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My Own Subversive Garden Plot: raised bed kitchen gardening at the Kelly house

In his Ted Talk “My Subversive Garden Plot” Roger Doiron suggested that gardening is a subversive act, through which sassy little garden gloved rebels can take back control from the industrial food complex and the obesity epidemic and gain food freedom.  When I watched it a couple of years ago, my black thumb was inspired. I highly recommend watching it, here at the end of this post. He is fresh, and funny, and so right.

Now, before I am accused by my dear friends and readers as sounding completely hippie-washed, consider this fact- at the height of the Victory garden movement during World War 2, forty- FORTY-percent of our nation’s food came from kitchen gardens grown in people’s backyards and front porches. This compared to the two percent of today. Yet again, our grandparents had it right! Our nanny always gardened and had the greenest thumb and dirtiest, calloused hands you can imagine. She would wear her Washington State University sweatshirt and “oofta!” Norwegian hat and kneel in her gardens for hours upon hours.

Thus, my own subversive garden plot started humbly, with a vague notion of doing Nanny proud and embodying the Oiser defined notion of southern femininity a la my favorite movie, Steel Magnolias:

Anelle – Then why do you grow them?
Ouiser – Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking   hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules! *burps loudly*

I am not southern, hailing as I do from Washington state but ever since reading the Ya Ya Sisterhood and watching Gone With the Wind I have been attempting to correct the mistaken geography of my birth- just call me the Steel Magnolia of South King County.

With fear of failure, I began small. Troy and I built a beautiful raised bed garden and I researched the internet far and wide to decide how best to plant our beds. The one thing I missed was how to properly use tomato cages, as you will notice in upcoming photos, they were placed upside down. No one told me how to do it right but I am sure our neighbors noticed and chuckled. It wasn’t until Grandma’s Kentucky Derby birthday party that my cousin pointed out the error of my ways and the family had a hearty laugh at my expense. But still, everything grew. And grew, and grew.

Year One had results as intended- tomatoes coming out of my ears. I brought tomatoes, cucumbers, bail, mint and cilantro regularly to my office at work to give away to coworkers because I could not keep up with the canning, freezing and eating. And as Roger predicted, gardening was a “gateway drug” for me to begin canning (link to a guide for a first time canner like me!) and freezing our fresh produce, and it inspired beautiful and delicious home cooked meals.

I can’t wait to break ground on our new garden beds here in the ‘claw. What I can’t fit in my small raised beds- though I plan to fit a lot!- will be added to the Simple Goodness Farm garden. Venise  and I, along with our nanny Heather (of Heather for Happier Living, check her out!) will be partnering on a large produce garden at the farm.

The  next posts in this gardening series will show both mine and the Simple goodness Farm’s  gardens’ “before” pictures and outline our garden plans, as well as give some gardening how-to’s for raised bed, container and traditional tilled bed gardening.

The Drllevich sisters have always had a rebellious streak. Who knew it would one day run green?

Here is the video:

The "glass" behind the garden to glass cocktails, Belinda is the owner of the Happy Camper Cocktail Company, bartender, recipe developer, younger sister and karaoke lover.

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