Friday, June 6, 2014

Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom, Growing a Garden and Some Kids Too!

Here is the boy and his trusty Aussie, sitting atop the hill we found.
Are you a gardener? It really is one of my most favorite things in the whole, wide world!! And for many reasons, such as; connecting with my creator through nature, even though I have been gardening on my own for going on 14 years now, it never ceases to amaze me that when hard, dry seeds are planted, that new life arises! It's one of the most satisfying things for the soul. It allows you to put effort, work, time, and energy in and then receive a gift of the harvest. It allows me special time with my children. Children, even when very small love to garden! If sprinkling seeds isn't enough, there's their curiosity of waiting to see if a plant will grow from that sprinkled seed. They just love to "help!" It's very bonding for a family to work and play together in a garden. It also gives children a great sense of responsibility and delayed gratification as they get older.

The planting time for an "early" garden (veggies that can handle a little frost and cooler weather) here in our area is Mar. 15. So we have been preparing for this by cleaning up any garbage that may have blown into our garden. Adding fertilizer and compost. Tilling the ground. And this year I am making some changes to my garden. I am adding some grow boxes. (I will do another specific post on how I made these, it's pretty rad and eco friendly!)

I only have one little one home with me during the day, while the other 2 are in school. He and I have such fun together! Today we had an especially fun day prepping and planting the garden. I have a super, duper neighbor who also likes to garden. Her name is Mary. She is an amazing gardener. We love to discuss our gardening "problems" (of course there are some "bad" things that come along with gardening such as pests, rodents, WEEDS)  or things that are working with each other. (It's very handy to have a friend or mentor who loves to garden to bounce ideas off of and learn from.) Besides my own Mother, Mary is the best gardener I know. I will introduce you to her more formally in the next, making grow boxes post. So Mary has this amazing store of worm compost. Basically she started it from a small bin and it has grown to about 25 feet long and 1-2 feet high of this beautiful black, worm created compost. She puts her table scraps (not meat or citrus) on the pile and the worms make it into compost.

The boy and I travelled next door to collect some of this wonderful garden gold! We rode on our trusty chariot (otherwise known as our Honda 4 Wheeler) pulling a little trailer. The boy loves to go on 4 wheeler adventures. Once we got there and were waiting for Mary, we spied a large muddy puddle (good thing Mom was thinking and had boy wear his waterproof Muck Boots!) and a big dirt pile. While waiting we made good use of our time splashing in the puddle, throwing gravel into the puddle, running through the puddle, running up and down the hill and observing our friends the bees who had come out of their hives to enjoy the nice day!

We loaded the compost up in our trailer. (Which means lots of shoveling and that's good for the winter flabs!) And headed back to our place with our "treasure." (The boy loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates so we role play and pretend a lot!)

Here's the one of the puddles he just couldn't resist! (I don't really blame him!!)

Here is my friend's gorgeous worm dirt!!

And these are the little guys I want to take home.

And this is called work cut out for me!! Lots of good shoveling!!

And my first contribution to the new compost bin!!

Then we headed over to our local Hardware Store for some red paint. I wanted the boxes to match our chicken coop that's just behind the garden and it's red. We painted our boxes and man was that fun! The boy and I started, and then his sisters joined in as soon as they got home. (yes...allowing children to paint is messy! But outside in the dirt in clothes you don't care if they get ruined...the many wonderful things that can happen! My middle daughter said to me "Mom, you are the best mom ever!" (I don't think this is true, but she says it every time we do something she really likes. And then she told me thanks for letting her paint because it was so much fun! They did a surprisingly good job and I love that they have fun helping me in the garden. (And I think it bonds us when I allow them to do "adult" things because they feel I trust them to do so.) I unloaded our treasure into our boxes (more shoveling, and yes, I will feel it tomorrow! It seems I have a case of the winter "flabby arms" going on!) And then we planted some seeds. This is probably my kids favorite part. And they like to sprinkle water over the seeds with small watering cans too!
Here is the little guy doing a smashing job on the paint detail! Only 3 yet he can do a lot to help in a garden.

I am working now to work less later. I am trying to get rid of some of my "trouble" weed spots and am putting down black landscape fabric and will cover with gravel in areas I'm not growing things (such as the perimeter and in between boxes) I do really well at keeping my garden weed free in the Spring and early Summer when all there is to do there is water and weed, but as soon as you add harvesting and preserving those veggies I run out of hours in the day and weeding is the first thing to go! So this year I'm making some improvements. I'll keep you updated in my changes. I'm excited!!

So until next time from my little "Patch-A-Heaven" I bid you farewell and hope I've convinced you to start a garden (if you don't do it already!) It really is a wonderful thing to do and so rewarding in so many ways!
While we were at it, we thought the old chicken coop that is behind the garden could use a new coat of paint, so we did that too.

I brought in a load of Dairy compost also to mix into the boxes and into the garden soil that won't be in boxes.
I love a man that can appreciate good quality, tilled up soil! Just look at him running his hands through it!!(I love to do that too!!)
We got our soil prepped, our boxes in and painted, then we planted them. They are now growing wonderfully! (I'll take some current pics and do an updated post soon!)

If you haven't tried a garden....I challenge you to start a small one, you will love it!!

Happy Planting!!

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