Eat This

Just Add Water

Their most popular size is clearly for beginners–12′ by 16′.  Depending on the site, it costs around $5500.  Not cheap, but you know, people in Westchester spend their money on far stupider things.  German cars and spa tubs leap to mind.  I think that is a relatively small sum to pay for a garden that’s expertly designed, that will eliminate most headaches like marauding groundhogs before they become headaches, and that will allow suburban children to experience the ineffable miracle of the soil.

A vegetable garden the size of mine–40 by 52–would cost $40,000.  That is more money than I ever could or would spend on my garden, but it’s not as if my garden were free, either.  I spent money to have it plowed initially and to have several truckloads of the world’s weediest manure hauled in.  Then I spent $4000 to have my neighbor Rick build me the world’s cutest garden shed.  Then I spent $3200 on a 4-foot high cedar fence.  Admittedly, this was a luxury I indulged in just for the sake of beauty and the ease of calling up Adirondak Fence and saying, YOU use the post-hole digger. 

Unfortunately, I then had to spend $160 on rabbit fencing for the bottom few inches of the fence, laboriously applied by me.  It did keep out the groundhogs, but not the rabbits, which this year ATE MY OKRA!!!!  This enrages me, because I just love the occasional meal out of that old Paul Prudhomme cookbook Louisiana Kitchen.  So, next spring, again, I will be out there with hammer, wire cutters, and shovel, fiddling with the fencing and in a very bad mood, because I’d rather be planting parsnips.

Okay, fine, I am nothing if not motivated.  But I could see how such struggles with the infrastructure could drive the less committed away. 

So insta-gardens?  Fantastic idea, if it gets more people gardening.  The people at Teich report that existing customers are now calling them back and asking them to enlarge their gardens.

There are worse ways to begin a movement.

Posted by on September 28, 2007 at 4:32 am, in the category Eat This.
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13 responses to “Just Add Water”

  1. susan harris says:

    Okay, dammit, you’ve worn me down. Your pro-veg campaign got support this week from an amazing family I interviewed about their 95 percent self-sufficiency food-wise. THey plucked sweet potatoes for me from the ground and I cooked them up AND their greens, which were scrumptious. Even to a noncook, that was all very cool.
    So until I read this I was thinking I’d plant some veggies where my back lawn used to be, but you’ve reminded me I have deer now, and foxes. Maybe rabbits would appear, too, if I grew food.
    But undaunted, I’m suddenly inspired to rip out my little oval fenced-in front lawn next spring and do it there, where the critters are all helpful. BEcome one of those radical front-yard farmers.

  2. bev says:

    Or, if you’re like me with minimal sun, you can grow tomatoes and bush beans, cukes,peppers and other goodies in large pots. I use half barrels for the standard size tomatoes, smaller pots for the others.

  3. Well, Susan, I don’t mean to be a bully. But it’s really fun to plant a small seed in spring, watch it explode into a giant plant in summer, and then eat something really, really good in fall.

  4. Heather says:

    Oh, how exciting! I’ll just watch Susan do it. My citrus trees are plenty for me.

    Actually, I have considered growing some tomatoes but my yard is so small and I do need some grass for the dog to pee on. However, we’re building a deck this fall, so I’m thinking half-barrels a la Bev to grow some tomatoes for making salsa. Need to figure out how to do that successfully in Houston. Otherwise it will get ripped out and another lime tree in its spot. I contend that you can have too many tomatoes but you can’t have too many margaritas.

  5. Pamela says:

    I don’t understand how it can be enjoyable to have a company do all of the planning, digging and planting. It isn’t gardening if you don’t get dirty.

  6. Pamela, you’re right of course.

    Except that harvesting is fun, even when you’ve done none of the digging.

  7. Pamela says:

    It sounds like a bundle of money to move the Farmers’ Market to your backyard.

  8. Peter Hoh says:

    Hey, if some people are willing to pay $40,000 for a garden, perhaps they’d be willing to pay me $20 an hour to do their weeding.

  9. Peter, $ 20 bucks an hour ?
    You’re hired.
    When do you want to come over ?

    That’s a bargain in my ‘hood.

  10. Reading Dirt says:

    Isn’t that just 21st century America all over?

    See, back in the Pleistocene, when I was a kid, if you wanted to collect rocks, you got a bucket and a shovel and you went rock hounding. Now you go to a bookstore or toy store for an “earth explorer” kit that comes complete with rocks that you “excavate” out of artificial clay.

    if you wanted to do yoga, you put on some loose clothing or a leotard and you did yoga on the floor with the other hip chicks. Today? You whip out the credit card and with the other chic chics stock up on yoga clothes, yoga mats, yoga balls, yoga cork bricks, trippy organic yoga mat bags, yoga videos…

    Same thing with gardening. When I was a kid, if you wanted a vegetable garden, you rototilled up a corner of the yard and you planted your seeds. Now you spend a fortune on pre-prepared raised bed kits, bags of special soil, garden books (okay, THOSE go without saying), garden decorations, garden videos…

    No matter what organic, earth-friendly thing we want to do, we can now buy a truckload of “natural,” “earth-friendly” products to go with it. What a world.

  11. Peter Hoh says:

    Looks like the raised beds are made with 2x cedar lumber. Wonder how many years they get out of them before they need to be replaced.

  12. Ed Bruske says:

    And as we’ve seen in some jurisdiction, there are firms that will come out and plant your crops, then come back and maintain them. This is perfect for Americans who are too busy working to have any meaningful contact with their surroundings…

  13. Freeman says:

    You make my day!