TGIF Friends! I cannot believe that the weekend is finally upon us and it couldn’t be a more beautiful day. Today, is Mrs. Winnie’s (our nanny — I promise I will share more about her soon) birthday. She loves flowers so we took a special trip to a local greenhouse in town and got all the beautiful plants to decorate with. I also stocked up on a few plants for our garden and I cannot wait to share more about it all with you!
When we lived in Lake View and Nolan was around one, we planted our first garden. I remember wanting to do better for our family in regards to buying organic produce but it was hard to do with our financial situation. This lead us to growing our own and it couldn’t have been a bigger blessing. Eating organic produce really does make a difference and I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I started researching. This was a switch that I made in my life after I met Derrek and I am so thankful that he helped me understand why it was so important. When I transitioned to a healthier lifestyle, I started with my food and diet because that’s what I could noticeably see that I needed to change the most.
We went to Lowes, bought the wood to frame our garden beds, got a TON of organic soil and seeds and went to work. It was so therapeutic making our little garden and it gave me great thrill to go outside and see how much it grew from the night before. Once the plants started producing vegetables I remember Nolan clumsily walking to a tomato plant, grabbing a juicy tomato of the vine and chomping into it. That is a memory I will never forget. As time as moved on and we moved into our new home, this was something that the kids and I got really excited about starting up again. Our very own back yard garden to tend to and eat from.
This go around with our garden, we took a slightly different approach with how we started our beds and then what we planted. The first time we made our own garden beds we probably spent over $200+ in organic garden soil per bed, that was a HUGE chunk of money to invest especially when we didn’t have a lot to “play” with. This time, I researched on how to fill the raised beds with layers so it wouldn’t require so much soil. You want to lay down a thick layer of cardboard (I save all my Beautycounter boxes for this exact reason), a thick layer of mulch and then mix the rest with cow manure and organic gardening soil. Be careful not to confuse potting soil with gardening soil because the two are very different. Once you’ve got your beds filled with about 4-6 inches of room from the top of the garden you can start planting.
It’s very helpful to know that all plants do not like each other. Isn’t that funny? It’s like a little garden high school with the different cliques. I followed this plant companion guide and it’s proven effective every season I’ve had a garden. If you plant certain things next to each other it can halt their growth or kill them. The first year I planted all the things but this time the kids helped me pick out the things they would actually eat and I left out things that are not as visually appealing and hard to grow in a smaller space like pole beans, corn and okra. Ya’ll, I didn’t realize that okra would harden if you let them get to big and I remember trying to eat them after I let them get longer than my hand and they were so tough and woody I just threw them away. I’ve had my fair share of moments in my gardening journey.
This season in our garden we have cucumbers, a few lettuce varieties, spinach, rainbow carrots, lavender, watermelons, radishes, tomatoes, onions, brussel sprouts, squash, zucchini, beets and broccoli. We have most of the plants sprouted and a few waiting to come up. This is the point that you need to thin out your seedlings and give each one their own space to grow. Vegetables need different spacing based on their size so always check the seed packet when you’re planting. I always keep my seed packets in a little notebook but this year I just wrote the spacing out in a NOTE on my phone so I could easily reference.
Every day when Nolan gets home from school he runs out back to check how the plants have grown and between him and Harper they water it every single day. They get so tickled when they see the growth of their plants that they put in the soil with their little fingers. I have seen so far that this has taught them a plant growth cycle, gives them a responsibility that does not involve technology and gives us an excuse to be outside. There is nothing more valuable than teaching children life lessons and learning about growing their own food should be a staple in everyones book (in my opinion).
If you don’t have a lot of room in your yard or have a yard at all, you can still do this with your children by planting vegetables and fruits in pots. Pinterest has been a huge help in my gardening journey and I would urge you to check out my “Farm Life” board and then just search for the different things you’re interested in. If you’re lucky enough to have a gardener around then pick their brain for all the good tips. And remember, you can always learn from your mistakes and do better next season. I’ll continue to update y’all on a tips throughout this season and even show y’all my favorite non toxic fertilizers and bug deterrents.
Let me know if you plant a garden, what you planted,
and how it’s going for you!