Hi, I’m Colleen, Brian’s younger sister. Over the past two years, I’ve transformed our back lawn into an edible garden of Eden. Brian asked me to start a weekly post to share my gardening tips, so here’s a little intro before I get started.
This is only my second year getting down and dirty in my gardens. Last year I only had one vegetable garden, and now I have four main garden areas, including an enlarged vegetable garden. In addition to my vegetable garden I have grapevines (aka Marquis Vineyard), a pumpkin patch (which also has watermelons and melons), and my mini corn field. My vegetable garden has sunflowers, eggplant, red bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, lettuce squash and zucchini. This is my first year planting corn, grapes, pumpkins, watermelons and melons. In addition to the “edible” gardens, I have many other flowering gardens scattered around the front and back lawns.
My favorite and easiest thing to plant is eggplant. It flourishes so fast and I always end up with am abundance of them! Plus, eggplant is good to eat: on pizza, in ziti, grilled, breaded, baked, etc! Cucumbers and celery are great, too, especially if you are impatient like me!
My number one tip is: always check on your plants and their soil. Make sure your plants are always green. Yellow coloring on the leafs can mean lack of water or a possible disease in the plants; trim back the unwanted leaves. And always check for veggies, they grow faster than you think!
If you’re growing crops, rotate where your plants grow every year (crop rotation) to make sure your soil is balanced with nitrogen. I would call myself an organic gardener, meaning I use no chemicals in any of my gardening. For fertilizer I use eggshells or coffee grounds. These items give nitrogen and nutrients the plants need to flourish. Not to mention, these products are inexpensive especially if you consume a lot of eggs and coffee, like me! I keep plastic containers next to our Keurig to collect coffee grounds and shells. Once I gather a good amount, I’ll bring them down to the gardens.
For me, gardening is the best way to relieve stress. It’s a known fact that gardening at least 3 hours a day can expand your life expectancy! You get Vitamin D from the sun, you’re constantly exercising and moving, and you’re eating healthy, organic vegetables and fruits you plant. Our dad makes fun of me for always being barefoot (I’m such a hippie). Studies show that being barefoot for at least 20 minutes a day causes positive electrons in your body and creates a happy and calm effect. So keep calm and garden on!