After a few years of unsuccessful plant experiences (e.g. accidentally dehydrating cacti), my first attempt at gardening edibles was in 2009. We had a good-sized city lot where we dedicated a corner of the back yard into a vegetable garden. The soil was solid, heavy clay and we had no idea what we were doing.
A few things grew well, others not so much. Each year we mixed in more and more of our own compost (plus some mushroom compost from a nursery) and eventually the clay transformed into rich dreamy black soil. Our vegetables were spectacular and so we expanded the garden nearly every single year up to an 8′ x 10′ garden plot. Our 4 kale plants were so happy and productive that we were giving it away to every visitor who stopped by.
Although our property backed onto dedicated green space (inhabited by many animals such as skunks, rabbits, and wild turkeys), we never really had an issue with creatures swiping our garden goods so we didn’t bother to put up a fence or barrier. Our main creature concern was how to keep our cat (and other neighbourhood cats) out of this seemingly ideal giant litter box… Because cats are carnivores, their poop can contain parasites and pathogens that are not found in herbivore manure – and we certainly didn’t want our food growing in that. We incorporated a few cat-repelling herbs like lavender, rue and thyme into our garden. Success.
We were absolutely hooked: saving on grocery bills, learning (and teaching our kids) about growing food, improving the quality of our soil, and enjoying the delicious fruits (and veggies) of our labour – plus, slightly less obnoxious grass to grow 😉