What made you become a gardener? For me, it was food.
Let me preface by explaining who I am. I’m a 25 year old woman, a graphic designer, photographer, yoga instructor and hiker. I work in the marketing department at Roger’s Gardens and have found a love for gardens and wildlife over the years.
I wouldn’t yet consider myself a gardener – at this point, I’m more of an experimenter. But isn’t that what most young adults are? We are seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s one way to learn.
Like I was saying, I started gardening because of food; I began wondering where my food came from. I took an Ayurvedic course through my Yoga Teacher Training and the veil was lifted. I was blown away by how what we put in our body affects our overall wellbeing in such subtle but massive ways. Food doesn’t come from boxes or buildings or a microwave. My brain started turning and I found my thoughts shifting to, “How does a bean sprout? What is the difference between a seed and seedling? What soil to use? When to water?” Food is a detailed process. It’s a lot of science and experimenting and patience – ah!
I figured I should try to understand these things since I’m marketing these green, growing things. I need to understand my food because on an average I’m ingesting about 1,800 pounds of it yearly! Whoa.
I’m fairly new to the South County area. I’ve lived in townhouses and apartments the past couple years. These types of homes pose problems for a lot of gardeners. Why? Small spaces, not enough sunlight on patios, landlords do not allow manipulation of the terrain, the list goes on…
But, I recently moved into a unit with a lovely little yard and patio and a roommate who shared the same interests! This was the inception. I was ready to really grow things and I had someone to do it with. We started with edibles and raised beds.
This spring season we planted Swiss chard and kale seedlings, both of which did great and are still producing massive amounts of greens that I use in my sandwiches, salads and green smoothies. Yuuuuum.
I picked four different types of tomato seedlings from Tomatomania (Cherokee Purple, San Marzano, Momotaro, Sun Cherry Extra Sweet). They are all growing tall and strong preparing to produce their fruit. From seeds we planted zucchini, cucumbers (both pickling and regular), bell peppers, beans, radishes, carrots and beets. I was shocked at how fast the radishes and beets came up. The zucchini is massive and is currently flowering and producing. I had no idea that zucchinis created edible flowers. I’ve heard they are delicious stuffed with cheese and fried. 🙂 Our cucumbers, beans and carrots are also doing well. The only seeds that failed were the bell peppers. They sprouted, but never grew. 🙁
In addition to everything else, we planted basil, mint, blueberries, and sweet peas a bit earlier in the year. The sweet peas are beautiful as always and I’ve been cutting and bringing them indoors.
Elysabeth and I fertilized and tilled the soil using Roger’s Gardens Planting Mix and Dr. Earth’s Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer. We also made sure to plant the tomatoes in different locations from last season, so the soil was wholesome.
The both of us alternate watering and tending-to duties; only watering in the early mornings or late at night. And we haven’t watered our lawn for about a year now, because… drought – duh! We’ve even talked to our landlord about removing the lawn completely and replacing it with California Friendly® plants. Good news – if we do the work, our landlord said he would pay for it. I’m already seeing more gardening in the future!
SIDE NOTE: Twenty-somethings… and everyone for that matter, talk to your landlords about lawn removal. As the next generation, this is our issue too and taking preventative steps now could save you money while protecting our natural resources.
As of late, we’ve had trouble with pests. In an attempt to keep our plants pest free, I’ve planted citronella plants near each raised bed area. Additionally, we’ve tried eggshells as a pest deterrent. I’ve also asked for some advice about pests from Suzanne, one of Roger’s Gardens’ friendly and informative horticulturists. She recommended two organic sprays for our problems. I wanted something that would, for lack of a better word, kill the pests, but keep other helpful creatures alive, like bees. Suzanne recommended Bonide Neem Oil Spray and told me to spray in the afternoon after the bees have gone home. Suzanne also recommended Monterey B.t. for caterpillar control. So far, so good!
I look forward to my gardening time – it’s a nice debrief from my busy schedule. Time slows down and I get to see how simple steps create something wonderful and better yet, consumable! I see pasta sauces and salads and pickles in the making that I will be able to share with family and friends. It really is the little things in life and the awesome thing is that it’s never too late to start appreciating them!
– Aimee Goodwin, Marketing Team