Tuesday Garden Party-Back To Basics In The Garden

How much more basic can you get than gardening? Growing your own flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables is as old as humankind.

Problem is, we’ve sorta lost our foundation in the last half of the 20th century and grown far removed from time-honored traditions of working the soil.

Now, as I sit here typing on a computer you can imagine that I don’t think we need to slave in the fields like our ancestors. In fact I’m glad for many modern conveniences like electricity, cars, and grocery stores. What I’m striving for, though, is balance. I don’t want to totally loose the do-for-yourself, independent-mindedness of those in our past. There are a lot of things to be learned from the them and their experiences.

Like getting our hands (and knees…) dirty in the soil. Grow whatever you’d like, I just encourage you to get that connection with living things, the seasons, and providing for ourselves that you can get through gardening. Personally, I get the most satisfaction from growing food that I can then feed my family with, but I wouldn’t be without some flowers, either.

Don’t think you can, or don’t know where to start? If you remember these points this, too, can be simple, frugal, and fun:

  • Start small. Really, truly. Don’t till the back 40, plant enough for the whole neighborhood and then wonder why anyone does this when you’re looking at a sea of weeds come July and feeling like all you do is water come August.
  • Build a raised bed to get the best soil and least amount of weeds.
  • Use the no-till method (or lasagna method) to make it easier and lessen the amount of weeds.
  • Use a soaker hose and a timer to water.
  • Invest in good soil from a landscape center and you will not have to fight all the weeds inadvertently transported from the back 40. Trust me, the few dollars savings is. not. worth. it.
  • Don’t be discouraged by setbacks (and there will be some) caused by animals, insects, weather, or human mistakes. It happens, so just accept it from the beginning.
  • Grow only what you like or you family will eat. Don’t be seduced by what you think you should be growing- that’s just a waste.
  • Decide how much time and money you can spend and then plan accordingly. There are lots of gadgets you can spend money on, but you don’t need them to grow things, really.
  • Start small. Oh, I said that already. But I really mean it. I’ve had so many people give up and tell me “It’s so much work” when they’ve bitten off more than they wanted to chew.

So, maybe you’re interested, but you think it’s too late in the season? Not off the hook that easily! There are lots of flowers that you can plant that bloom in the fall and plenty of vegetables that you can grow for fall harvest.

You can plant carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips in July for harvesting the end of September and October. Try a fall crop of peas, lettuce, spinach, chard and kale. Start them in August, keeping them shaded and watered. Broccoli and cabbage can be grown now for fall as well. Check your local nursery for fall vegetable starts that work for your area.

Here are some practical ideas from my garden, plus our weekly Tuesday Garden Party link ups where you can visit gardens to get more ideas and inspiration:

Want a quick raised bed without having to build one? Try cinder blocks. Here we used the blocks for a quick bed for some strawberries, and I’ve seen Garden Party links that have also used the holes to grow lettuce and other quick crops (be aware, though, that the holes tend to dry out fast in the hottest weather).

And at $1.28 each, it’s an inexpensive and permanent bed…though maybe not the most attractive.

Want proof that starting small can still produce rewards? This 3×4 bed has provided our family’s lettuce for almost two months and I’ve planted bush beans as I harvested the lettuce which will start producing in a few weeks.

How about this? In this 3×4 bed are all our storage onions for the winter. Our summer onions will see us through until about October, then these will take over and provide onions until February or March.

How about mixing some flowers and herbs in with the vegetables? Then it’s pretty and can add to your landscaping.

And when you are ready for a bigger bed, then one 8 to 10 foot bed can grow tomatoes, lettuce, basil, carrots, and peas like this one.

And hopefully you won’t be visited by deer in the middle of the night like I was. If you look closely, all the lettuce has been eaten off, and most of the carrots tops. Ugh. Here’s hoping they grow back (gee, maybe I should’ve put the wire over it earlier?).

OK, now lets see how your gardens are growing!





  1. says

    hi jami, i like what you said about modern conveniences vs. doing things the old fashioned way. it is about balance like you said, and i strive for that as well. i think another thing is that when you do grow your own food, make your own bread, or try any of those things, it gives you a deeper appreciation for what we have, and where it all comes from, and just how much work our ancestors had to do to get food on the table. without the luxury of going to the corner store in case the bread didn’t rise properly and such. anyway, interesting read. it struck a chord with me. and i’ll try and keep it shorter next time! 😉

  2. says

    Hello: Could someone advise me on how to remove a blog post from the Garden Party? My first one was messed up, so I reposted the correct one.

    Help! And Thanks!

    Athena at Minerva’s Garden

  3. says

    I totally agree with the connection you get with living things and the seasons when you garden. There’s nothing as rewarding as serving a meal that you grew yourself!

  4. says

    I didn’t get it together to link up this week. We have been working on 4h record books. But I’ll look forward to next time.
    I don’t feel so bad about crowding after seeing your onions. I’m a horrible crowder, and I still always run out of room.

  5. says

    Athena- I went to delete the post, but found you only have one up, so you must have figured it out-good for you. The “x” next to your name let’s you delete it if you need to- only you see it, btw. Thanks for the kind words, too. :-)

    Melinda- Oh man, I’m with you!

    Lexa- Thanks, we’ve pretty much constructed a fortress with wood, wire, and bamboo poles now. Just makes it a pain to water and harvest.

    Zentmrs- you Californians can plant things all times, can’t you?

    Henny Penny- Hope to see you next time- glad you stopped by!

  6. Lexa says

    Jami- Love the picture of the cabbages in the flower bed. Their leaves are like works of art. Keep up the good fight with the deer. They can’t eat everything if you grow enough!

  7. HoosierHomemade says

    Thanks so much for hosting! I’m glad I found you thru BlogFrog!
    I have a Gardening Linky on Sundays, over on my other blog, It’s A Blog Party, if your readers are interested!
    Thanks much!

  8. says

    Hi Jami, I am on garden time:) Better late than never. Looking forward to checking in with everyone…
    Keep cool! We don’t have a/c, not a problem until we have a few hot ones in a row… whew!

  9. Life in Rehab says

    Hi Jami! I made the hop from My Everyday Graces, and I love your blog! You have such neat philosophies. I’m linking up for the first time with a raised garden I built, and I’m adding your button to my Tuesday Party post so that my readers can discover your party and come play in the dirt. I’ll be back. Please feel free to pop by our insanity.

    A little rehab is good for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>