Oma’s Garden

It was a great honor and pleasure to be asked by my Mother to be completely responsible for the designing and planting of her garden this Fall. This was a tremendous honor, commissioned to plant a garden for the woman who taught me the majority of the things I know on the subject, I was given a blank slate and creative “carte-blanc”. Her garden had been neglected since her vacation in June and following that she had slipped and broken her leg. My Mother had also taken a long-term substituting assignment (pre- kindergarten special ed, non-verbal), so her plate was full. I’m not sure how she does it with only one leg, but she does. I got the privilege to return to the place I had worked through my anxiety many times, it was a place of peace for me. The garden also held some wonderful childhood memories for me, playing GI Joes and Star Wars in the mounds of dirt, it was a forest for my imagination. After clearing the debris and preparing the soil, I was finally given a list for planting! The adventure begins! We normally have our garden planted by this time of year, however, the weather had a different timetable. The local nursery that specializes in Non-GMO and Organic veggies had very limited supply. So we decided to start our endeavor with 2 garden beds.

The timetable ended up being serendipitous, I was confronted with many personal and financial challenges and needed the time to focus on the things that I could control instead of the overwhelming complications that I was being faced with personally. I have often found that helping someone else coupled with digging my hands into the soil reduce my stress level and afford me the time to think. So while in the face of adversity, I delved into something I could control, my Mom’s garden.

Step One…For our first garden bed I planned on a mini keyhole garden, using a different self composting garden concept I read about a year ago. To start I dug a hole about a foot into the soil beneath the raised bed.


Step two… I filled the bottom with large stones and then smaller ones on top of it, this will allow the nutrient rich water to run into the soil and feed the plant roots.


Step three… I drilled a lot of holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage and insect migration.


After placing the bucket in the hole, I mounded the dirt around the top, creating a slope. This also assists in run off and root nutrition.


The bucket will now serve as a compost!!! It has it’s own water source and so the plants will be watered from the surface and underneath!

I love watching things begin to take shape.

We completed the salad box, it has kale, spinach and three kinds of lettuce. Adding flowers to add color and the marigolds are planted to keep the potato bugs at bay. We are keeping the soil wet and the veggies covered until it drops below 90 degrees…


We also began work on the pepper bed today! We added colorful peppers to the garden and color coded them with matching tomato cages. Any guesses what color these are?


This bed has been the most challenging, this wall will soon be covered with cucumbers, acorn squash, snap peas and other edible yummy food, however not all the varieties we are looking for are available yet.


Much more coming soon!



  1. Patricia Sadler

    It is a creative and functional concept…and equally important to this gardener, it looks appealing and (dare I say) cool! Jonathan, I’m over the top happy with your work. Thank you!!

  2. Tim Berlin

    Hey Jon,
    You are doing some very creative and interesting things with your gardening, I’m enjoying reading you work.
    I have something I want to share with you. I have been in Conversation with (your mom) and she suggested I get in touch with you because I’m gardening as well, what is the best way to reach you?
    Tim Berlin
    Text / call 828 964-2614


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