Valerie Ihsan

author, editor, dog lover

Okay. I'm a little afraid of this because it's a year-long commitment. But I'm sick of not living a more homestead-y lifestyle, even though it's something I crave and aspire to. AND SO, I am setting myself a Garden Challenge. And anyone can join me.

I recently was inspired by Rachael Herron's Patreon work. She's set herself a theme for the year. To Replenish. Each month she's going to focus on one thing that feeds her soul--reading, spending time in nature, being in water--and then write about it for her Patreon subscribers.

So I thought I'd do something similar. Use Rachael's idea as the blueprint for my own. Only my blog posts will be on gardening. My successes and failures. Nothing as elaborate as her essays, but if I can just commit to doing something in the garden every month and telling you about it, I'll be way ahead of my own game. Historically, I struggle mightily to only do a couple random things a year in the yard and then feel bad about myself the rest of the year. But no more!

This year I will do garden-y things each month and live to tell about it.

Here's my start:

In December, I mostly Ali moved a big pile of dirt into two stock tanks so we could plant bamboo in them (as a natural screen from the neighbors; our hot tub is right there.) We'd been talking about doing that for two years. So, win!

I also planted garlic for the first time ever. And (spoiler alert), it's growing!

In January, due partially to a very mild winter this year (in the Willamette Valley) and to my determination to finally plant something after years of not, Ali and I planted half the bulbs (and a whole garden bed full) that I had, knowing that is was months too late to be doing it. But still! I had to do something garden-y.

Also, I transplanted a giant thyme plant into the back yard, which the dogs promptly started peeing and pooping on. Eeew! (I don't even know if I can eat it after washing it now.)

And now February, I trimmed a tree, a shrub, and pruned three rose bushes. And that, my friend, is a first.

I've already done way more this year on my yard/garden than I have in the last two years combined. I guess it comes from moving all that dirt at the very cusp of the year turning. I entered the new year with one of the longest running To Do's ever to be on my list crossed off.

I guess it takes buying this and needing the carport to park it in. (Exit: the dirt pile in the driveway.)


What are you doing in your yard or garden right now? Go on! I need inspiration. Tell me in the comments section.

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Find more articles on my archived blog, Dust Yourself Off (also known as Insane Parents Unite!).

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