home of one of our Food Commander Teens!  His home is in Chuckey, TN of Greene County.  His family is leaving tonight for a family vacation, but did not want to leave until the bed was constructed, filled, and planted!   This is a new beginning for this family, like many others who are involved in our program.  The beginning of growing food to feed their family, the chance to sustain themselves!  What better gift/activity could there be – growing your own food?!


It has been a busy week running around town to get lumber, top soil, mushroom compost, and last minute, or forgotten, seeds.  This young man, Sydney, was very excited to see the big red truck and trailer pull into his drive.  He right away started preparing the pallet garden for strawberries by stapling yard cloth to the bottom.  His younger sister, who is in 3rd grade, and his 3 year old nephew greeted me with excitement!


Sydney finished stapling the cloth down and began helping to screw the sides of the raised bed together.  Sydney and his family decided to make a 4’X10′ bed with a pallet for the strawberries.

raised bed

After constructing the bed, we moved it further down to the site that would become home to many new vegetable plants.  Once we moved it down, we began moving dirt and compost to the bed.  As we began this process, I realized I left one very important tool at the farm – the wheel barrow.  The garden was down an incline, and I was a bit worried to back up any further and not be able to get out, so the work began the hard way – one shovel and bucket at a time. Sydney’s sister and nephew were very happy to help.  The sister filled compost into buckets to be hauled down to the beds, the nephew filled a bit, but had more fun mixing the dirt and compost together once it was in the beds.  Many trips were made, at least 20,000 trips! (well, maybe only 19,999)  I don’t know about Sydney, but after the up and down off the trailer, walking down the hill carrying a scoop shovel full of dirt, and climbing back up, my thighs are quite sore!  This had better count as my work out for the week, and I think I have new muscles now!  Check out the distance to carry the dirt:


The hill probably wasn’t too bad and I probably could have backed up more, but since I was using my dad’s truck, I knew if I went further back I would not be able to get out.  Then everyone knows what would happen at that point – you will never be able to forget about it or be allowed to use the truck or trailer again!  What would I do for the rest of the beds?!  I was just getting started.   Don’t worry about next time, I have made sure to put WHEEL BARROWat the top of my list for the rest of the beds, in big bold letters!  I am sure this will cut my time down drastically too!

After filling the boxes with half mushroom compost and half top soil, planting could finally begin!  Sydney was very excited to put his strawberries, tomato, and pepper plants in.  He even pulled his seeds out and planted them, just to make sure he was putting them in properly before I left.  Two hours later, most of the garden was planted, but maybe 2 square feet.  Sydney has someone who will be coming and watering his plants while he is gone, and cannot wait to get back and see how they are growing.  A few tomato stakes and I think Sydney is all set up.

Who will see the big red truck and trailer pull up next?  What will they put in their garden?  How big will it be?  Will there be any new surprises?  Will I get the truck stuck?  Can I back a trailer?  Stay tuned for future reports!