Black Girl Garden Diaries- Beginner’s Guide to Gardening #1

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Spring is right around the corner, which means that gardening season prep has started. For the last 2 years, my family and I have been on a gardening journey.  Each year we learn and improve and our harvest gets bigger!

This year I want to take you guys along on my black girl gardening journey, to see what worked, what didn’t, and what the outcome ended up being at the end of the year! Only 1.3% of farmers in America are black and even fewer document their journey. I hope to provide a look into our newbie gardening experience. Hopefully, you enjoy this series, and if you have any tips or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Last Year’s Garden overview

Before we talk about what we will be doing to prep the garden, let’s recap on last year’s gardening wins and losses.  2021 was our second year gardening, and while it was better than the year prior it was kinda a dumpster fire. 

Let’s start with the successes

  • We harvested many tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapenos. It was so fun to cook with the literal fruits of our labor! My nephew loves to help me in the garden and he had a lot of fun picking the vegetables when they were ripe. 
  • The basil, thyme, and green onions THRIVED this year. Herbs are by far the easiest plants to grow and harvest. They can survive for a long time without much maintenance, and are so flavorful! I had extra thyme, so I dried it and used it in lamb stew, chicken broth, and beef and barley soup
  • I planted marigolds and hyssop as well. I planted the marigolds from seed and when they bloomed it was such an accomplishment to see them flourish. The hyssop was such a deep and vibrant green color. It never bloomed, so we’ll have to work on that this year. 

The Losses…

  • Even though we harvested a lot of produce, everything was very small. I’m not sure if this is because they were growing in pots, if I didn’t fertilize the soil enough or what. We were constantly not sure if the vegetables were ripe because of their size and sometimes things were overripe when we finally harvested them. 
  • The bell peppers, beans, and carrots didn’t really work out, they were very sorry-looking and the carrots were not sweet AT ALL. My nephew was sad about this because he was looking forward to them, because the carrots were perfect the year prior. 
  • I didn’t really want to plant watermelon last year, but my older sister really wanted it. So in June we planted watermelon. However, this was too late and we started producing watermelons in late September! The frost came, they split open, and we didn’t get to eat any. They were a little pink on the inside and smelled like watermelon, so that’s a plus. 

Spring Garden Prep

As I am writing this blog post, I am bundled up in a blanket near my space heater because it is 11 degrees F outside. We are dreary of the cold weather and snow, but the days are getting longer and it’s sunny, so there’s hope that spring is on the horizon. 

As we are going into March, I’m taking inventory of the seeds we have, which ones need to be planted inside, and what tools we need. 

We grow everything in pots, so last week I removed all the weeds and dead roots from the previous growing season and turned the soil with a mini garden rake. It just snowed and will probably snow again before I can sow the seeds outside, so I will now begin to start the seeds inside in preparation for spring.

I’m using organic potting soil, organic vegetable & tomato food fertilizer, and earthworm castings. My cousin uses earthworm castings and her gardens are beautiful, so I have hope for ours!

Next week’s post will be about which seeds we are planting and our process for starting seeds indoors. Talk to you next time!

Beginner Gardening Tools

A Few of Our Favorite Garden seeds

Danvers Carrots

Moskvich Tomato

Bunching Onion

Marketmore Cucumber

Italian Genovese Basil

True Hyssop

English Thyme

Marigold

Garden Gloves

Better Home and Gardens Organic Potting Soil

Earth Worms Castings Fertilizer

Plant Support Cages

Mini Garden Rake

More GardeningUpdates and Natural Home Recipes

How to Start Seeds Indoors – Black Girl Gardening Diaries #2

Apple Cranberry Stovetop Potpourri

Lemon Rosemary and Cinnamon Stovetop Potpourri

How To Make Whipped Shea Butter

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