Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Gidget's Garden story

This is the story of how Gidget's Garden started. It's been a 10 year process that the humans involved did not know was coming when it all began. The people were a 27 year old female marketing director and a 39 year old male network manager who met haphazardly at a business function in San Diego. The woman lived in the Seattle area at the the time and the man in Golden Hill, California. 

They fell madly in love at first sight which is a rare and wonderful thing. After a brief courtship the two decided to marry. The woman, Crystal, did not have a hard time agreeing to move from Seattle to San Diego as the weather in Seattle had been particularly bad for the past 27 years and exceptionally good in San Diego. 

The man, who is now known as Farmer D, told Crystal about all of the amazing architecture and beauty that his neighborhood in Golden Hill had to offer. They set a wedding date for less than four months away and Crystal moved to Golden Hill. 

The "Golden Hill House"

Our house circa 2003

Crystal was madly in love and married Farmer D anyway
And they adopted Sierra and did everything they could to embarrass her just like good parents should. 
Life was great and also crazy, just like the first year of marriage should be. But then things took a turn for the worse.

Sunset San Diego

Crystal got very sick and for a period of time they were worried she might not survive. It was a scary and difficult time but they made the most f it. Crystal embraced a much more holistic lifestyle and they traveled all over whenever they could. They went to Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, France, Mexico, the redwoods, San Francisco, Tacoma, Texas and anywhere they could to get the most out of life while they have it. They made a lot of friends in San Diego and during their travels.

A tiny Crystal on top of Paul Bunyun's right foot. 

Even with all the fun, some days were really hairy, to say the least. 
Their family, friends and acquaintances; old and new, have always been such an incredible blessing. They helped so much during the difficult times.

Another dog joined the family; his name is Fleck. 
Crystal went back to school and became a holistic nutritionist and an herbalist. She found healing with natural food, supplements and a more holistic lifestyle. She went to work in the supplement department at Whole Foods for a couple of years but then developed a severe swelling condition in her leg that prevented her from being on her feet for long periods.

One of Crystal's early attempts at getting people excited about healthier foods. 
It didn't take long to learn that they were content with eating healthfully in their own home without trying to force their new dietary habits on others. However some of their friends and family might argue and say it took way too long.

Crystal contemplating the next steps in San Francisco 

Farmer D ready for whatever comes next in Mexico and in life

Traveling got a little old and too expensive so they settled down into a basic and happy rhythm. Crystal did her best to be a good housewife, a role she suddenly embraced completely after thinking she would always put her marketing career above all else. Farmer D worked hard to support her and their pets in all they wanted to do. He enjoyed some rewards because he rarely had to go shopping and never did his own laundry or cooked family meals. Crystal felt so blessed and loved by Farmer D that she gave him control of the remote at least 95% of the time. On their 5th wedding anniversary, they both agreed that marriage was good.

Crystal's Thanksgiving cake 2009

Gazpacho 2007
Crystal wanted a garden and gave it her best completely ignorant effort with limited success. She knew nothing abut soil, sun, water or nutrients so she didn't stand a chance. She also doubted her ability so she did not meet her potential.

Crystal with a Mr. Lincoln Rose.

And then we adopted Gidget. And Gidget wanted a garden more than anything.
"Actually I want a free range chicken farm but so far no one has listened to me."

So Crystal and Farmer D set out to try this gardening thing again. This time with the right help and armed with the knowledge of their previous mistakes. This is how Gidget's Garden was established in 2010.

Mr Bill Tall of City Farmers Nursery in San Diego - The right help.

City Farmers Nursery
The Garden was really successful after a short while and people would walk by from all around the neighborhood to see it.

Front yard garden 2010

Our first Mammoth sunflower head with a garden gnome named Farmer Bill.
Gidget inspecting our compost.
Soon after we had some of our first success we got bit by the gardening bug and couldn't stop expanding the garden.

Here I am taking credit for a lot of people's hard work in the front garden 2011

Gidget was very concerned about quality since her name was at stake.

Per Gidget's request we used the highest quality organic methods and we had incredible success.  
Front summer garden

Lots of delicious vegetables
One of the best things about Gidget's Garden was the avocado tree in the back yard that produced the biggest and best tasting avocados anyone has ever seen. 
Incredible Reed/Bacon hybrid avocados.
Once there was no more space in the front and after realizing how much the sun shifts throughout the year, Farmer D and Crystal decided to start gardening on the garage roof so they had a staircase built and reinforced the roof.
Poor Fleck is too afraid to climb up but Gidget is having lots of fun.
Rooftop garden phase one
We planted a banana tree next to the stairs

Sierra thinks the rooftop is awesome and the perfect escape from Fleck the scaredy dog.
The garden helped us meet so many new people and I was getting invitations to talk to groups about my gardening experience. I rarely pass up a chance to talk about gardening and everything it has taught me. I also wrote about everything I was doing each step of the way here on this blog.

Talking to Golden Hill community garden members
We met some new non-human friends as well.

Before long we had more vegetables than we knew what to do with and a farmers market started just three blocks away on Saturday mornings so we decided to sell some of our extremely local produce to the people in our neighborhood.

Gidget thinks that is a fine idea and is ready to go.
We had a wonderful time meeting new people and telling them all about our unique and extremely local produce.

Market table

Crystal with Free Spirit the clown who is holding an Armenian cucumber

Two ladies after discovering lemon cucumbers and buying one at Gidget's Garden
We kept growing vegetables and we went to the market every Saturday for a year. 

We were overjoyed when we learned we were expecting a baby at Christmastime in 2011 but then our baby girl came way too early because of genetic abnormalities. She was with us for 56 minutes before going home to God and it was the most incredible hour of our life.

This experience was the most difficult thing we have ever been through together. It brought us closer together and made us realize yet again that life is too short to do anything but live life exactly the way we want. We knew we were working too hard and paying too much to live in gorgeous San Diego, the cost of living is just so high. We had talked about moving to Austin Texas for years and we decided to sell our little urban farm and do just that.
Crystal surprises Farmer D with a vow renewal  under Gidget's avocado tree.
We broke the news to the pets and they took it surprisingly well, especially after hearing that we were going have a much bigger garden in Austin.

Gidget surveys her San Diego garden with the now grown and very productive banana tree behind her one last time. 
Sierra's ready to go to as long as she'll still get belly rubs. 

Fleck is just concerned that he won't be able to sleep in anymore. 
We hit the road.

Driving through west Texas
We've been in Austin for almost a month and we are living in an apartment until we close on our new house and garden. We love it here and have already made some new friends. I don't want to say too much about the new place until it's truly ours but it looks like it will be on April 30th. For now Gidget's Garden consists of 4 geraniums and 22 avocado seeds that have little to no hope of surviving here in Austin. It's pitiful.

Our current pitiful garden.
Gidget is getting very impatient, she's not cut out for apartment living.

"Get me out of here! Where's my chicken farm?"
Thanks for reading about how Gidget's Garden got started and we hope you'll check back to see what the next chapters hold. We can't wait to find out!


  1. I love the story of Gidget's Garden, and I can't wait to see how the coming chapters unfold. You're always in my thoughts and prayers. Sending much, much love and big hugs!

  2. I forgot to say how much I love all of the gorgeous photos! And of course I love the way Gidget wrote about her garden and about Farmer Crystal and Farmer D!

  3. Ohhh Crystal! Wonderful job writing the story of Gidgets Garden. I love you so much. Can't wait to see whats new to come. You're going to need a wider lens!!