Like many, I am very enthusiastic about eating organically and cooking seasonally. I recently took the ultimate step in making my food local— I planted a beautiful vegetable garden in my front yard.
I have always wanted to have a home garden, but have had little faith in my green thumb, so I was so excited when my close friend Kimberly introduced me to Lauri Kranz Gladstein of Edible Gardens LA. Lauri came and met with me at my house and I instantly knew she was my answer. She is a chic mother of two who helps people create and maintain their own organic vegetable gardens, and she also teaches gardening at local schools. She works with chefs and has access to the best organic fruits and veggies out there.
The first thing we did was keep a sun log to make sure the spot we chose for the garden had the proper amount of light. Next, we built two large planters made out of untreated cedar, three boards high. We put gopher wire down, filled the planters with organic soil that Lauri picked and put in a drip irrigation system.
Then it was time to plant! Tanner and I spent a Saturday with Lauri planting all of our winter vegetables. He loved it and really got his hands dirty and helped us, which made my day. I want the garden to be something the whole family participates in and tends to. We planted cauliflower, broccoli, beets, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, onions, snap peas, purple podded shelling peas, fava beans, carrots, arugula, celery, fennel, artichokes, and heirloom lettuce. We waited a week and added our favorite herbs: lemon verbena, thyme, sage, African basil, oregano, mint, dill, parsley, marjoram, chives, cilantro, and wildflowers. We also planted a fig tree, lemon tree, and two orange trees nearby.
Every week Lauri comes and checks in on the garden. We fill a basket with veggies we harvested that are ready to eat. She’s teaching us how to maintain it ourselves but for now I love having her help. I asked Laurie to share some tips with Rip+Tan:
Choose the garden location that receives the most hours of sun per day.
One of the most important elements in the success of any garden is the quality of the soil. Laurie’s favorite soil is E.B. Stone’s Edna’s Best Potting Soil. If you are planting your garden in the ground, have a soil test performed by a laboratory for the most accurate results. You can then amend your soil with the needed nutrients. I recommend the double dig method of amending the soil for optimum soil health. You can also build raised beds and fill them with good organic soil and avoid everything mentioned above.
Too little and too much water can both kill a garden. Soil should be watered and then allowed to dry before being watered again.
Use only organic methods and use those as sparingly as possible. Even organic pest controls have implications in the health of your garden as well as impacting beneficial bugs and insects such as bees. Try to use only your hands whenever possible. I have been known to pick caterpillars off of tender broccoli and kale leaves for hours.
Seedlings and Seeds
Choose the healthiest seedlings you can find and grow only what is truly in season. Order seed catalogs and have fun choosing all kinds of vegetables and flowers to grow. Flowers are not only beautiful but crucial in attracting beneficial bugs and insects to your garden.
Now that we have our garden, I'm very predictably obsessed with finding chic garden accessories- from watering cans to gloves. I've included photos of some of my favorites and I hope you like them as much as I do. And for those of you who live in Los Angeles, Lauri's favorite places to shop are Sunset Nursery in Silver Lake and Bountiful Gardens in Lake View Terrace. xxJKE