Meet Mandie. Here’s a gal who wants to garden, but never thought she had the time. (She’s right!) Married with two young boys and a full-time career, time is the last thing on her plate. (Not to mention sanity) Ah…but what she lacks in agenda, she makes up for with attitude. This woman has DECIDED she is going to have a garden. Organic, of course. A project in which I enthusiastically signed on to help. Spread the joy, right?
Absolutely. And you can, too!
Your head drops, you kick at the dirt. You glance sideways. While you appreciate our enthusiasm and fabulous outlook, you really do, it’s just not in the cards for you. Your schedule is jammed packed. Add the commitments you’ve made outside work and home and there simply isn’t the time to devote to a garden. Mandie’s image pops into your mind. Ability, you correct. You’re simply unable to start a garden for reasons… For reasons…
Well, yes, I get the picture. It’s hard. I understand. It takes more than time, more than desire. I mean, positive attitude exudes from your pores, I can see that. I know that if you could, you’d start a garden today—yesterday–this very minute!
But you can’t. There’s just no way.
Maybe next year. Season. Maybe next season. Check back with you in fall? Yes. Fall. Absolutely. You stand a little taller. You bet. Come fall, you’ll be ready to go!
I smile. Yes. I’ll check back with you in fall. But for the rest of you neophytes who haven’t the good sense to know any better, grab your hat and pack your bag – we’re going gardening! Together — by tracking Mandie’s process on a weekly basis via her post link.
Now, to begin, we need to set the right mood. Music. Of course! What a great way to start your afternoon outdoors. Mandie thought Jimmy Buffet would be nice (though his penchant for gardening is highly speculative), I mean, from what I can tell, the man is no landlubber – BUT – he does epitomize a laid back mindset and hankering for a good time – both of which we’re after in this new adventure of ours. Remember: your garden should be a place you want to spend time, because daily visits will be essential to your success.
Next up – site selection. Full sun is vital as well as a reliable water source – two things in which Mandie excels! With no trees to speak of in her “compact” yard space, sun is not a problem. She can put her garden anywhere – save for the area claimed by the boy’s playground set. And swing bench. And bicycle, toys…a couple of shrubs. Well, you get the picture. Creativity using space is a must. As to water, she and her clever husband have devised a homemade cistern. Did I tell you, this girl is green – from the inside out? She means to waste nothing in this endeavor of hers and I applaud the ingenuity. In fact, I’ve suggested as much to my husband. Quite the industrious sort, I imagine he will construct a cistern with a garden sprinkler system attached! He is amazing…
Perfect. Then, solving two problems at once, Mandie chose the back corner of her lot where old abandoned cement blocks proved a horrible eyesore. Meet Gary. Undaunted by the challenge, her husband went to task and built her a planter box. Now, not only do they have a beautiful garden “section,” they’ve eliminated a huge “blemish!” Aren’t husbands wonderful?
Time for the dirt. Let’s say your yard isn’t naturally graced with luscious, black organic soil. Okay. We can deal with it. By contacting a local supplier, Mandie was able to fill her 15 ft by 5 ft space (1 ft deep) with good composted dirt for about $80. Mind you, this is a one time investment. Once her personal compost pile gets going, she’ll have her own compost to use for the fall planting season! And there will be a fall planting season. (If she misses the compost mark, again, no problem. Using crop rotation, her dirt will be primed and ready for next season!)
On to seeds. Purchase them from your handy-dandy trustworthy and knowledgeable local seed and feed — “flavor specific” to your taste buds — and then you’re ready for action! Mandie is planting potatoes, broccoli, carrots, conch peas, tomatoes, peppers and lettuce.
This is BIG fun, so if you have kids, holler for them now cause they’re gonna love this part – until the novelty wears off, anyway. Older kids might appreciate the endeavor more, if the delivery is fine tuned. Parents: get crafty.
As to design, consult your local expert (in this case, that’s me!) or your Vegetable Gardener’s Bible (the source for my expertise – in addition to that age old instructor called experience). You’ll learn plants have preferences of their own and if you place them next to their friends, they’ll serve you with splendor. If not, you’ll likely miss your fall planting season, uninterested in trying after your lackadaisical results from spring.
Trust me on this one. It’s like a marriage. What you put in, you get back, tenfold.
Okay kids, it’s time to get dirty! Space your seeds accordingly, dig your holes, mark their spots (helps to remember where to water) and wait for first sign of sprouts! I use an excel program on my computer to mark what and where I planted, but a garden journal works just as well and is “pretty” to boot. Mulch will help conserve moisture, if it’s a pressing issue for you. I prefer hay, but you can use straw, paper liners, etc.
Then, water in your seeds and there you have it! Heart pound. Gasp. Mouth agape in disbelief. It’s the beginning of YOUR OWN GARDEN! The one you thought impossible, but will be amazed by easy it is to manage! Yes!
With daily visits to check soil moisture, bug invasions, fertilizer insufficiencies, etc., your very own produce will begin to hit the table in two months time. Whoa. How awesome is that?
It’s totally awesome and totally organic. You’ll not only eat healthier, you’ll know exactly what went into your food — and your family’s. Like watching your children grow, you’ll be excited by each and every change in your garden as you watch its progress, amazed this beautiful bounty is the result of YOUR hand! And Mother Nature’s. (Don’t insult this woman. You do not want to be on her bad side.)
Exciting isn’t it? How about joining us? Track Mandie’s progress, ask questions, offer suggestions and next thing you know, you’ll have friends signing on for a community wide effort! You grow that, I’ll grow this, so and so will grow those…
Why, the possibilities are endless. C’mon. Share the joy and begin your adventure today!
(This weekend will do.)