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Attention Gardener Wannabes–Now’s Your Time!

Always wanted to start a garden but afraid you didn’t have enough time or know how?  Well fret no more–you have enough of BOTH. 


Seriously.  Next week we begin our series “Ashley and Julie’s Garden — follow their progress!”  These two have always wanted their own garden, but were reluctant to take that first step, concerned it would lead them down a road on a downhill slide.  Not fun.  So instead they politely reply, “I’d love to start a garden, if only I had the time.” 

Typical, right? For many women these days, it is difficult to find the time.  Between kids and work and husband and life–who has extra anything to wander through brilliantly layered rows of a vegetable garden–despite the desire pumping through their veins, the urge screaming for release… 

Oh–wait.  That’s the kids in the bathroom.  Real life aside, these women yearn for the luxury of snipping fresh lettuce for their salad, clipping fresh beans to include on the dinner menu, pulling sweet carrots for the most delectable carrot muffins–and they can.  Once they catch on to the secrets of simple garden management, they can enjoy the benefits of growing their own vegetables.  Have kids?  Believe it or not, they’ll relish the adventure and together you will experience more joy than you ever dreamed possible. 

It’s the simple things.  Make that easy-to-do-and-not interrupt-my-schedule things that add quality to our every day moments.  So, if YOU have ever wanted to have your own garden but thought it utterly impossible, stay tuned:  we’re going to change your mind!

Series begins Tuesday.  Ashley will utilize a raised planter bed frame while Julie will opt for an in ground garden.  Join us, won’t you?

Trust me.  We’ll have fun.

School Seedling Trays

The kids are getting a jump-start on spring.  Sure, it’s cold outside —  the temps are chilly, the wind is biting and the frost is back, but these kids are eager to garden.  What better way, than to start from seed?  Lima beans, to be exact.

Fun and easy, starting seedling trays is a great way to bring the outdoors in–particularly appealing this winter.  To begin, we fill our trays with potting mix, tuck our beans in about an inch deep then water them in for a head start on life.  

Each student will be responsible for their own seed.   They’ll water it every day, because they know seeds like to be kept moist. 

They’ll keep their tray near a sunny window (or fool it with a flourescent “grow lamp”) and they’ll keep it warm; one of the keys to good germination.  And they’ll watch it grow.  Better yet, they’ll record each and every moment on the pages of their seed journal — complete with cute veggie decorations!  Gardening should be fun, ya know. 

By starting our bean seeds now, we’ll be harvesting in no time.  And isn’t that what gardening is all about–the glory of harvest?  Sure catching bugs is fun and the smell of herbs are delightful, but vegetables should be eaten and fresh from the vine.   So while we’re learning about the growth cycle, we’ll savor the bounty.

And learn a whole heck of a lot while we’re at it!

Sweet pea love

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood when your son is a willing an ardent helper in the garden.   Today it’s sweet sugar snap peas — my first endeavor in the pea family after my horrible failure with the English peas.   (Still don’t know what went wrong with those gems, but they never blossomed to fruition.)   I guess the old saying is true; you can start out with everything going for you — nutrients, nourishment, love and excitement — and still manage to miss the blossom train.  

Sad.   But true.   I haven’t given up on them.   Hope renews and we’ll try again!  Just not any time soon.

In the meantime, there’s the snap pea.  For a while there, I thought they were goners in the major unexpected and unwelcome freeze of January, but I was wrong.  These delicate beauties are more hardy than first glance would imply.  Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to judge a book by its cover?

Mine did and she was right.   These gals made it through and have now begun to produce!   Beautiful plump pods bursting with sugary peas you simply have to taste to believe.  Which I did, right there in the middle of the row, plopped the first sample straightaway into my mouth.   And it was good.  I see why they’re called sugar snap peas, because they truly taste like sugar ripened green peas! 

My first thought:  the kids will LOVE these. 

So, it made sense that when my son and I were finishing the final row of weeding I’d introduce him to the sugary sweet delights.  “Hey, buddy!  Come have a taste of the sugar snaps!”

Somewhat the adventurous type – like myself – he didn’t hesitate.  “Do they really taste like sugar?”

“You bet,” I replied, never more sure of anything in my life.  “You’ll love them.”

Trusting as any young boy should be when it comes to his mother’s advice, he opened the fresh pod in preparation for his first bite.

“These arent’ like Limas.  You don’t have to peel it open, you can eat it whole!” I told him, eager to get his response.

