This is our second year in the Build It Up program. Last year, my husband and I focused on expanding our number of raised beds. But this year, bolstered by all we learned last year, we decided to be more ambitious and try some new things. We tilled an in-ground bed and constructed semi-permanent fencing. We added drip irrigation. We also grew more food than we ever have and canned a LOT of tomatoes.


My husband installed the drip irrigation system, and it changed the gardening experience for us and our plants. Not only did it save me loads of time, it also helped keep our plants clean and fairly disease free (until August, anyway, when everything got sick.) I will never understand how water dripping out one drop at a time is effective, but it is. It’s magical.


Canning was also new for my husband and me, and it was a teambuilding experience. We have a glass top stove, so we set up a propane tank and burner in our garage to can salsa and pasta sauce. The first time we canned, I woke up at 3 a.m. that night with the realization that I hadn’t added any acid (aka lemon juice) to the pasta sauce before canning it! Needless to say, we ended up freezing that batch.

In this second year, BIU has given me the chance to expand and experiment with my gardening, and I’m grateful for that. I’ll think of BIU with fondness every year, as my garden gets bigger and bigger and eventually takes over our whole yard.