How We Started Our Glorious Garden…

Over the years I attempted gardening with my kids with varying levels of success from growing a few things to nothing germinating at all. I had a lot to learn and seemingly NO natural instinct when it came to growing things. My mom was always growing stuff and my grandmother seemed to have magic powers when it came to growing. I never understood why I couldn’t. I have been providing childcare in my home for over 19 years, and plenty of kids were interested in growing, but I, with two black thumbs of death, just didn’t have the knowledge I needed to help the kids learn to grow anything. My daycare name is Little Sprouts Learning Garden, can you tell that I had hopes for growing? But I just figured it wasn’t meant to be because I just couldn’t find success.
Three years ago my friend Claudia called me and told me about a post card she got for a gardening class with kids. I was so excited and told her to sign me up. I’m so thankful that she called because it changed the course of my life. I never got the card in the mail. We traveled together to a nearby town for the classes for the multiple Saturdays that were required to participate. We got curriculum, tools, a 3 x 10 raised bed, soil, seeds, and a few plants. The classes had all types of information about gardening with kids, community gardening, nutrition and much more. But the main Gardening 101 portion of the class was a life changer for me. That portion was taught by Doug Walton, who has been working toward healthier lifestyles for people and communities for his whole life. He has been involved in bettering my community for years. As soon as he began to speak, Claudia and I were enraptured. We hung on his every word as we soaked up the knowledge we needed to change our future and the future of our daycare kids. He talked about soil, which was one of our main problems. In the neighborhood we live in, there is no soil, only clay on top of shale on top of boulders. There is very little organic matter and nothing grows well here without amendments. It was one of those AHA! moments for me! Doug also talked about water, space, sunlight, growing organically and everything else we needed to know for success. I continued to listen and write down information while I dreamed of growing food with the kids and passed excited notes to Claudia. She felt the same way and we were giddy with excitement dreaming out loud all the way home from class each week.
So the dream began. We started with that 3 x 10 cedar raised bed and a couple of containers. After we had some success with that, we added more containers and a few more raised beds. The second year we had a little more success in growing. We had filled all of our available garden space, so we looked for opportunities for expansion. We planted a few seeds in an empty field next to our yard but when the owner came to mow it on his big tractor, he couldn’t see our little rows of miracles and mowed them all down. My husband went out to talk to him that day and asked him if we could use the land to grow things. He said we could grow whatever we wanted on the whole 8 acres! Fruit trees, gardens, whatever. The property is zoned for a road and cannot have any structure built on it so he would love if we grew something there. I couldn’t believe my ears! So then began our expansion plans. And the rest is history!
Please leave a comment and tell me how you got started gardening! (whether you garden with kids or not) 🙂
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4 Comments

  1. Christina, this is awesome. I had no idea you had EIGHT acres to play with…I’m envious! 😉 But seriously, I’m so excited to read about your beginnings because I had assumed you were a lifelong gardener. My journey also began around 3 years ago. It is so fun to see all the stuff you are doing for the kids in your care. Keep up the awesome work!

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