Homemade Living Take 2: Grow

For last week's edition "Stitch", click here.

Grow.  Some look at that word and think or say "I can't".  You've heard someone talk about their brown thumb, how everything dies, how they just weren't born a gardener.

I look at that word and think the opposite. I say "I can grow that!"  and "You can totally grow that!"

Now, my 'can do' attitude about growing things hasn't always panned out to be successful.  Every year, I have huge aspirations and no matter what I do, something I am trying to grow just doesn't..well...grow.  Even the experienced gardener has great years and not so great years.  That's the thing about gardening.  Sometimes it's bountiful, sometimes not so much.  The unfortunate part is that so many focus on their gardening failures and give up.

Well, here I am to tell you that even if you haven't had success in the past, you CAN have success going forward.  Sure, not everything in my garden grew this year, but the majority did.  And we've been enjoying the harvest all summer long.

Switching gears, I'll give you the background on how I became a gardener.

I was raised on a 50 acre hobby farm. My parents planted a garden every year.  I can still see the rectangular plot all plowed and waiting for tiny seeds.  I see the large patch of rhubarb on the end.  I picture the vegetables we always planted thriving.  Corn, onions, peppers, peas, green and yellow beans, carrots, beets (NOT my fave), zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, squash, pumpkins. I must be forgetting some. The part of the garden closest to the house was always relatively weed free, with the jungle of weeds at the end of the garden closest to the chickens. I entered some of our produce in the county fair, earning numerous blue ribbons.  Summer living included fresh produce, home picked. That's just how it was.

I did have a gardening hiatus come college.  I did try once in an apartment building, but our patio wasn't lucky enough to receive any southern sun exposure.  Not much happened.

When we bought our first house, my one requirement was enough land to have a garden.  We did buy that, but I underestimated how many trees needed to be removed for enough light our woody plot.  I did put some tomatoes in five gallon buckets and tried to enlist my husband to follow this tomato bucket moving schedule to "catch" the sun as best possible.  Yeah, so, he didn't play that game long.  Although I couldn't vegetable garden, I really dove into perennials.  It's amazing what you can grow in part shade to full shade!  I think I counted 60+ varieties I planted/maintained in a lot that really didn't have anything other than weeds before I started.  Although I couldn't grow vegetables, it was those years early in my marriage that I concentrated on perennials.  I see now how awesome it was that I couldn't grow veggies, as it was my opportunity to learn about perennials.

My dear neighbors, who had become like-family knew how much I wanted to garden.  They offered up their farm, walking distance from our home.  I was over the moon excited.  The neighborhood team of horses plowed the land and I got started.  Years after proved to be quite interesting, especially given I'm the one who does planting in our household.  I planted very pregnant one year, harvested full term and preserved as a first time mom with a newborn.  Then I planted a large garden with a not quite one year old who was entirely too helpful.  Then I planted with a not quite two year old ready to pop.  And then preserved with my two helpers.  Given our garden wasn't such that I could tend it when my children were sleeping, it was quite the adventure.

Fast forward to this year, I am living in the home of my dreams and have a garden where the original owners tended a garden for 100+ years.  It's a spot that fed a family of 7. This is the first year it has been worked in a number of years. Although a recent septic project led to sandy soil being deposited right on top of the beautiful soil (pft), it still produced a lot. It has been so nice to finally have our garden at my fingertips. And a greenhouse type setup facing south for seedlings (squee!). I can see the garden from my kitchen window. I can just go outside and harvest what I need for dinner.  It's been marvelous.

So, what have I grown this year?  You can find previous gardening posts through linking here.  I'll try to remember what I planted.

Started apple trees, raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes and strawberries.

Basil, parsley, oregano, chives.

Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, broccoli, onions, garlic, kale, swisschard, different types of lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, cabbage, green and yellow beans, peas, corn, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, sugar pumpkins.  I may be forgetting some, but all in all, a lot. Most all was from seeds, not bought as seedlings.  I also started some cosmos, sunflowers, marigolds and morning glories. And more perennials than I can count.

As growing up, every meal this summer has been driven from garden harvests.  And there's always home grown flowers on the table. And I couldn't be happier.

My challenge to you is to start thinking now what you can grow next year. If you're new, pick one thing and give it a whirl.  Keep at it.  I'm sure you'll develop your green thumb.

And if you got through all that, make sure you pay attention to the next part.  A giveaway.  Yes, that's right.  Details here. Pretty much all you have to do is share my blog and tell me.  I keep my giveaway chance of winning fantastic (I've been known to make more if I have lots of entries).  So enter!  And thanks for reading along.


I'm posting today, along with:

Next Wednesday is:


  1. Fabulous post! What a dream life. I so love the picture of your little one digging in the dirt with his truck. So happy for you!

  2. So neat to hear about your gardening background. Your plants did really well this year! I didn't start gardening until just a few years ago, so it's very much an ongoing learning process for me.

  3. I've tried to garden.... I've tried again and again... our lot is too shady to grow much, we got a handful of peas and 2 tiny tomatoes this year. The pumpkins blossomed and nothing came... and the cucumbers got flooded out. I think I'm just going to wait until we have a better plot of land to garden on, and frequent my Mom's garden!

    BTW I shared your blog and I'd love to be entered to win a bag :D

  4. I loved reading your gardening background. I am currently dealing with the issue of too much shade. We took a few more trees down hoping that will be enough next year. I love having a buffer between us and the neighbors so I hate to remove anymore. Your photos of your garden bounty are beautiful. I bet gardening and preserving with young kiddos is quite the challenge!



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