Erin Harris of House on Hill Road: Show & Tell Garden Tour

Shari Altman

Erin Harris in her garden
Let's head to Derby country today to visit Erin's lovely Kentucky garden. Erin writes the blog House on Hill Road, which is filled with inspiring DIY projects and beautiful photos. Come along as Erin takes us on a tour of her garden.

Fatty building the raised beds
Tell us a little about your family and your garden.

I live in Louisville, Kentucky, with my husband, Fatty, and our two daughters, Jane and Kate. We're lucky to have a nice-sized yard within the city limits, so we're trying our hand at growing as much produce as we can. This year we added two raised beds to the two we built last year, thus doubling our growing space. Our front yard was nicely landscaped by previous owners and we're slowly but surely adding perennials and more flowers to the backyard as well.

Mesclun mix
Why do you garden? Did you grow up with a garden?

I garden for the food. It's as simple as that. I love that we can plant the foods we like to eat and grow them organically. Fatty and I enjoy eating all kinds of foods and are excited to share that passion with our children. The girls are much more likely to try and eat something that we've grown. I come by it naturally -- my mother grew up on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin and grew a large kitchen garden when I was growing up.

Potatoes in tubs
How do your children help with the day-to-day aspects of the garden?

Right now while the girls are still in school, most of the day-to-day garden duties fall on me. They both helped plant the garden and our container flowers this year, and once school is out, they'll help with the watering, the weeding, and the harvesting. I find that they love any chance to get their hands dirty.

One of my favorite parts about gardening is that they get to know which plant is what. I can send them out back for basil or rosemary and they always come back with the right herb.

Peas on the DIY trellis
Tell us about a DIY garden project you've taken on recently and love.

Fatty and I built our first two raised beds last year, and it took the better part of an evening. This year, we built two more in less than an hour. I also built a trellis for the peas out of some bamboo and wire. It was super-simple, but still exciting.

Tomato seedlings
What's on your must-grow list this year?

We've already planted lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots in the raised beds. I also started two tubs of potatoes, and this weekend, I picked up some organic tomato seedlings along with an heirloom eggplant. Later this week, I hope to add cucumbers, various peppers, and lots of herbs to round out the beds. I'd also like to plant some perennials that would bloom later in the summer -- maybe rudbeckia and asters.

Getting ready to fill the new beds with soil
What garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?

You Grow Girl is a great forum for inspiration and advice. Beyond that, I get most of my gardening inspiration from my Flickr contacts that have gardens themselves.

Backyard peonies
Any must-have gardening books?

I really enjoyed reading Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler. Her book gave me the inspiration to make the gardener's hand scrub that I posted on my blog. It's been a fantastic remedy to the constant dirty hands.

Vegetable garden
Thank you for sharing your garden with us, Erin!

Erin Harris is a Midwestern girl with a can-do attitude. She started crafting at a young age and really thinks that seventh-grade home ec was the best class she ever took. She sews, knits, embroiders, takes photos, cooks, or procrastinates each day. Erin likes bicycles with baskets, vintage pottery, fresh flowers, piles of fabric, and green shoes.

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