But he would have none of it.  This was my boy – a little man!  He was going to do it his way or no way.  (A sentiment I’ve come to realize is common in most males.)  Patiently, I waited as he dipped the first pea into his mouth.  Then he frowned, and my heart plummeted.  “What’s wrong?  You don’t like it?”

“No.  Not really.”

“But it tastes like sugar.”

“Mom, kids and adults have different tastes.”

“They do?”  I marveled at his mature insight.  He is only seven.  “How so?”

“You know, like how Daddy likes to have a beer and you like wine.  I don’t like either of those, but you do.”

Out of the mouths of babes.  Chagrin.  “Yes, well, you have me there…” 

“It’s okay.  I don’t hate them.”

Yahoo — a green with hopes of still making it on the menu.  “It’s okay, honey.  You don’t have to like them.”

He peeled the pod clear open and asked, “Want to take a picture?”

Is he in charge of marketing, or what?  Tucking my pride back into place, I replied, “Sure.  But I don’t have my camera with me.  Will you run to the house and get it?”

He brightened at the trust in his command and exclaimed,  “Yes!  Want to see how fast I can make it?”

I laughed.  “Of course I do.”  Ever the boy!   

To his word, he ran as fast as he could to the house and back, plucking a new pod from the vine and posing for pictures.

You gotta love em!

Transplant a rose garden?

Who in their right mind would do such a thing? 

Me.   I changed my mind.   We added a screened enclosure.   Life happens.   My roses were too close to the wire mesh and my herbs were too far away from the kitchen.   Okay, I enjoy the walk out to the garden.   That’s not it.  Truth is, they didn’t work well with my rotation schedule AND while I’m cooking dinner and feel the urge for some fresh herbs, it’s easier when they’re located right around the corner. 

Makes sense, doesn’t it?   In theory, yes.   In practice… 

Well, that’s another beast entirely and I do mean beast.   And to think I blamed my stiffness on old age – it has nothing do with old age –  it’s senility!  Mine!   

What was I thinking?   Oh, let’s see.   Today I’ll transplant my three vigorous and thriving rose bushes which have been there for years.   Then, I’ll relocate and plant seed for a new herb garden in their place.   Tomorrow, I’ll plant a blueberry patch.   All this, after five hours spent spring tilling and planting in the garden the day before. 

Counterclockwise from the bottom: aloe, basil, space for cilantro, oregano, space for parsley, rosemary, potted peppers, sweet potato slips inside screen, dill, curly parsley, lavender

Nut job.   I heard you.   Insane

You’re right.   I’m all of those and while you’re at it, add energetic, ambitious, a gal with eyes bigger than her yard AND her ability.   Yep.   That’s me.   But I have to say, now that it’s all behind me, and I survived, I can say, it was all worth it.  

Eventually, my yard will be exactly as I want, all the pain and agony a distant memory as I gaze out the window with satisfaction.   Need I remind you of childbirth

This afternoon, my daughter and I went in search of something cute for our brand new herb garden.   We didn’t find anything.   But it was fun looking! 

It’s nice to have something to look forward to with hope and anticipation, isn’t it?   It feels fresh and fun and exhilarating.   I hope all my seeds take to sprout.   We won’t know for at least a week or two.  I can’t wait to stroll knee deep among the herbs, full and lush, nestled together, their savory scents competing as I decide on which to include for dinner.  

Speaking of herbs, did I mention the hardy rosemary plant?  Easy to grow, easy to harvest and very distinct in character.   One of our favorites this time of year, is rosemary lemonade.   It’s an easy mix with outstanding results.   (Check my recipe page for details.) 

Hmmm.   Closing my eyes, I can see it all.   Then, come April, my berry patch will command my attention with their plump, juicy little bodies of blue glistening in the morning dew.   The perfect compliment to my breakfast yogurt.   I love spring… 


Can you see it?   Can you imagine the pleasure you’ll derive from your very own paradise?    Oh, have I forgotten the roses?  

Not at all.   I’ve moved them before and they adapted well.  

 They’ll do so again, I’m sure of it.   Because with enough love and attention, anything can grow anywhere, of that I’m sure of as well. 

Welcome back, spring.  More than the promise of new growth and abundant fragrance, your arrival signals the blessings of renewal. 

p.s.  Good timing.  Florida has had a deluge the past few days.  Wonderful news for my rose transplants!

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