The Concrete Farmer

I’ve had many failures at growing vegetables in my yard. Our soil up the hill in Laguna Beach is pure clay with chunks of sandstone. We are near an open space wilderness so hungry critters abound–everything from deer and bunnies to gophers and slugs. Our house is at about 1,000 feet elevation, so the weather shifts can be extreme. And I don’t dare add up how much money I have spent on seeds, soil amendments, plants, containers, etc. over the years. (I know, excuses, excuses….)
But I can’t help myself. I’m so envious of my friends who are growing their own veggies. (Here’s one of their blogs: Fresh from Nancy’s Garden.) And, I grew up in the farm country of southern Illinois, for pete’s sake!
Also, there’s a relatively new group in our small town called Transition Laguna, and they sponsor all sorts of garden-related, grow-your-own food events. I want to join in–especially the yummy potlucks–but feel like a fraud since I have nothing to contribute. A few sprigs of mint, at best.
So I have a new plan. I’m going to build a raised garden bed on top of a concrete patio–about 40 square feet–and fill it with great soil. This tidy concrete bed was built by a guy named Ranger Man, who shared how he did it on his blog, SHTF. I know concrete isn’t the most organic or attractive material, but it seems to work very well for certain situations. We are already pretty paved over, and if we had a sunny plot of land, I don’t think I would use these.
Now that I’ve shared this plan, I need to get out of my pajamas and get started. I will post about my progress, even though it doesn’t promise to be too pretty, as least for a while. Any tips or suggestions from fellow concrete gardeners would be appreciated!
(Yes, I’m nervous!)

Oh, and since I’m going to be a farmer soon, I wanted to recommend a highly entertaining and inspiring documentary (on Netflix), called The Real Dirt About Farmer John. I’ve seen a lot of the grow-your-own food, corn is bad, go vegan docs (and I have loved them all!), but this one tells a wild story. There’s a reason it has all those awards on the cover!

UPDATE: Here’s my concrete garden! Click HERE to see how I did it and HERE to see how it turned out.

2 thoughts on “The Concrete Farmer

  1. ha, i always thought it was for PETE'S sake!
    i know you can do it! just put on those overalls and dig in, it's not called laguna dirt for nothin' ya know!

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