One of my ultimate goals in life is to grow my own food. As an ex-black thumb, I had to shed the idea that I couldn’t keep plants alive.That began with me drilling holes in a few plastic tubs and planting some seeds and seedlings. That was last year. This year, my successes and fails (R.I.P. to the extremely overwatered tomato plant of 2017) bolstered my courage to get a little more adventurous with my garden. This led to my foray into raised bed gardening.
If you follow me on instagram , then you are privy to some of the ups and downs that went into creating the garden. It has been an extremely rewarding and challenging labor of love. In a nutshell, My husband and I sectioned of a part of our yard, laid down some landscaping fabric to kill the grass. We then used cinderblocks to form our garden bed outline which we then secured with rebar and then filled with good quality garden soil. We also fenced the garden in to keep our dogs and the neighborhood bunnies out.
What we planted:
2 types of Lettuce
Different types of peppers
2 types of cauliflower
Spinach (which I already killed)
2 kinds of Rosemary
2 kinds of Sage
Lavender (which I am killing)
3 kinds of tomato (Duke my dog has already murdered two tomato plants)
Eucalyptus (in their own containers doing well)
Strawberries (In a hanging basket)
Blueberry (bought as a struggling seedling on clearance, I am hoping it pulls through. It has its own fenced off area elsewhere in the yard)
I wanted to learn how to grow the foods we eat daily as well as produce I don’t buy as often as I’d like because of the steep price tag of buying them organic. Hence the variety. As a gardening newbie, I am being gentle with myself as I learn how to plant, take care and harvest each plant. If I was more organized I would keep a plant diary but I am not there yet.
Only the spinach and kale came from my own purchased seeds. The rest were purchased as seedlings from local greenhouses/garden sales or given to me by community members.
The cinderblock, rebar, fencing, landscaping fabric, and mulch were all purchased from a local hardware store.
The yummy garden soil was also purchased locally.
A hose to water the plants.
A can-do attitude.
Cool Stuff that has happened :
I have already cooked meals and made salads with the spinach, lettuce, and tomato from the garden. I am enjoying watching everything grow.
Fun fact about me, I am obsessed with mushrooms and would like to study Mycology indepth one day. For now I get to ooh and aahh over all the cool mushrooms that have sprouted from the healthy soil in the garden.
Pests decimating my collard greens and cauliflower leaves. I now know to spray a solution of Diatomaceous earth on the leaves and check for the creepy bastards each morning.
The ladybugs and praying mantises I purchased as natural pest control took off and left me high and dry.
If you can’t tell by this post, I am having a blast nurturing my green thumb. I hope this inspires anyone who thinks they can’t garden to give it a try. We should all get cosy with Mother Nature when we can.
As I mentioned in my 7 ways I Boost my Family’s Immunity post, Pumpkin Pie spice is a favorite tool in my arsenal because of how anti-inflammatory and healing ingredients it contains. A good quality pumpkin pie spice blend typically consists of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Together, these spices are a powerhouse that go really well with seasoning my homemade applesauce. As requested, see the recipe below.
The Mother Earth New fair is a trade fair that travels around the country addressing issues surrounding sustainability, eco-friendliness and other “hippie dippe green peace crap” as my brother likes to put it .
I’ve always wanted to go but never could find either the time or money as a college student. Lucky for me I was gifted with some tickets and got to take my friends and Thandiwe along as kids got in for free. I had a blast and with over 150 speakers , lots of vendors and even some hands on activities.
A few people on my Instagram wanted to know what I learned and in the spirit of accountability I thought I’d share some of the lessons I want to incorporate into my life. This is not sponsored in any way, shape or form.
Fermentation – Much like minimalism and zero-waste, fermentation is becoming a buzzword on the internet. Fermented foods exist across cultures and date back hundreds of years. They are known for their gut-healing benefits and are a great addition to any diet. The Fair opened my eyes to just how easy it is to ferment foods at home. Sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, and sourdough bread are all on my list of gut healthy foods I want to make at home. I took a sourdough starter class and made my own sourdough starter that I can use to make my own bread for years to come (once I actually get around to it haha)
Growing herbs for home-made tea – I attended a tea-making class by an herbalist who shared several different herbs and their properties as well as how to grow, harvest and store some of them. As someone who grew up on tea out of a bag it was cool to learn about how simple it is to make your own teas. I’ve been drinking loads of echinacea and nettle tea to boost my immunity as the weather turns cold and I can’t wait to grow my own herbs next year.
Elderberry – Elderberry is an another amazing plant that grows wild in Kansas. I have been making my own elderberry syrup for about a year now and try to take a shot of it every day or every few days. I was reminded of the amazing properties of this particular plant and hope to get a shrub of my own next year.
DIY creams and candles – I make small batches of creams here and there for my family but I was inspired after seeing all the yummy handmade products at the fair. I went home and used up the rest of my mango butter to make a lavender whipped butter that functioned as a healing diaper cream, a hair butter that made for an amazing twist out that left my hair moisturized and a body butter that is keeping Anthony’s dry skin at bay. So many uses from just one product reminding me that we don’t need a bajilion products for each part of our body and home.
It felt good to learn and be around people who cared about the same things that I did and about issues that affect us all. If you ever get a chance to go the fair I recommend it!