My husband recently enjoyed a three-day weekend with the family. As we pondered what to do with our extra time off, I thought about finally starting our garden. We’ve talked about it for three years now but just haven’t found the motivation to get started. After all, a daunting amount of prep goes into a new garden, especially for beginners like ourselves.
We live on the plains of Colorado, in a little town called Falcon (you can probably surmise what type of place it is from the name). We’ve got five acres of land, so there’s plenty of space for a garden. However, if you’re familiar with Colorado, you know how hard it can be to grow here, especially if you’re not blessed with a green thumb—and I very much am not. The soil is hard, dry, and full of clay, which makes preparing the ground an arduous task. Then you must soak the dirt for hours and mow the land. We let the prairie weeds take over, so this was no small feat, and I have the blisters to prove it! After all that, you must till it, rake it, fertilize it, find the right plants for this climate, and then plant them.
In a single productive day, I mowed our garden area and fixed up the fence to keep the rabbits out. Excited at what I had done, I sent a picture to my husband, telling him this is what I wanted to do for our three-day weekend: get our garden started!
Day one of our mini vacation, my husband got the tiller out, fueled it up, started it, tilled one row, and then…the tiller died. It finally pooped. I almost gave up then and there. How could we till all this hard dirt by hand?! But my husband loves getting dirty, so on his hands and knees, he tilled the land for me. I helped him rake it and clean it out, and after watching mommy and daddy “playing” in the dirt, our two little kids joined in. We all planted marigolds in the garden to help keep unwanted bugs out.
I won’t bore you with all the little details, but by the end of our three-day weekend we had a nice little garden tilled, raked, fertilized, and planted. It was a lot of tiring work under the hot sun, but we all LOVED it! There’s truly something to be said about working your land and feeling the joy it brings to your soul.
I’m still very much a beginner at this whole gardening thing, so I’m not sure how successful my crop will be. But at least I’m one year closer to a roaring garden, and it will keep growing with everything I’ve learned and will learn. My next trial: finding all-natural weed and insect repellants to keep the hoard of grasshoppers away. And when I say “hoard,” I’m not exaggerating. When we take a step in the grass, it moves from all the grasshoppers hopping away. I might have to get chickens!
The best part of our garden so far has been the time we’ve spent together as a family creating it. I’m so elated that we’re exposing our five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son to the value of gardening at such a young age. They’ll be going out every day to water, weed, and care for our plants. Hopefully, one day they’ll see their hard work pay off with a crop. Plus, I’ve heard that kids are more likely to try all kinds of produce when they grew it themselves! (Check out more ways to cure picky eaters here and here.)
Now, whether you’re a beginner or advanced gardener, you don’t have to weather the uncertainty alone! Check out SRP’s amazing shop to find beautiful and informative resources on gardening, including The Organic Gardner’s Handbook.
Okay, I’m going to level with you here. After all the physical labor, grueling heat, sunburns, cuts, blisters, and expense, is gardening really worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
P.S. If you have any gardening tips and tricks, help me out and share!
Image from Danielle LeBaron.