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Gardening: Therapy for Mamas and Fun for Kids

I was not born with a green thumb. Even though I grew up in the country… and my dad is a farmer. Don’t get me wrong, I played in the dirt ALL THE TIME. Just not by gardening.

Starting Small

Until I got married, gardening was far from my mind. When my husband and I moved to Colorado Springs as newlyweds, I decided to put in some planters on the ledge of our tiny apartment patio. I needed something to nurture, to care for on a daily basis.

Well, if you’ve lived in Colorado Springs long enough, you know that gardens don’t last long unless they are hardy or covered. My garden was neither, and it was completely wiped out by a hail storm a month after planting it. I cried big tears for my poor garden. Those were my babies! From that day on I vowed to never plant a garden in Colorado unless I could protect it (most of the time). And I was not about to give up on gardening.

Learning from Mistakes

So when we moved to our first house, we decided to build a raised garden box.

My husband came up with a solution to protect our garden with a netted canopy. It lets rain in, but protects our hard work from the harsh elements and unwanted moochers (aka squirrels and bunnies). It was mostly a success, except when water collected at one end of the garden and drowned my bell peppers. We have reworked the garden bed so that it doesn’t do that anymore. Hazards of the hobby, I guess.

I have also planted some vegetables, such as tomatoes and green beans in pots that can be moved under shelter if a storm is threatening to wipe them out. I won’t always be home when a storm hits, so there is some risk. But the risk is worth it.

Growing things is therapeutic to me. It’s like watching magic happen, especially when waiting for the first sprouts to emerge out of the soil.

The Next Generation

My daughter loves helping me dig in the dirt, plant seeds, and water them day after day. It’s a great summer activity for kids.

Every day we put on our gardening hats, grab our watering cans (a mini one for her), and head out in the sunshine to care for our little plants. It’s one of my favorite parts of our day. We are bonding, and she is learning patience and gaining wonderment from the magic of it all.

Other Gardening Tips and Tricks

Besides protecting my garden, there are other things I have discovered that have helped me have {some} success in gardening.

Unless I am sure that the weather has completely switched over from winter to spring, I don’t plant anything before Mother’s Day. It often will still be freezing at night until then. Seeds won’t germinate, and sprouts will die in freezing temperatures. And often, we get snow on Mother’s Day. Which is in May. Halfway through spring. CRAZY.

I have learned to plant things that grow well in our climate. Colorado’s weather is dry and mostly sunny. Plants that need a lot of humidity don’t grow well here. I have found great success with lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, and green beans. But melons, peppers, and cauliflower have not done well. So I don’t plant them. I grow more of the vegetables that grow well. Now, I am not an expert on flowers, but I do have some variety planters on my patio that do really well. I buy them almost fully bloomed and they bloom all summer.

Colorado’s weather is also very random. Sometimes I water my garden expecting it to be dry and hot all day, but then an unexpected downpour hits in the afternoon and my garden is drowning. Too much water can be a bad thing, so I will skip watering the next day or two to let the garden dry a bit. I try to be on a watering schedule, but it just doesn’t always work out. A funny thing is Colorado Springs is at the same time I am getting a torrential downpour, a friend who lives a mile south of me texts me, “It’s dry and sunny over here! My kids are still playing in the backyard!”

Bringing a Bit of Country to the City

I never thought I would come to love gardening so much. I think it brings me back to my country girl roots, growing up in rural Idaho. Gardening is the closest I will get to a “living country” in the city. As they say, “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” *Cue cheesy country song*

Happy gardening!

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