The Accidental Success of Our 4 x 8 Garden


Last year, we decided to build a 4 x 8 garden in our back yard. Knowing absolutely nothing about growing food, it was a big endeavor. We followed all the steps Google told us to take and successfully planted cucumber, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, strawberries, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and cantaloupe. We even got our little one involved in the planting process which made it even more fun.Year One Garden

After a few weeks, we had a garden full of green leaves and the beginnings of vegetable sprouts. That’s where it ended. We had successfully planted seedlings, gotten the plants to grow to huge heights but never produced any food. There was something wrong with our soil that prevented the fruit and vegetables from ripening. At the end of the season, we had a giant salad bowl for the bugs and birds in our area.

Over the winter, we used our 4 x 8 as a compost pile. Any fruits, vegetables, coffee, or egg shells went straight into our giant dirt pit. We tilled the ground repeatedly to try and revitalize the soil and had every intention of starting over in the spring. We were certain that it would work this year


As many of you know, it is hard to manage time properly with a little one. Despite our best intentions, we weren’t able to plant anything in time before it got too hot outside. We were okay knowing that we could spend another few months growing a giant compost pile then plant again in the fall.

In April, we went to Europe for a couple weeks on a wonderful family vacation. Apparently, we got a lot of rain at our house during our time away. When we got home, our 4 x 8 dirt pile had a ridiculous amount of green sprouting out of it. Yes, some plants were weeds, but the majority were actual fruits and vegetables. We pulled the Year Two gardenweeds to see what was growing and were surprised to find potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, and strawberry plants. I guess our composting efforts paid off!

So far, we have pulled some of the red potatoes and are waiting for our giant tomatoes to turn red before we pull those too. Our little one is enjoying the experience as well. His favorite weekend activity is helping mama and dad pull weeds and see if any fruits or vegetables can be brought in to eat. At the end of the day, that is all I care about.

We originally started the 4 x 8 to create a family activity, and it has become just that. Ideally, we wouldn’t need to purchase produce at the store at all and maybe someday, we will get to that point. For now, I am satisfied with our accidental garden success.