The Perfect Birthday Gift – A New Vegetable Garden

New Vegetable Garden

Have you been faced with the dilemma of what to give someone special for their birthday?  Well, the stakes are even higher when it is a ‘milestone’ birthday.  My siblings and I were faced with this very dilemma in deciding what to give our mother, (Pastor Farmer) of Double S Farms, for her 70th birthday.

After some deliberation, we decided upon building her a vegetable garden.

Now for those of you who are familiar with my blog, you may recall that my mother already has a nice vegetable garden….

Perfect Birthday Gift

Perfect Birthday Gift

But, for those of you who enjoy vegetable gardening; don’t you sometimes wish that you had more space to grow vegetables?

We knew that our mother did, even though she never mentioned it.  So, we got to work planning on what we needed to build a new one.

My brother-in-law, built the first garden by himself…

Perfect Birthday Gift

For the new garden, my brother-in-law and I planned on what we would need and where the new garden should be placed.

Actually, my part was easy.  I just figured out where to locate the garden and how many cubic yards of compost we would need.

Well, the date was set when we would all congregate at Double S Farms and start building the new vegetable garden.

My mother had NO idea we were coming or what we were going to do.

Early on a Saturday morning we showed up with shovels, rakes, picks, drills and wheelbarrows.

My mother wasn’t there when we all arrived.  She was at the local farmer’s market – at this point, she was still clueless that anything was going on.

Perfect Birthday Gift

First, my other brother-in-law and my brother hammered in stakes so that we knew where to remove the grass.

Perfect Birthday Gift

Perfect Birthday Gift

Then came the fun part (just kidding).  Digging out the grass.  Actually, it wasn’t too bad because the grass had been soaked two days before so that it was easier to dig out.

Perfect Birthday Gift

There were a couple of rocks that we used a pick to get out.

It has been years since I have used a pickax, as you can probably tell from how I’m holding it.

5-year old nephew

Soon, we had the grass removed and a muddy area left behind, which was absolutely irresistible to my 5-year old nephew, Finley.

my mother

At this point, my mother returned home from the farmer’s market and was surprised to see all of our cars parked out in front of her house.

She was quite shocked when she came into the backyard and saw us working on her birthday present.  She was so happy.  She then got busy making us food, including the cinnamon chip bread that she had just bought at the farmer’s market.

After a break for lunch (pizza), we began to add some loads of composted leaves and soon, it was time to start putting up the sides.

Sodapop and the chicken

Sodapop and the chickens took time to come over and see what we were doing.

'naked neck' chicken

This is Francie, and this is how she is supposed to look – she is a ‘naked neck’ chicken.


From time to time, we would take small breaks to play with Sodapop, who would drop her ball at your feet and wait hopefully for someone to throw it.


Of course, there was also time for the cousins to play catch too.

At this point, we had to quit for the day because it was almost dinner time. We all decided to come back the next Saturday to finish the project.

I went home and while my husband cleaned our mud-crusted boots, I put a load of very dirty clothes into the washing machine. Please come back for Part Two and see the end result of our labors 🙂

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
4 replies
  1. rosiemomma
    rosiemomma says:

    How blessed you mother is! I'm so excited to see the finished product. Any chance of a step by step tutorial? I would love to know what kind of tubing you use to arch over the bed. Really enjoy your blog!

  2. HolleyGarden
    HolleyGarden says:

    Can't wait to see the finished project! Her first vegetable bed is beautiful. I can imagine how excited she is to have more room for veggies. This reminded me of the time we cousins got together and painted my grandmother's house for her. Of course she was pleased, but we had a blast doing it. One of my favorite memories. That pic of Finley jumping into the mud is adorable!

Comments are closed.