Gardening can be a challenge, but it’s one that brings my family together. We enjoy basking in the sunlight as we discover the pride of being more self-sufficient. When my daughters watch me outside working in the garden, they see how rewarding it is. Since I only began gardening last year, sometimes I learn along with them. Today, I’m sharing what it has been like setting up our garden this year.
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Setting up our Garden
In the winter, my dad mailed me a surprise package of seeds to use as cover crops. Unfortunately, the seeds didn’t do well. Since our soil wasn’t protected with cover crops over the winter, there was some erosion. This season, we have to do a little more work to get the garden ready since the soil isn’t very high quality anymore.
Gardening Accessories to Wear
Since the garden bed preparation was time consuming, I made sure to wear a UV UPF 50 Sun Hat. It protects my skin from sun burns, and it looks nice for gardening too.
To protect my hands, I wore Digz Gardening Gloves. They have a variety of styles and colors. After trying some out, I found a soft blue pair that works for me. It’s nice to have a clean, new pair for a new season of gardening.
I also machine washed my gardening gloves and my children’s gloves from last year. It turns out that you can get almost all the dirt off of them when you wash them in cold water. Some of them had rubbery material on the hands. I wasn’t sure how they would do in the washer and dryer, but they held up well.
Getting the Garden Bed Ready
After I removed any grass or weeds the had grown, I used gardening tools to break up the soil. It was really hard and clay-like, which isn’t ideal for growing plants, so I added PittMoss Organic Potting Mix.
This peat moss replacement is organic and sustainable. Since it reduces nitrogen run-off, it’s better for the environment. It doesn’t need as much water, which will help conserve the use of our well. It holds moisture much better than regular soil does.
PittMoss is made with locally-sourced organic, recycled paper, cardboard, and newspaper products. My children found it silly to spot bits of newspaper writing in our potting mix. It was different than what we’ve used before, but our plants are doing well with it. I’m also happy that gardening with this item teaches my children about reducing their carbon footprint. It’s nice for them to see an item being up-cycled to show a good example of lowering waste.
Preparing to Plant
On my daughter’s birthday, we took a trip to the plant nursery, and we picked out a nice variety of herbs and flowers. As we decided when to plant, we were fairly certain the final frost had happened, although the ground was still a little cold, which could affect the plants.
In case it does frost in the future, we will make sure to have something to cover the plants with to keep them warm. It’s hard to tell whether the plants will hold up this early, but we also have seeds growing indoors in case the others don’t do well.
Something that helped give us some background knowledge to help with gardening this year is the new book from National Geographic, Attainable Sustainable. It’s about living a homestead life. There are tips about gardening indoors and outdoors. Some other interesting parts were about pressing wildflowers, canning, and baking sourdough bread. After reading it, I passed it on to my daughter who enjoyed it too.
One of my favorite new gardening items is my personalized Green Thumb Garden Set. Sometimes it can be difficult reminding my children to keep my gardening supplies in good condition. Since these tools are engraved personally for me, my children are more likely to remember that they should be gentle and put the tools away after gardening.
To help us plan out where to plant, we used the Grow Sow Happy crop growing cards. These vegetable garden reference cards are easy to take into the garden, and they come with a nice plastic storage case to keep them safe from dirt and water. Each card has detailed information on when to start planting and specific growing needs. It also explains good plants to grow nearby and which ones to avoid. Even though this information is available online, it’s helpful to have it in one place to refer to throughout the gardening season.
Maintaining Our Garden
After planting, we used Plant and Garden Markers from Mabel’s Labels. These markers come with adorable pictures of the vegetables and herbs along with the names conveniently pre-printed.
Spending time in our garden regularly will help our plants and flowers grow well. Since the weather has been a bit cold, we’re continuing to grow some seeds indoors. After the ground warms up, we will move them outside and hopefully have a full and beautiful garden.
Being outdoors everyday has helped us cope while staying at home. Watering our garden, fertilizing it, weeding it, and eventually, enjoying the items we grow gives us purpose.
What is helping you cope during these times? Share in the comments.