I do my best gardening in the wintertime.

"I get pleasure from simple things. 
Home baked bread, homegrown vegetables and making things from what I find around me." 
-Alys Fowler

I used to think neighbors chatting about gardening was merely small talk but I've changed my mind. The fact that a tiny seed goes into the ground and becomes a plant that becomes a tomato is a miracle every time. Gardening is transforming to the spirit. To talk about it is to diminish it's meaning, and yet, it's completely impossible not to talk about it. To garden is to dream, or as someone said, "to believe in tomorrow".

Gardening gets me excited to go from the [relative] quiet of winter into the first bursts of spring. I am so new at it that I'm still amazed when anything grows successfully but every year it gets better and I have a bigger perspective for what's possible. I learn by watching my neighbors, asking my mother-in-laws advice and keeping an eye on who is plowing and who is planting. 
Last year there are a few things especially that I'm excited to do more of this year. The photo above is the most delightful salad that makes an effortless lunch. When things started coming along nicely I would put some oil, balsamic vinegar, salt pepper, avocado into a bowl then go out to the garden and pluck whatever looks nice to add... micro-greens, herbs, cucumber, whatever seems inspiring.. then toss it all together and eat it right there in the garden under the warm sunshine. 

"Heaven is a homegrown cucumber". -Alys Fowler

This photo, a bowl of peach salsa with the ingredients that I used to make it written on it, reminds me that I'd like to do that more often this year. It's such an easy way to keep track of sporadic combinations that I stir together and would otherwise forget.   

Mulching heavily is so helpful and seems to be one key to success for me. Not only is it good for weed control but it keeps more moisture in and also adds nutrients to the soil. One day I hope to establish a garden with a Back to Eden method of layering and composting. Follow the link and watch the documentary, so beautiful and inspiring, full of spiritual analogies. It's hard not to get overambitious but I've also learned to start slowly and try to keep it small. Being completely overwhelmed with weeds or an overabundance of vegetables and the pressure that you need to can and preserve everything is a good way to burn out quickly and then miss the joy of growing things. I like to do it for the joy. Alys Fowler has a wonderful series called The Edible Garden. I love to watch it in the winter and dream about the coming year. Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious and she has a beautiful way of letting her garden grow "wild". It should be productive and beautiful, she says, and I agree. What could be more wonderful.


  1. I've seen this quote-
    To garden is to dream, or as someone said, "to believe in tomorrow". as attributed to Audrey Hepburn.
    Thanks for the link to Alys. I've read a few of her things, but know I will enjoy these videos.

  2. I am completely inspired by you. I used to love helping my mother, and watch the miracle of new growth every year. However, gardening in the south has proven very difficult, and I've nearly given up hope. However, I pinned the picture of your lovely small gardens, and that is my motivation to give it a try yet another year. Also, I can't help but think that you and Ruth must have enjoyed sharing this love of gardening. ♥

    1. You're right, gardening further south is a completely different story. Although my mom has had some success lately with her raised bed. It requires a completely different way of thinking about gardening. It's possible to grow vegetables in pots as well, even one cherry tomato plant that's successful would be wildly exciting. =) And the benefit of being in zones 8 and 9 is that you can grow almost all year! and yes, Ruth was an amazing gardener. Our last conversation that I remember about the subject was her experiment with growing celery, she told me you can tell there's going to be an amish wedding when they have celery growing in the garden. What will they think when they see yours, we wondered.. laughing all the while. :)

  3. i hope sometime in the not to distant future to enjoy a garden. you are truly an inspiration! o yes, and i love your goat. i want one.

  4. Goodness your garden is spectacular! I am with you...I get overambitious this time of the year and yearn to just plant every seed I can get my hands on! Looking forward to checking out Alys Fowler's videos. She sounds positively wonderful!


  5. I love this post! The pictures are amazing and complement the thoughts so well. What do you use to mulch with in your garden?

    Lauren @PaintTheTownAG

    1. Thanks Lauren! Last year we bought a load of mushroom compost cause it was the first year for this garden plot. I also got the farmer to bring an old bale of hay over that was starting to rot. I like grass clippings too, as long as there's not a lot of weeds in them.

  6. Aw, I love this, Ames. :) I have been thinking about you and wondering how things are going with you being wintered in so much this year. I shall call you soon.... Love and prayers!


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