My earliest memories of gardening at home were certainly with my family and that one time I grew a Chia pet at school. I fondly remember getting into the earth as a child from pulling weeds as a family chore (and sometimes as a punishment) to digging up carrots from the backyard. But before I even began gardening with my immediate family, I also remember visiting my Italian grandparents who in their backyard plot of land at the time had what felt like “Jack and the Bean Stalk” sized plants full of blistering tomatoes, plump peas and verdant greens. I loved visiting my grandparents and picking food from the yard and brining our bounty upstairs and into the kitchen. This was likely my first enchanting moment with food and gardening. Reflecting as I type this I realize why it means even more to me to teach Nova the wonders and joys of gardening and not to mention the benefits that naturally come from this type of work and I dare say therapy and play!
Reminiscing to almost eight years ago when I began my very own garden I remember diving right in, not knowing much other than the bliss I had from the memories of gardening as a child. This led me to begin gardening much like a child with an abundance of desire and curiosity. I learned as I went, mostly from mistakes or simply from nature’s teachings. Now a days I use all of those lessons to help my plants and trees thrive with the inevitable loss of some along the way.
I began with a home compost, a simple pile of dirt that we often turned manually and filled with kitchen scraps and carbon. Here’s a how to video that Alex and I made for an inexpensive, easy to make home compost bin. Like most rookie gardeners I planted herbs first noticing how growing mint gave me garden confidence, this helped me to work my way towards veggies and fruits. Albeit I’m still trying to figure out how to get more than 4 strawberries from a plant yet somehow can manage to harvest an abundance of mulberries.
I bought a lot of my starter plants from a local farmer that sets up at the Friday Farmers Market in Venice and saved my own seeds from my favorite organic produce. This was my beginning strategy and still what I use most often today. With the exception of transplants and grafting which is a world I want to dive deeper into as time and knowledge permits.
I looked to books as my main source of guidance and inspiration, some of my favorite reads are listed here:
Alex and I purchased most of our trees from local nurseries and picked the shop keepers brains on every question that came to mind from best places to plant, type of soil, watering, transplanting, organic fertilizing, moss and whatever other thoughts and question arose as I pondered how to best care for our newest additions to the family.
I also loved watching “Eat the Weeds” videos to discover what was already growing in my backyard and how to enjoy the wild garden that was already growing itself.
Picking the brains of the local farmers at the Friday, Wednesday and Saturday markets were a huge help as well. These farmers had the best advice.
Overall, soil matters most! Take the time to really build a great bed for your plants. In a nutrient rich environment full of organic matter. Choose organic seeds, water as needed, plant in the best spot for the plant, don’t use chemicals, tend to your garden daily, set intentions when planting and get ready to dig deep unveiling the gems that lie within the dirt.
I hope you find this info to be helpful and I invite you to ask me additional questions as needed. This post was inspired by a write in question. If you too have a question you’d like me to cover in a blog post or video, fill in the contact form below.
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