New Beginnings for a New Gardener

By Amy
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Hope and joy fill my heart as I ponder what is in store for the New Year.

As a wife and mother, there are so many hopes and dreams that I pray for my family as we begin this new year, things like happiness, good health, success and safety, just to name a few.

And as a novice gardener I’m excited about all the things I want to accomplish outside. There’s the raised garden bed I want to build and fill with my family’s favorite veggies, like carrots, green beans and kale. I also want to try my hand at sweet potatoes and growing them from slips I start here in the kitchen.

Then there’s the potting bench I want to build out of an old double-seated swing that used to grace the front porch of our first home.

Thorn-less blackberries and raspberries will be added to the garden in hopes that our family will be enjoying them atop a big bowl of homemade ice cream after a day spent in the sweltering Oklahoma heat.

Now I realize it may be a bit nostalgic to think that I can grow veggies and a few fruits for my family to enjoy just as my grandparents did for us grandkids. And the nostalgia I feel when I remember running up and down the rows in my grandparents’ garden chasing “horny toads” and breaking out in a rash because I’d eaten myself sick by plucking cucumbers and tomatoes right off the vine, well … frankly I want that for my children, too!

I want to slow life down a little, enjoy what’s been given to us in our own small suburban backyard, step away from the hectic pace of “go, go, go” and simply live life a little better, centered more on our home, family and what we can achieve together right here. I want to bring back the simple pleasures, hard work and precious time with loved ones in such a way that I simply cannot wait to get the beds built and seedlings in the ground and see what springs to life.

And yet I must remember that with new beginnings come a new set of challenges, some seen and some unforeseen. Gardening, especially for a beginner like myself, is bound to have a huge learning curve. So, while I have grand plans, I think it’s best for me to start small, like say, with a few of my family’s favorite vegetables instead of tearing up the entire backyard and planting 20 different types of rare and ornamental vegetables. My motto this year is: Start small and learn big.

Oh! And a couple of other things: Enlist the help of a few good strong fellas like my dear hubby and teenage sons for the heavy lifting. Secondly, take advantage of all the wonderful folks who share their immense knowledge and experience through the Capper’s Farmer magazine and blogging community. Knowing when you need help and where to go to get that help is HUGE when starting any project, big or little.

So I invite you to follow me this season as I head back to a simpler, quieter life and test out the results on my unsuspecting family here on my little piece of suburban heaven, or at my Sundays in the South blog.