From the front of the house
It’s that time of year where I can’t help but go outside every day to garden, even when there is nothing to do. Some days I’ll go outside and just stand there staring at the garden, hoping to see it grow before my eyes. I went out of town for two nights, and first thing I did upon getting home was the walk-around, excitedly ooing and ahhing over any slight progress and growth. The most exciting thing going on at the moment are the strawberries, I go out there every day and count the buds, adding up all the strawberries that will probably never make it into my kitchen only 5 feet away.
Future delicious strawberries!
It’s amazing how far the space has come in the past few weeks. The string beans have germinated along with the lettuce, delicata squash and cabbage. My tomato seedlings are coming along and all the transplants from school are in the ground.
The string beans are up! One of the varieties I planted are white!
Good sign finding nice fat worms in the soil!
I can’t wait to be able to go outside every day and pick fresh ingredients to use in my meals! Thanks again so much to those people who donated to my kickstarter campaign to get my gardening going! Not too much longer and I’ll have tons of goodies for you!
Stevia! Have you ever tasted a fresh stevia leaf? So incredibly sweet I can’t wait to use it in baking and tea.
For those of you still deciding on whether or not you should do a garden this year, the answer is HELL YES and you need to get started now! Nearly every garden and grocery store offers plant starts and potting soil right outside or in the front of the store.
Here is an excerpt from my eBook “Shut Up and Eat: A Foodie’s Guide to Growing, Cooking and Eating Food” to get you going! To buy the full version click here!
A picture of my gorgeous fuchsias for good measure.
Chapter Two: Getting Started In the Garden
On the subject of gardening there are countless books one could read. There are books dedicated solely to organic gardening and ones for composting, growing herbs, hydroponics, green house growing and the list goes on. I’ve been studying Urban Agriculture for almost two years now, and even with all the information that I’ve gained, I still have an insane amount of things to learn.
If gardening could be simplified into a checklist, then this would be it. Gardening for each person is different depending on what kind of soil you have, your climate and even what you want to grow. However, despite all these things, from start to finish, gardening is all the same. Let’s do this.
- Think about where you can grow – Survey your space and start looking at how much sun hits your yard, kitchen or back porch throughout the day. If you have a big back yard and want to grow outside, there are a few things to keep in mind. Feel the soil and make sure that it’s suitable first – if you cannot stick your fingers into the ground or easily crumble a chunk in your hand, then it may be best to go the other route of raised beds or container growing. A lot of time, in more urban settings, raised beds are a good idea because the soil just hasn’t been conditioned for vegetable growing. Instead look at any spot a container or pot can be set, or even where you could build a little garden bed. I love the bookshelf idea; it’s so easy and just takes finding the right one at goodwill. Costs less money than buying the materials, plus it’s always great to repurpose! If you’re growing inside, look for spots you can set up a table by a sunny window. Lots of herbs are easy to grow inside – as long as they get a good few hours of sun each day and plenty of water!
- Make a plan – Once you know where you want to grow, coming up with a little plan is a great way to keep it all together. Things may change throughout the process, but having a little drawing or even scribbles on a sheet of paper will keep you a bit saner. You can also figure where pots, beds and containers are going, and plan for a border planting if you wish.
- Go shopping – Once you have an idea of where you want to grow, get all you need! Buy that bookshelf from goodwill, some raw materials for a bed and collect tubs and pots. Most places will sell plant starts so that all you have to do is transplant into the ground, garden bed or bigger pot. That is probably the best idea for smaller gardens, since the process of starting seeds inside and getting them outside can be a bit more extensive. Don’t let this stop you from trying to start seeds! Browse the seed section at your local garden store and pick some of your favorite stuff to try out. Look into places where you can get good, organic soil and compost as well.
- Get planting – sow your seeds, pot up your tomatoes and set up your awesome kitchen herb garden. Certain seeds like lettuces, carrots and beets are best direct-seeded into the ground. Seed packets also have directions on the back that tell you when to sow them and how. Make sure you read up!
- Tend to your garden – Don’t forget about it! Water it everyday when it’s hot. You should be able to feel moisture when you stick your finger into the soil. Watch for suspicious pests and pull up those weeds before they take up all your plant’s nutrients.
- Research – When you have questions, look for answers. Funny looking color on stalk, or weird holes in the foliage, whatever it is there is almost always a simple answer and solution. There’s always more you can do to enrich your garden – composting and worm bins are just a few examples of all the great ways you can help give back to the environment through your garden!
- Check out the additional resources page for other great links to reliable gardening sources.
- Most of all, happy gardening! All it takes is getting started – and you will make mistakes – I guarantee that. Trust me though, the whole process is so rewarding, and even if all you get at the end of the year is 2 carrots and a tomato, they’ll be the best you’ve ever had. My friend Jessica called an herb garden a “gateway garden” as it’s a great way to get into the dirtier gardening stuff. Go get dirty!
Go get your gardening boots on