The Waiting Game

The seeds were nestled in the soil of their growing container and arranged on a table by the window. I excitedly checked them every few hours anticipating the green tip of a seedling even though I knew it would take weeks before I would see any real progress. While I waited, I decided to work on some other projects for our backyard.

My boyfriend worked at a local restaurant, and every time I visited him I noticed the ever-growing pile of wooden pallets stacked behind the building. After convincing him I had some great ideas for them, I loaded up the back of my SUV and hauled several loads to my backyard. There are so many unique pieces of furniture and crafts you can make with pallets, but I stuck to some fairly simple pieces because I am completely new at building anything.

The first idea I had was to create a large, comfortable seating area on our otherwise desolate deck. I gathered two pallets, sanded them, painted them with spray paint, and screwed them together. After the pallets were in place, I visited Home Depot to get some outdoor cushions and pillows. Voila! I had a very cheap, yet very functional piece of furniture that I still use often.

I also decided to create an outdoor bar area for when we had guests to entertain. I decided to just make a small bar to have a place to set drinks and glasses. I once again sanded, painted, and screwed together two pallets, but this time I bought three landscaping stones and attached them with landscape block adhesive. The stones served as the top of my bar. I added some solar-powered lights and some wine, and I once again had a cheap piece of furniture for our outdoor area.

What outdoor projects have you taken on while waiting for the garden to grow? Or do you have any other unique ideas for using leftover pallets? I’d love to hear some new ideas that I can try out!

Let’s just go for it!

Quarantine restlessness was already starting to hit me just several weeks in. I had already been tossing around the idea of a garden when a leak in our ceiling caused us to plan a trip to Home Depot for replacement ceiling tiles.

“Let’s just go for it!”, I said to myself and my boyfriend who had no idea what I was getting him into. I really should have done some sort of planning, but I was just too excited to get started. I mean- how can you not be excited when you walk into the garden center and take in all the beauty? Plants, seeds, pots, soil, fencing, decor, bird houses. Where do I start?

I started by buying about 30 packets of seeds. That should be enough right? HA. If only I had known that I would be completely overwhelmed with plants in several short months. Cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, watermelon, spinach, kale, radishes, carrots, thyme, parsley, oregano, and cilantro. I thought that should be pretty easy to handle for a first-time gardener who had no idea what she was doing.

I decided I wanted a couple of raised garden beds, so I bought one that was easily assembled and my boyfriend and I built the second one. We also bought garden tools, fencing to keep critters and my dogs out, and liner for the bottom of the beds. I also quickly realized that it takes about 15 bags of soil to fill up my garden bed, and apparently soil is not cheap. Who knew? After spending a few hundred dollars at Home Depot, I did my research.

I learned about the Hugelkultur method which includes adding sticks and leaves to the bottom of the garden bed. It takes up some space and adds organic matter to soil as it decays. I also learned that there are places you can get free dirt in your community if you can pick it up. Looking online such as Craiglist can help you find farmers or local construction sites that may have dirt or manure that can be composted.

I had my supplies! I was ready to be a gardener.

In the beginning

Hi, I’m Mary, and I know nothing about gardening.

Yet here I am starting a blog about gardening.

Why do this?

  • Because I want to share my love of all things nature. I love plants and animals, and I hope my experiences make you smile, think, or act.
  • Because I want to motivate other first-time gardeners whether it be city dwellers, kids, hobby-seekers, or just people bored out of their mind in quarantine.

If you saw me as a kid, you wouldn’t be surprised at all that I’ve become enamored with gardening. After school, you could always find me outside, shoes off, running through the yard. I had no qualms about getting my hands dirty whether it be helping my dad build a deck, playing sports with the neighborhood boys, or carefully erecting a fort in the nearby woods. My family often traveled to the mountains of southern Virginia where I’d spend my summers knee deep in the creek catching salamanders and trout. But as my childhood faded into adulthood, the forts and fishing were quickly replaced with computers, shopping, and responsibilities. For years I forgot how it felt to have the mud squish under my feet or to experience the calming bliss of being surrounded by nature all day. Until this year. COVID-19 has undoubtedly caused heartache and crisis for millions around the world, and I am not excluded from this stress and anxiety. However, one positive outcome of this confounding year has been that life as I know it was put on pause. I found myself working outside in the hammock, taking breaks to walk my dogs multiple times a day, and eventually starting my own garden.

So really, why am I doing this?

  • I want to share my journey with you. I hope it amuses you, teaches you, and inspires you.
  • I am writing about all backyard projects-gardening, building furniture, raising chickens (eventually), and whatever else comes my way!
  • I would love to connect with all gardeners, homesteaders, outdoor lovers- from those just starting out to the experienced farmer.
  • I hope that blogging will keep me motivated and learning in addition to connecting me with like-minded adventurers.

Please join my on my journey: Comment, make suggestions, laugh at my fails, and start your own garden.