Suburban Gardening

Monday, May 25, 2015

It is not really an urban garden and certainly not the type you would find on a nice plot of land in the country so I guess you call it a suburban garden? 
I may have just made that up but let's go with it. 

And warning...if you are a real gardener, now is the time to stop reading because my motto goes along the lines of trial and error. If you are experienced, my low down on suburban gardening will sound like nails on a chalkboard.  I'm not an expert and I could be breaking every cardinal rule of growing but it works for me.

Growing a garden makes me really happy. I seriously feel like a kiddo in a candy store when I get to pick something that I actually grew. It's the bees knees and if I can do it, so can you. Trail and error people, trial and error.  When something actually grows you will feel like you should quit your job and become a farmer because practically you are. 
Or something like that. 

Anyway, the first summer in my home, I decided to try my luck and put Emily to work tilling up the grass. God bless little sisters. 

In total, my little raised bed garden is only 4 foot by 8 foot. Pretty small but being in the 'burbs puts limitations on how much of the lawn one can actually convert. There are millions of online tutorials for what is best so I just went with what seemed most logical.

Two things:
1. The soil in my area is all clay based so a raised bed garden was best. 
2. Don't even judge my two tone fence. I stained part of it when I first moved in and well the other half took a back burner to life. Oops. 

 Each spring, I use a shovel to loosen the soil that is left over from the previous year (because it is a small area a tiller isn't necessary after the first year of digging up the yard). Once it is loosened, I pour compost soil over the top. I have no idea if it is necessary but stating with a top layer of fresh nutrient rich soil makes sense in my head. 

The winters in Missouri don't lend themselves well to growing from seeds so I start with transplants. And let me tell you the best kept secret...go to your local farmers market to buy your transplants. Why? Because farmers are a gold mine of info and they love to share their passion. So I think about what veggies and herbs I love to eat and then illicit the help of an expert to map it out. The first year I gardened, I was clueless so I wondered through a booth and saw zucchini transplants. I happen to love zucchini so I asked how it is grown, how much space it needs, how much one transplant yields, etc. The nice farmer was so excited to see a "kid" express interest in something he loved that he went on and on and on. 

 The key to mapping a garden is understanding how each thing you want to plant grows. For instance, zucchini grows out on a vine while peppers grown up on a stalk. Keeping that in mind, zucchini need more space between each transplant while peppers can be planted closer together. 

How things grow is a question that the farmer can answers or good ol' google. 

 This year I planted zucchini, peppers (yellow, red, and green), green beans, and tomatoes. I have found that tomatoes (and my herbs...basil, rosemary, and parsley) do quite well in a container (so in a pot instead of being stuck in the ground). And, each year I like to throw a wild card into the mix. Basically it is one new type of transplant to keep my 'trail and error method' alive. It's something I have never grown and don't have my hopes set on thriving. If it works, I will incorporate it into future gardens and if not, no biggie. 

 The wild card of the year is brussels sprouts. I mean what? 
I love brussels sprouts and if you google how they grow it's actually kinda neat. 
We shall see what will be with them!

 Because transplants are a little weak when they are first planted (as in a little flimsy thing trying to defend itself again rain and wind) I have found that giving them a little boost in stability is helpful. You can get as fancy or as popsicle stick/sharpie/loosely tied twine as you want. 

Type 'garden support' into pinterest and you will be mind blown on all the ways in which you can protect your veggies. But alas, keeping it simple works too. 

Someday, I would love to have a big garden with lots and lots of wild cards but my little 4x8 produces plenty of goodness for me (and any tenants that I have at the time).

If gardening sounds overwhelming, start with a couple containers and see how it goes. When you get your first tomatoes or are able to grab fresh cilantro to toss into guac you might as well chalk yourself up to being as great as Martha. 

Preparing for The Big 3-0 {Thirty Baby}

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This summer I will be 30.
That is the bIg 3-0 friends!

I'm not one who gets all bent out of shape about age and don't particularly feel that thirty makes me "old." It is just natural progression rolling ahead and I'm quiet fond of the idea of leaving my twenties behind. They were not particularly blissful and thirty almost feels like a number that better reflects the life experience and wisdom that have come with the experiences life has brought.

Of course, if I'm being honest, deep down, raw & real...the number thirty doesn't scare me but at times, contentment does. Recently, I sat at the side of one of my dearest friends after she beautifully brought her third child into this world. Of all the events of life, child birth is the most miraculous of all. As I held her newborn child, giggled over her chubby cheeks and squinty eyes, and soaked in the newborn smell,  I caught myself lost in thought. I left and headed to a shower for another friend who will welcome her first baby this spring....the shower being hosted by yet another friend whom we will soon celebrate as she welcomes her second child this summer. I am awed by the opportunity to watch my friends become mommas (for the first, second, and even still for the third time). It is a deeply cherished joy. Motherhood is simply beautiful and utterly incredible and watching those whom you love experience it, is a gift.

Yet, walking away from a whirlwind day of celebration, I found myself lost in wonder of what my future holds. While the number thirty doesn't intimidate me, this isn't what I envisioned for being on the brink. As I celebrate the joy of life with my dear friends, I catch myself in wonder if it will ever be me.

When I turned 28, I wrote out a big bucket list and spent the days leading to 29 marking off dreams. Big and small. Realistic and grasping for what seemed just beyond reach. It was fulfilling and motivating and healing. When I celebrated 29 and looked back to reflect that every box had been checked, I was overcome by what became possible in the midst of such brokenness.

30 felt like it needed something too. Something to mark the leaving behind of the decade that stripped me, shattered me, and yet shaped me. Despite feeling like this isn't how I envisioned this season of life and wondering what may or perhaps may never come, I'm embracing what is. Alive in the present.

So, thirty is being ushered in with a dream. A dream that is being planned into a reality.
A little trip you might say.

Well,  a little jaunt half way across the world.  
With two dear friends {One of whom is ushering in her 30's too}.
Me, them, and a hunger for adventure, exploration, and the opportunity to embrace what is.

Happy 30th To Us. 

{Happy} Mother's Day

Sunday, May 10, 2015

{Happy} Mother's Day. 

This is the third Mother's Day that has passed 
since my beloved daughter went to be with Jesus.  

I wish I could say that it has gotten 'easier' with the passing 
of time but 'easier' won't do. 

It's simply different. 
I felt it today, that deep hole in the pit of my soul, it still burns. 
It aches, longs, cries, yearns, and wonders. 

Oh what I wouldn't give to go back. 
To hold my sweet child. To kiss her chubby cheeks. 
To look into her eyes and tell her just how much her momma loves her. 

This journey hurts, over and over and over again. 
But interwoven is peace, and comfort, and reminders of the hope that prevails. 
Forever and ever her momma I will be. 

Hold your babies tight and celebrate them as the best gift of all. 


Happy Mother's Day Dear Friends.

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