On top of all of our Dallas pick-your-own farm trips last summer, I cajoled Markus for a garden of our very own. Never mind that I knew nothing about gardening and had always found it relatively futile when there was perfectly nice food waiting at the store. Like most of my ideas, my new found interest was ready to take off once Markus made me something – in this case, two raised beds from this tutorial.
It wasn’t hard from there to follow my curiosity. Our family saw The Biggest Little Farm in the theaters (back in the wild days of 2019, when that was a thing) which got me very interested in soil health. Getting interested in soil health leads to a high interest in worm poop. I’ll explain more in a second.
The whole point of the garden for us was to create a family practice to find more ritual and grounding at home while also increasing everyone in the family’s education on food. Now that we’re educating at home, the garden is a special place to compare new findings with what we noticed the previous day or week, to have a common goal to share, and to divide tasks and learn about what a great job our Earth does with keepin’ trucking, so long as we do our part to steward it well.
For me, keeping a productive garden continues to be more art than science, but I feel that good prep and a little education keeps bringing me beginner’s luck. Here’s how we readied our space for a fall planting.
Knowing we were going to plant the first week of our proper Waldorf inspired home school beginning, we worked to prep the beds and amend the soil the few weeks before. For us, that meant clearing out the last stems of our summer harvest, adding Texas Worm Ranch castings (the worm poop!), Azomite (which helps soil remineralize), fresh compost and a nice layer of mulch on top – the SPF for your soil to keep the sun from breaking down the humus of the soil that’s so nutrient rich.
We watered this every day to help it all settle in and get us in the habit of our daily upkeep after planting.
This season, I got a little more interested not only in what I was planting but where I was planting it. I love Southern Seed Exchange for finding seeds and their resources on the best produce to plant for the time of year, region and average sunlight per day of your garden. I also read up on companion planting, the idea that planting certain crops next to each other can produce better harvests, in this book I originally bought my Dad for his birthday one year.
To get everyone excited, we made markers for our seeds using popsicle sticks I glued together for more writing space and a palette of outdoor acrylic paint colors. I think keeping a palette was a new way of talking about color, but also gave some limitations that inspired more pattern play to make each piece stand out.
For extra credit, this is our first season loosely following this biodynamic farmer’s planting guide Moon Calendar – an almanac for the best times to work in your garden based on the cycles of the moon.
Planting and maintaining is really the easiest part! We loved adding our seeds. Something about having little seedlings to water and check on each day makes me feel more purpose at home, which isn’t a bad feeling to have this year. It’s always fun to see what’s new, check the rain gauge and, on the most exciting days, see a toad taking shade in our crop cover and thank him for eating the bugs!
Have you started a garden with kids? We’ve slowly added these gardening supplies and gardening-inspired books and fun to our home over the past year, making the garden an even more exciting part of our day-to-day!