There is no satisfaction sweeter than biting into something that you grew yourself.
When I was little, my mom had a veggie patch. I'd routinely sneak out on balmy summer days and nestle myself among the tall pea plants, popping sun-warmed sweet peas from their shells and eating until I gave myself a tummy ache. When I got really brave (as I didn't have the cover of dense foliage), I'd rip a few carrots out of the soil and trot away as quickly as I could to rinse them under the running hose.
I thought I was being so naughty... when in retrospect, my mom was probably laughing at me from the kitchen window. The only kid who sneaks vegetables.
I think gardening is absolutely magical, which is why I was super excited when earlier this season Scotts Miracle-Gro reached out to me wondering if I'd like to join their Gro Crew! I was glad to have the nudge to get started on this year's garden (I skipped last year due to a big move and small-ish baby), and to have a community of experts on my side sounds pretty darn good to me.
I'm really hoping you'll garden along with me! I'd love to see what you are growing, and if you've never done it before, I hope maybe I can give you the extra encouragement and little bits of wisdom you need to get started.
Now is the time to plan! Figure what you want to plant and when to plant it, read up on any questions you have, buy your supplies, etc. Scotts Miracle-Gro has a great garden guide to use as a starting point.
I've spent the past few weeks reading gardening books, buying seeds, and mapping out my space. I live in downtown Vancouver, so the outdoor area I'm working with a patio - it faces West and is about 8' square. I get a good amount of direct sun from early afternoon to sunset. (Even if you don't get tons of sun, there is still plenty you can grow).
My first project was to sort through my seeds and decide (mostly prioritize!) what I want to grow. It's a small area, especially once you factor in a BBQ and a beloved toddler splash table.
I went out and bought several bags of Miracle-Gro Potting Mix (they also have an organic version called Miracle-Gro Organic Choice that I was excited to try, but my local store didn't carry it), six 8" pots for herbs and flowers, four 12" pots for vegetables, and some little biodegradable seed starting containers that you can plant directly in a pot rather than disrupting the roots by transplanting.
I also picked up a small notebook, and I'm planning my containers like you would plan where to seat guests at a wedding - with diagrams that map out which plants are good companions for one another in what size pots. I've consulted the Farmer's Almanac guide to planting dates for seeds, to decide what I'm going to start indoors and what I'll plant directly outdoors.
I'm excited for you to get started on your own gardening path with me! If you share any pictures, tag them with #IGrewIt!
And I have a fantastic gardening giveaway for you to get you started! It includes a gardening bag filled with tools, vegetable seeds, Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Multi-Purpose Plant Food, Miracle-Gro Flower Magic (which is a mix of 29 flower seed varieties + plant food + mulch - just shake and a flower garden grows!), and a $50 Home Depot gift card to get you started with soil, planters, etc.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. There are several ways to enter, one mandatory, plus four bonus entries. Follow the prompts to log in, then complete just the first task, or do them all for multiple entries (many you can do once each day). Contest ends Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM PST. The winner will be contacted shortly after by email and must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be drawn. Required action for the winning entry must be verifiable, so please make sure to follow the instructions. Contest open to Canadian residents only. (I'm sorry US and overseas readers! Gardening/soil/fertilizer products have different regulations in different countries, so although the products are available in both, they are not interchangeable. I tried to make it work, but it wouldn't this time. I promise another good giveaway for you soon! Please garden with me anyway! xoxo) Good luck!