Getting Over the Gardening Hump: Take the First Step!

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Beautiful young spinach with out of control peppermint in the foreground.

I posted the same images on Nextdoor as I posted here, just encouraging people to plant their own and they could use me as a resource.

The post blew up. People were hungry to learn and also share their knowledge. A couple people invited me over to hear my advice. I met one who had a big backyard with flood irrigation and with great sun exposure to the east, south, and west. Perfect for gardening.

This person was very kind but just didn't think she could garden. She wanted to know step by step how to do it. I laid it out for her.

For a first step, take a pick and pick out the soil in a 3x3 foot area. Consider it your gym workout for the day. Make sure to use your legs and total body and take it easy when picking.

Mix up the nice dark soil (it was already full of nutrition) together and pull out any weeds or grass roots.

In that 3x3' area, put in a peppermint plant, a basil plant, a tomato plant, and a bell pepper plant. Go get them already sprouted from a nursery. It should cost between $5-10 per plant, if that.

Plant them, water them, and water them whenever the soil looks dry.


Then plant beautiful sunflowers in front of their house. They were hesitant to do it, thinking it wouldn't work. I told this person that if they can read English and follow the instructions on the seed package, they can grow these things. That got the person laughing and excited.

Some people asked on Nextdoor if I was a "master gardener." Heavens, no! I'm a beginner, but I just love to try these things, try to grow everything and if something doesn't work out, try it a different way the next time. I've used this garden-growing analogy to other areas in my life, namely "growing" a business, which is something I haven't had a ton of success at to date.

So, if you want to get started, just get started! I learned by watching my mother-in-law plant peanuts in China and asking questions! It didn't look that hard and I was excited to do it when I moved back to the US.

If you have no one you know that gardens, research at the University of YouTube. Search "how to start an easy garden total beginner" and get some ideas. Or, on a search engine, "Easiest thing to plant in [your area]."

And as a reward for reading this post, please enjoy some pictures I took of some new plantings :-)

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Little lettuce buds popping up. I hope they keep growing.

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Never-ending cilantro on the right, beets on the left, broccoli in the back, Holdovers from winter and all delicious.

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No, not grass. These are little baby onions.

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Little watermelon buds look like bunny ears.

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What a broccoli crown looks like if you don't eat it. Letting it flower to collect next season's seed.

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Leeks. These take a long time to mature.

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Proud of this little tomato guy. Already has a group of flowers. I read if you jiggle them, you can get the tomato to self-pollinate.

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Little sunflowers which started in trays. Hopefully they shoot up skyhigh!

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I love this picture. Having a garden makes it so much more enjoyable to go outside.