DescriptionMy son Ivan, age 13, asked to build a garden at the start of quarantine. He is an avid runner and follows many Kenyan athletes who have farms on their property in Kenya and was inspired by this to build one of his own.
We live in Haworth, NJ, and have a lot of deer, squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. We knew a big part of this garden was going to involve building a fence to keep the critters out. After looking at some designs we found online we came up with a plan to build the garden in a spot that used to contain a swing set.
I have a lot of experience with building, so with my guidance and assistance, Ivan did a majority of the work in constructing the beds and the fence.
Once filled with dirt, we went to the local garden shop to buy plants (it was a little late in the season to plant seeds). Since this is our first attempt we really had no idea what to get, so we let Ivan and his sister pick out the plants. We got A LOT of tomatoes, some celery, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, corn, strawberries, blueberries, and herbs. We have also started regrowing romaine from cut-offs we bought in the supermarket and garlic that we sprouted in our kitchen.
I'm sure we are going to make a lot of mistakes, but we are OK with that. We are enjoying the process so far and look forward to learning from our mistakes and improving with each year!
-Jason, Ivan's dad
In Ivan’s own words:
The garden was part of the science stem fair project. I like the idea of gardens because many of the elite African runners I follow also have gardens or farms. I looked at pictures with my dad on the computer. We have a lot of deer by our house so we had to build a tall fence that is strong. We found one we really liked and he figured out how to build it. He taught me how to use a miter saw, nail gun, and post hole digger.
Unfolding the fencing was very hard. It was also very hard to find garden materials since a lot of stores were sold out. And it was very hot when digging the holes. Now we have a lot of chipmunks stealing our strawberries!
I like to look every day and see how much things have grown. I have a lot of pictures from the beginning and I can't believe how big some plants are!
My advice if if you are using power tools be careful and make sure you have safety equipment. Also, I would have less of the same plants that way I could have more different foods to try.
-Story contributed by Ivan and Jason I.