We have to admit gardening (of all kinds) was never on either of our long list of hobbies to explore or skillsets to develop. Friends and family seemed to always counter that notion – by bringing over plants, flowers and herbs. Without fail, within a few weeks, the poor gift was either in the trash or re-gifted to a green thumbed friend who would attempt to revive it. We would try to chalk this up to being plagued with “black thumbs,” but, deep down, we really knew what we needed to do. We needed to grow the courage to take on a challenging task that did not come naturally to either of us.
The Learning Curve
We eventually decided to refuse to accept this black thumb fate; and were determined to commit to helping these plants not only survive but thrive. Years passed and we dabbled in a variety of house plants and herbs. We traveled a lot and lived in a small place, so we had to make do with our environment and resources. When we got our own backyard space, we decided to expand and enhance our garden. Let me tell you – this expansion has been an undertaking. We had to learn so much about soil types, compost, fertilizer, mulch, no-dig vs. dig gardening, sun exposure, root growth, and spacing. We have also had to put in quite a bit of effort into digging up a portion of the yard to remove all grass and weeds and prepping the soil for a raised bed. There is constant thought around whether the crops are in the right place and how to have the crops best survive the environment and protect them against critters (and our children’s little hands). What has been most surprising is that it’s not overwhelming to do so, it’s actually fun and exciting! Every time that first piece of fruit, flower or vegetable sprouts: it is pure joy.
It has been so amazing to take this adventure on together as a family as well. The kids helped us dig everything up, and thoroughly enjoyed playing and digging through a pile of dirt for “dinosaur fossils.” They have also loved learning more about plants and crops, watering them and best of all – eating straight off the plant/tree!
Reaping the Benefits
This green journey has been daunting and yet so rewarding. Here are our top reasons why taking on this green thumb journey is totally worth it:
Try and learn something new
Develop a deep appreciation for growing what you eat
Utilize space (whether a yard, balcony or countertop) to grow something beautiful and useful
Excellent family bonding time
Build patience: whether you are trying determine why the crop isn’t growing or simply waiting the, up to a few years, some take to bear fruit