My Deep Dark Gardening Secret

It's good to step out of your comfort zone, right? This is what I'm telling myself as I embark on the Garden Challenge, hosted by The Homeschool Village for the next two months. I have NEVER gardened - I garden vicariously through my husband, who has always been the one to keep our raised beds going. I'm very good with houseplants and potted plants on our deck, but beyond that I'm quite inept - or maybe it's that I've never tried. I'm also not one of those supermoms who homeschools, cooks, cleans, gardens - just not my forte. I'm confessing here in front of the whole blogosphere - MY NAME IS MARY AND I HAVE NEVER GARDENED!

I grew up in south Florida, just a few blocks from the beach, so we didn't really "garden". (I can identify lots of marine life and seashells, though.) My husband, however, comes from a family of gardeners, and we've always had raised beds in the two homes where we've lived. Currently we are on two acres and have a huge backyard and a large raised bed.

This spring, the garden is tilled and looking quite lonely. My sweet husband works long hours and on the weekends devotes much of his time to my son's baseball team and church commitments. The rest of yard has lots of nice landscaping that requires pruning, mowing, etc... It's a big job. He has declared he will not be planting a garden this year. What?!?! Who's going to do it? If it's going to be done it looks like it's up to the children and I, and frankly I'm very nervous.

Here's what I'm starting with; a large raised bed just next to the swing set. We have grown zucchini (I have a great zucchini bread recipe from years of them from our garden) , yellow squash, peppers, tomatoes, and lots of mint (which never dies - comes back every year) with much success in the past. We even did wildflowers and sunflowers one year, which was fun. Last year the deer got at the garden, so I know we need some way to keep the critters out. I'm so clueless.

I thought it might be easier to container garden up on our deck - I already have this out there because Southern Living Magazine had a great article about making your own strawberry containers. See? I did that.

I've also been thinking maybe we should just do a mini garden unit and container garden and also grow beans and corn with our Tops Science kit from Sonlight. Maybe this is a good place for a novice such as myself to start. I pulled out the kit and we've also read our favorite gardening books, Inch by Inch: The Garden Song (I can sing you a song about gardening, doesn't that count for something?) and The Trellis and the Seed (this is such a lovely book about faith and a seed by Jan Karon - perfect for all ages).

If you any advice for me I'd really appreciate it. I'm going to explore some links -- and this post from Susan at Prairie Lily Arts called "Just Dig In" really looks helpful, too. I'm telling myself that whatever my children and I do together will be meaningful, and certainly more than they would be getting in the public school.

For now, I'll leave you with this awesome John Denver/The Muppets video of "Inch by Inch: The Garden Song" - it's a lovely book, so look for it at your library or on Amazon - it would be a great addition to your library. Share this video with your little ones - it's so precious.