"A little Dabble Do you"
Episode 1: Gardening with Sara
On this first episode, Sara talks about her passion for gardening, how we grew up gathering food and flowers from our backyard, and how there is no such thing as a black thumb.
Sara and I grew up in the garden. We were fortunate enough to have two grandfathers who shared their joy for gardening with us as kids. Our maternal grandpa, Skip, had an impressive cactus and succulent garden which Sara describes as being, “ahead of his time, he was a total hipster.”
Our paternal grandfather, Poppy, was our main source of garden inspiration though. He grew vegetables, fruits, and had flowers planted throughout our backyard which we would gather to take to our other grandparents’ house (something we still do to this day)!
I think we both took the availability of fresh produce for granted as kids. We always had fresh tomatoes, oranges, and avocados warming their shoulders on the windowsill of our kitchen and childhood chores took the form of weeding and picking fresh veggies from the garden for dinner.
As we entered college, our gardening took the backburner, although Sara does recall picking up container gardening during the six months she and I lived together in Los Osos during her senior year.
After she graduated though, Sara and her husband Justin moved north to Grass Valley, California, and lived and worked on a homestead called Fox Hollow Farm with two folks who dubbed themselves “The Hippies.”
There they learned how to compost and grow their own food (among other things).
“It was the most beautiful garden, and I’ll never forget the joy I got from walking out of my cabin into [my backyard] and ‘shopping’ for my dinner that night. We spent hardly any money on food because literally all of our vegetables came from the farm.”
Sara took what she learned from The Hippies and all these years later is sharing that knowledge as a garden coach. Her goal is to bring that same joy she felt living on the farm with The Hippies to all of her clients.
“There is no such thing as a black thumb. If you think you have a black thumb, it just means that you need to learn more!”
How to Get Started
- Leafy crops like lettuce and bok choy need at least two hours of sunlight per day
- Root crops like beets, radishes, carrots, and potatoes need at least six hours of sunlight
- Fruiting crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc, need at least 8 hours of sunlight
- Your garden or pots need to be within one hose length of your water spigot
- Setting up a drip irrigation system is pretty inexpensive and simple to set up, so do that if you can!
- However, if you must use a watering can or manually irrigate, that’s fine too but keep in mind that you will need to carefully monitor how much you water.
- Get a soil test if you are using native soil: this will determine how often you need to fertilize and water your crops. Regardless of your native soil though, Sara highly recommends topping it off with compost.
- Tt’s important to get fluffy, aerated soil for raised beds and containers as they can get compacted really easily.
- Compost and potting soil can be purchased either in bags or in bulk from your local gardening center. Talk with the attendants at these centers for their advice on what you need, they are very knowledgeable!
- Don’t pick a spot for your garden that is tucked away.
- Preferably pick a spot that is within view of your kitchen
- Remember, out of sight means out of mind--you want to make sure your garden is easy to see so it is at the forefront of your mind!
- If you have a more rustic home, raised beds made with hardwoods will look great!
- If you have a more modern style, raised beds made with Cor-Ten steel or with stones are really beautiful.
- If you’re gardening in containers, make sure your pot colors compliment each other and the design of your home--have fun with this!
These are some of the questions we answered during this episode
What are your suggestions for “rookie” gardening in containers and favorite soil mediums?
- Lettuce is the best place to start and they can be grown easily in containers. Click HERE for Sara’s blog post on choosing lettuce varieties.
- Squash and Tomatoes are super easy and can be grown in containers!
- Radishes are also easy in containers.
- Favorite soil mediums: Fox Farm products are amazing
Best garden orientation/location: North, South, East, West side of the house?
- Typically the south-facing side of your house is the best site for your garden.
- Keep in mind what might be shading that spot though. Spend a day or two watching how much sun your prospective location gets--remember, light is one of the most important parts of gardening.
- Also, keep your taller crops like tomatoes on the northeast side of the bed, so that they don’t shade everything that’s in front of them.
Can basil be planted in a shallow pot 12-18 inches deep?
- Yes, most crops can be planted in containers of a minimum of 6 inches deep!
- Bonus for growing basil, make sure you pinch it so that it becomes bushy and doesn’t flower right away!
Ideas for flowers to plant to cut for vases?
- Sara: Zinnias, Dahlias, Cosmos, and Roses
- Heather: Calendula, Nasturtiums, Sunflowers
How many seeds per hole?
- Start more seeds per hole than you think you’ll need. Then when they come up, keep the strongest seedling, and thin out (using little snippers) the smaller, less strong seedlings.
Can I grow my vining watermelons and pumpkins up a trellis?
- Yes! You just have to make sure to support the fruit when they start growing. You can use pantyhose or old t-shirts or rags, you basically just need to make a little hammock for them.
Pesticide for yellow squash and tomatoes?
- Neem oil and a little Dawn dish soap mixed with water and sprayed directly on the foliage works wonders. However, make sure you don’t spray this on your foliage when the sun is up, or you will burn and kill your plants. Sara recommends spraying at dusk.
- But first, keep in mind that plants that have a pest problem are very likely stressed. So placing a layer of compost on top of the soil surface on top of the roots of the plant can help them build their immunity to pests and diseases. Healthy soil will fix a multitude of sins!
- Also, keep in mind that when you use pesticides you will also be killing beneficial insects--do your best to only use them, therefore, as a last resort. Remember, in order to have beneficial insects, you must have pest insects too.
What are easy indoor plants?
- Philodendron and Snake Plants are very easy and don’t need much natural light!
- Indoor plants are very easy to grow, you just have to make sure you don’t overwater them. Benign Neglect is the name of the game, we have a tendency to love our plants so much that we kill them by overwatering. For these plants, let the soil dry out almost completely before watering again. The Philodendron will tell you it's ready for a drink when the leaves begin to droop a bit.
- Sara is a garden coach and has tons of resources on her blog and Instagram! Join her email list to get your free Spring Garden Checklist.
- Homestead & Chill is an amazing blog by our Instagram friend Deanna.
- For flower gardening, check out Erin of Floret Flower
- A great podcast is Encyclopedia Botanica
- A good book for practical tips on gardening is the Western Book of Edibles by Sunset Magazine
- And then our favorite book to get us fired up about homesteading is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. (Maybe we should start a book club?)
Just for fun
We still aren’t sure what to name our show! Here are some options:
- “The Sara & Heather Variety Show”
- “Daenitz Girls Do Stuff”
- “The Dabblers Variety Show”
And then MY personal favorite, which made me laugh for WAY too long:
- “A Little Dabble Do You”
View this post on Instagram
It's episode 1 of the new Instagram LIVE show my sister ( @revivalgardenco) and I have started together In this first episode, Sara talks about her passion for gardening, how we grew up gathering food and flowers from our backyard, and how there is no such thing as a black thumb. For show notes and resources mentioned in this episode visit https://www.craftandcluster.com/blog/one-gardening-with-sara/
My sister, Sara, and I are consummate dabblers; pursuing whatever diversion tickles our fancy. You might disparage the person with too many interests, saying that they are a master of none, but we would humbly disagree. In this show, we hope to encourage you to pursue your interests by sharing our own with love and enthusiasm and giving you tips on how to get started.
Join us every other Friday, while we teach each other all about the things we love to do!
Friday, May 15 at 5:00 PM PST
Instagram LIVE on the Craft & Cluster Instagram
This time, Sara will ask ME questions about my passion: Photography
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