Lessons from a First Time Gardener

I always assumed that I was a gardener.  Ever since I was little I could identify a squash plant from 100 paces and knew that making a salad usually involves heading outside with a pair of sissors.

During my 10 years of renting house and apartments in Utah and Oregon I always had potted herbs and maybe a tomato plant or two so I assumed I was a gardener.

Then we bought a house, built raised beds, and planted our little hearts out.  And I realized that, up until that point, I was only a wanna-be-gardener.  Helping to harvest your parents garden does not a gardener make!  I realized that I knew a lot and there was a lot a didn’t know.  This year has been an awesome learning experience with many tasty lessons along the way.

Lessons from a First Time Gardener

1. No matter how pretty and lush your tomato plants look at the beginning of the summer, by August they will just look sad. What they lack in beauty they make up for in bounty!

2. Cucumbers taste most amazing when they are fresh from your own garden (just don’t let them get too big or they’ll be bitter instead of sweet!).

3. Strawberry plants spread like crazy!  The 8 plants we bought for $8 at the farmers market back in May have at least doubled already!  We may have to dig up the yard to give them more space by next year…

4. There’s nothing more satisfying to watch grow than peas! You could literally watch them grow, you know, if you didn’t have anything better to do…

5. Some herbs are great to grow from seed, like oregano.

6. Some herbs are better to buy as plants, like rosemary.  I started these seeds months ago!

7. Herb gardens are best grown within steps of the kitchen door.

Now if only I can figure out what to do with all that sage…

What lessons did your garden teach you this year?  Leave a comment and share your tips!


Spread the Positive

Wow, my cup runneth over from all the wonderful comments, compliments, and suggestions in response to yesterday’s post!

Thank you! I really, really appreciate my regular commenters AND it’s really, really fun to hear from first timers, so thank you all.

I am looking forward to addressing each of your questions/suggestions for posts in the coming weeks!

A reoccurring comment I have received over the last year is that I seem to be a very positive and happy person.  While I love that this is how I come across it always takes me a bit by surprise.  I am not bubbly or universally optimistic.  I can be moody, especially when hungry or tired.  I am however, quite grounded and in general I am happy and positive.  Afterall, what’s the alternative? To be an Eeyore?

I have encountered many people in my life who I refer to (in private!) as Eeyore‘s.  You know that type, just like the Winnie-the-Pooh character they seem to walk through life in a storm cloud.  Something is always wrong and summer is too hot and winter is too cold.  While around an Eeyore I work to remain upbeat and positive and always leave the interaction reminded that there are many ways to look at a situation and many ways to put your own spin on it.

Here are some ways I spin things into the positive.

  • I keep my eyes on the big picture.  Sometimes the big picture is that I am healthy, in a wonderful relationship, and have a roof over my head.  Sometimes the big picture is that once I get through whatever situation is causing me stress I can move on; this stress is temporary. Sometimes the big picture is that things could be so much worse, which leads me to…
  • Gratitude. In some ways it’s the opposite of the big picture, instead of looking broader it’s looking closer and practicing gratitude for the daily things, food, relationships, a great run, a body that loves to run, the ability to grow a garden.  Gratitude makes me pause and recognize all the great things, big and small, that make up my daily life.
  • Life’s not fair.  When I was a kid I was known for pouting and saying “it’s not fair!” (except I had trouble with my R’s and it came out more like “fah” and I had a bad bowl cut and a big belly.  Yeah, years 8-10 were not my glory days.)  These days whenever I feel like “it’s not fair” I remind myself that while, yes, all things are not equal, I can choose to believe that the scale tips in my favor more often than not.
  • The power of choice.  A million choices that I made brought me to the life I lead today and I make a million choices all the time to move forward in a certain trajectory.  There are things that happen to us in life but the mostly we choose each and every second how to live out life.
  • Balance.  The quality of my life is increased dramatically when I find that perfect balance between work (I love feeling productive!), exercise, downtime (I really like T.V), social time, sleep, adventure, and creativity.   These are the elements that make my life satisfying and so I prioritize them on a daily basis.
  • Exercise and good nutrition.  Pure and simple.  I whole-heartily believe that regular exercise and high-quality, nutritious food lead me to be a happier, more positive person each and every day.
Negative and positive energy are infectious and I choose to spread the positive.
Have a beautiful day my friends, I’m off to interval train and hit the mat.