Farm Families,  Gardening,  Personal

How to Garden: A Millennial Homeowner’s Viewpoint

Who knows how to garden? Soil, seeds, water. Simple, right?

Yes, it’s that simple. BUT with a simple “Google the Great and Powerful” search, you’ll quickly realize how much more detailed and scientific gardening can get, kicking the word “simple” right out the door of your vocabulary.

As a new-ish homeowner, I have a little story to tell you about gardening and how it takes time and energy and sweat to make a garden grow. And it takes years, yes YEARS, of learning.

This is our story. (dun dun)

For the last three years, Eli (my loving and wonderful boyfriend) have made it a point to garden.

We both grew up in the country where our parents grew in us a love of growing. (For me it was a labor of love… I hated my daily summer chore of weeding the garden. And I’m sure Eli, as great as he is, weeded happily in his garden. Seriously, no sarcasm. He was probably an amazing kid to have around.)

Anyways, fast forward 22-23 years and we are living in an apartment, in Green Bay on the second floor, with a balcony and no real grass of our own. YEP. It was not what we were “used to.”

One day, we decided we were going to be “Urban Gardeners.” With the help of Menards, we got a shelf and a few planters. I think we grew beans? I really do not remember… the plants were pretty sad. But we were proud of our initiative to grow things. #adulting.

A year later we were at a duplex, still renting. This year, we got some of those orange Home Depot buckets, drilled holes in the bottom and planted peppers, tomatoes and some herbs. We even got some flowers in hanging pots. We ACTUALLY went above and beyond that year, because we started our plants from seeds IN OUR HOME!

The plants did mildly well, and we were able to make some jalapeΓ±o poppers!

We were able to do even better the second year, and Eli made some of the BEST salsa in the world. Seriously. We did not write down the recipe because he like made it up. He’s that talented.

This year, we bought a house, with almost two whole acres of grass! Hot dang, we were sooooo ready to destroy some soil with our garden. And we did. The garden is huge.

Corn, potatoes, tomatoes (two varieties), peppers (two varieties), onions, lettuce, zucchini, pumpkins, spaghetti squash and butternut squash.

The lettuce didn’t really grow. The potatoes were non-existent. The corn was not the best. Our tomatoes got a little weed-choked, due to lack of weeding. (Got lazy… and there is no room for lazy in gardening.)

The pumpkins are glorious, the zucchini was so tasty, we have like two gallons of salsa and the onions are still a-growin’.

Wins and losses. It’s all about learning.

I have a gardening book. We talked to my dad about properly fertilizing. We talked to Eli’s dad about soil tests. We are asking questions, working to figure it all out. We are debating raised beds and in-house herb planters.

It’s all an ongoing discussion-education-life thing we are working on together. Each year we learned something new. Each year something awesome grew, and each year something didn’t even sprout.

To all of you real farmers, backyard growers and urban gardeners, keep at it. It truly is a labor of love. ~Alyssa B.

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