gardening for idiots

So I’m really good at gardening.

I just haven’t tried it yet.

gardening_with_familliesI know. This coming from the girl who not-so-secretly has a black thumb and kills things by accident like it’s her hobby. This deluded confidence is oozing from my inner self… shouting oh-so convincingly You can do it! She has one of those cheerleader shouty things on her head and she’s kicking her legs high to ‘Step In Time’ spazoid style while there’s confetti and a crowd cheering and she has rutabagas in her hand. Because somewhere, in the future I will grow a garden.

It’s probably this leftover adolescent view of life where I think, if I believe hard enough that I’m good at something and therefore try hard enough… I can do it.

For Narnia!

This principle clearly excludes but is not limited to math. I don’t care enough. I’m bad with numbers forever and that’s what my phone is for. (See: forever calculator app Also see: Husband who IS good with numbers.)

And this isn’t like the time I thought I would try out for the high school dance team. Awkward doesn’t begin to cover it. But I do a mean sprinkler, lawnmower and shopping cart. If you have no idea to what I am referring, then you didn’t have enough dance parties in your pajamas with your friends in college. Yes, I am forever that girl. Now give me a cookie. And say I’m pretty.

gardening_with_your_familyAs far as healthier eating is concerned, there’s always room for improvement, isn’t there? I think the key is not to beat yourself up on your bad days. Even your every-days.

We’re slowly but surely trying to do better in the food department. If I’m being completely honest, some days are a let’s-throw-pizza-at-my-dirty-kids-like-chickens-while-they-sit-on-the-floor-and-watch-a-movie day… I mean, let’s face it. We all have those days… you’re allowed to have those days… If you don’t, as a mother, you’ll go crazy.  It’s a proven scientific fact. Because sometimes the dog vomits on the floor and laundry is piled to the ceiling and we’re an hour behind on homework and we miss gymnastics and my three and a half year old still isn’t potty trained so he just pooped his pants. Again. Thou shalt not judge. It practically demands we eat pizza. Hold the side of guilt.

So… gardening. Better, for us, starts with our attempt at growing our own produce.

This isn’t a weight loss thing. This isn’t a bandwagon, for-the-latest-craze-in-diets, pyramid-scheme, book-I-just-read join-my-club thing.

I’ll be honest and hate me if you must: I like love my coffee and I like my chocolate and sometimes, I like my chocolate in my coffee. If you cut cheese from my diet, I will cut you. I know that some people are very passionate about this subject. I am equally passionate about cheese.

This is a simplicity thing. This is an all things in moderation thing. This is a striking a healthy balance, striving for healthier choices, and being realistic about growing a family thing. This starts, for us, with the basics.

Baby steps. And baby carrots.

There’s just something sacred about growing things from the ground. If my children can experience that process integrated into a normal part of their lives, they’ll have a greater appreciation for the food that they eat. A greater appreciation for God’s creation. We’re hoping to cultivate a lifetime of healthier choices and gratefulness. And I’m hoping for fresh tomatoes so I can devour them.

So we started at the only place that made sense to us, and purchased some seed packets.


And two of these little green houses.

greenhouse_gardeningWe could seriously write a book called gardening for idiots. And by writing, I mean we would ask a smart farmer and we would be the idiots for which he would write said book. I feel like we’re off to a good start. It may take a few times.

But we will be good at gardening. I just know it.

gardening_for_beginnersBecause I really really want to be.

spring_gardeningThere’s something about that light in their eyes while they watched those seeds being planted.

There’s something about that tiny surge of excitement and hope you feel, when planting them. I felt like whispering to my new little pod babies. God speed, little baby seedlings! You can DO it! Grow so we can EAT you!

Maybe I should sing to them and read them stories. About their deaths.

seedlingsAll slightly odd mentions on vegetable genocide aside, the cold here is still a little sporadic (In the tropics of the south there was a freeze warning Monday morning) So we thought these little green houses were the best idea for getting started. We purchased ours at our local Home Depot, and simply followed the directions. In short, we poured warm water on the soil and waited for each little section to rise. When it had risen, it was expanded and we planted each seed in sections.

The kids loved being so hands on, and we just all loved the process.

plantingWe took notes, to keep up with our rows, and what is what in the little green houses. Then repeated the labels on the top and sides with a sharpie. That way, there’s no confusing the tomatoes for the peppers as they grow.

mini_greenhousesWe placed them in our laundry room, out of the direct sun (for now) to wait for them to sprout. When the weather is a little more cooperative, and when the sprouts are a little more viable, we’ll be transplanting them to our garden in the back.

It’s in our blood. Jamin’s grandpa was a farmer… and my grandmothers both had extensive gardens. That means it has to work, right? It’s like, a rule or something. In idealistic land, we spent a whopping 30 dollars on bountiful vegetation for the summer and fall months. Plenty of food for healthy, wholesome eating. In theory, this is amazing. Also, it will prepare us for the zombie apocalypse. No scurvy.

Yep. Gardening for idiots. Here we go! Wish us luck.

So are you guys tackling a garden this spring? Have you always been gardeners? Any advice for idiots like us? ;}

Have an inspired day, wonderful friends!

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Responses to gardening for idiots

  1. Jessie says:

    Many generations of farming in my family – actually, my generation is the first that hasn’t grown up on a farm. That being said – I still kill lots of plants. So, first piece of advice: find a local greenhouse (or Home Depot) that will sell transplants. Second: water your seedlings from the bottom if possible, if the little seedlings get too wet they may die off. Or if they get too much sun, or not enough sun. Or if you look at them funny. I usually put two seeds in each hole and pull the weaker one if one doesn’t die off first. That was more of two and a half points… Third: It may seem obvious, but plant what you like to eat. I insisted on growing eggplant for years but I never ate it. (however, you can make relish out of almost anything, including eggplant) Fourth: next year move your plants around, you don’t want to plant the same thing in the same spot since it depletes the soil etc (aka crop rotation). Fifth: Have fun! :) Experiment, and don’t stress. It’s just plants! My grandparents are still experimenting in their gardens, and grandpa is working on his ninety-something-th birthday this fall. There’s always something to change, tweak, play with.

  2. Wanda Fisher says:

    I too have made the decision to plant a garden this spring. My mother was a magician in the garden. Plants would see her and stand up tall, bloom and produce plentifully…..I walk past them and they die. This year will be different (hopefully), and I will have a plentiful bounty. Wish you the best with your garden!

  3. Ramona Lawlor says:

    If you can help me ok, but if not ok. I was wondering if you know of a book or magazines that can help me grow plants(flowers). I had a rough year and totally need some assistance for the coming year. Thank you