Monday, July 8, 2013

A Gardener's Tale: Featuring Kate from StoryTellersVintage

Starting a garden on your own can be an exciting, rewarding experience. Gardening is not easy, though, and research and hard work are what produce the best, bountiful plants. Kate from StoryTellersVintage is one that has taken the step to gardening and has discovered through trial and error how to grow a beautiful garden. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her gardening experience and what drew her to garden in the first place. 

1. What interested you about gardening and why did you decide to start one for yourself? 

My love of gardening was passed down to me by my mother. As a child she helped care for the garden that fed her family of 7 in rural Pennsylvania. I can remember as young as 5 years old helping my Mom out in our garden, planting peas and picking tomatoes. As I grew older, my interest in gardening expanded, not just as a way to connect with the natural world around me, but also to embrace the many health benefits of growing your own food.
Right: Tomatoes and Butternut Squash from her garden!
Left: Pumpkins and Cucumbers!

2. What is your favorite memory or pastime of gardening? 


Besides the memories with my Mom growing up, I’ve had many fond memories growing vegetables at my current home with my boyfriend. I specifically remember the awesome feeling of accomplishment when we harvested our first cauliflower patch successfully. For all you gardeners out there, I’m sure you know how hard it is to grow! One of my favorite pastimes is actually weeding my vegetable beds. This really gives me a chance to clear my mind and get up close and personal with the plants. It’s an amazing feeling to notice the very complex ecosystem going on in the garden even on such a small scale.


3. What has been your biggest challenge with your garden? 



Terrace beds for hilly spots. Here you see onions,
carrots and peppers.
Currently, living in Northern California, the biggest challenge has been protecting our plants from invading pests. We’ve learned how to build raised beds to protect our plant roots from nibbling gophers. Aphids also tend to be a major problem here as well when growing brassicas and leafy greens. After trial and error, we’ve learned when to use an all natural garlic spray to protect them and reap successful harvests.

4. What has been your biggest triumph? 


Our biggest triumph to date has been planning and planting specific crops in succession for year round harvests. This enables us to have enough carrots, onions and garlic to use throughout the year, without having to buy them from the store. We are also constantly saving seeds from our own plants to replant the next season. Realizing that we are able to successfully care for, harvest, save seed and renew our soil with compost from the non-edible parts of our plants over and over again is one of the proudest things I can say I have done in my life.


5. Do you have any tips for our fellow gardeners?

Latest endeavor: Gourds that will be made
into bowls.


Start small and don’t be afraid to get dirty! There is nothing more overwhelming than planting a huge garden that you’re not used to taking care of and keeping up with. If you’re just beginning, start with a small herb garden. Many herbs are perennial and extremely hardy in most climates, making them easy to grow for the beginner. Plus they are plentiful and the perfect staples for cooking. As an avid gardener I would also recommend finding an organic gardening reference book and seed saving book to help answer basic questions you might have. I use “How To Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method” by J.I. Rodale and “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth as my first points of reference. These are especially helpful to me when I’m growing a new type of plant for the first time.


Catnip Mint Plants
Also, Kate has a second Etsy shop called Foothill Fibers n' Photo where she sells catnip from her garden! Thank you, Kate, for sharing with us your garden experience and advice. I will be looking up the books Kate mentioned for gardening, and now I'd love to start a small herb box. 

Have a wonderful Monday gardeners! 


-Amanda 

6 comments:

gazaboo said...

Such a lovely post, thanks Kate.
Nothing beats your own fresh produce and it's amazing what can be produced in a small well managed garden plot. Enjoy the fruits and veggies of your labor Kate!!!

Story Tellers Vintage said...

Thanks Amanda, for such a great opportunity to share my love of gardening here with everyone!

Whimzy Thyme said...

Wow --- I always say I will start a garden but never get around to it. Thanks so much for sharing your story and gardening tips.

All the best to you always Kate. Thanks Autumn House - great post.

Story Tellers Vintage said...

You're so right Gazaboo! Have a home grown tomato and you'll never want one from the store again :) Thanks!

Niftic Vintage said...

Oh my...a few wonderful memories of my days living in Northern CA, beautiful country but yes the challenges are many. It looks fabulous!

Teresa said...

oh how I WISH for a wonderful, expansive garden like this!! Thanks for sharing your gardening tips with us!! :)

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