I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
July 12, 2011
I have always, always, ALWAYS wanted to have a backyard garden.
However, I have a slight problem: I have killed every single plant I have owned. And there’s another small matter: I hate bugs. Also dirt. And sweating. These things combine to make me rather, erm, gardenally challenged.
Which is probably why I have always, always, ALWAYS wanted to have a backyard garden.
Fate intervened in the form of an e-mail from Backyard Discovery. Last year, Backyard Discovery sent us the most awesome playset ever. It’s so awesome, in fact, that it continues even now to be THE hangout spot for the under-ten crowd here on my street.
This year, the company asked if I’d like to try out one of its self-contained gardens. I considered that e-mail to be a hand delivered message from God. THOU SHALT GROW A GARDEN, that e-mail might as well have said. AND THOU SHALT PROVE TO THY KIDS THAT THOU CAN KEEPEST PLANTS ALIVE.
How could I say no to God?
The garden arrived one fine spring day in a big box and we somehow conned a dear friend into helping us put it together a few weeks later.
Here it is, in all its initial, just-built glory.
That tube you see there connects to a spray hose inside the garden, which lets me water what’s inside! And the gate, of course, closes in order to keep out rabbits and deer and nosy children! And the trellis gives climbing plants a place to go! And Hubs has ordered a truckload of new pea gravel to spread inside the gate and around the perimeter of the garden!
So, as you can see, the fates had spoken. I finally had my garden. And after a half-dozen trips to Home Depot, I also had enough soil to fill its containers.
I also had two eager helpers, ready to assist me in planting. You may think their rake and shovel are the wrong tools for the job, but you’re wrong… Whenever I need to do something in the garden that’s a little too tricky for a 4 and 7-year-old, I set them to raking the perimeter, and “digging up weeds!”
Works every time!
Since we don’t have a place in our backyard that gets full, unfiltered sunlight, I opted to plant an herb garden as opposed to vegetables that need a ton of sunlight. I love to cook, and while I can get fresh vegetables cheaply at the local farmers’ markets, I pay waaaaay too much money for tiny packets of fresh herbs at the supermarket.
That said, I also opted to start with my garden with actual plants, rather than seeds.
I was afraid that seeds were beyond my gardening capabilities.
Seeds scared me.
I carefully transplanted a few pots of basil and Punky watered them. The kids’ watering can was a little easier for her to negotiate than the more high-powered spray nozzle. But make no mistake- the built-in spray hose is probably my favorite aspect of the garden. It makes watering SO much easier.
A few days later, we went to Home Depot to look for more herb plants, only to be informed that they had taken away the last of their herb plants the day before.
Therefore, I took a deep breath and bought…
Lots of seeds!
And then I came home and planted them, this time with the help of my trusty assistant, Bruiser.
We planted all kinds of seeds in our garden- Oregano, chives, rosemary, cilantro. And I tried a few vegetables, too– bibb lettuce, mesclun mix salad, gourmet salad, and cherry tomatoes. (That stalk you see in the back of the garden is a baby cucumber plant a friend gave to Hubs. I don’t have high hopes for that one, but he insisted on planting it. WE’LL SEE!)
Once our seeds were in the ground and duly marked, Bruiser watered them carefully with the spray nozzle while I supervised. And even though we followed all the steps listed on the backs of the seed packets, I have to admit, I was pretty sure nothing would come up. Because, as I’ve told you before, I cannot garden. And then Backyard Discovery would want its garden back. And oh boy, there would be TROUBLE!
Still, each day the kids and I went out and watered our dirt. No one could say I didn’t try.
And then, a few days later, WONDER OF WONDERS…
I AM A GARDENER. BELIEVE THAT.
I’d say my children are now gardeners too, but I’ll be honest with you. While I’m busy slaving away in our herb garden…
It’s not too late for you to start a garden this summer! I’m taking a relaxed approach this summer and just getting used to the idea of growing things- and keeping them alive! Here are some great online resources on planting a garden with your kids:
So! Will my seedlings survive my black thumbs? Will the children ever help? Will I remember to water my new plants? Will a swarm of locusts leave us herbless at the end of the season?
Find out in my next installment of… HOW OUR GARDEN GROWS.
And in the meantime… if any of you gardening experts have any words of advice, please leave them in the comments!
Disclosure: I’m a brand ambassador for Backyard Discovery, and received the self-contained garden and a basket of accessories so that I could write about my pathetic attempts at growing… anything. Also, special thanks to the folks at Little Tikes for sending the kids gardening and yard tools of their own!