Never in my life did I think I would be writing a series on my blog about GARDENING. What is happening here?!
Image by my friend Gina Zeidler.
Friends, I am an unlikely gardener. I have killed a lot of plants in my life! For the majority of my existence, I didn’t understand how people loved spending time with plants or getting their hands dirty. My mom and grandfather were always out in the dirt, but I just didn’t get it!
And then something unexpected happened. Here’s a peek at my book, Cultivate:
Gardening seemed like a gentle hobby for those who had more time on their hands. Yet here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type, much less live: God was transforming a plant killer like me into a gardener.
Gardening was not a hobby I randomly picked out of thin air; it was a craving. As my life was being changed by God’s grace, my hands followed. I began to feel an insatiable desire to nurture what I had been given—and even more than that, to grow things I never imagined wanting to grow!
One spring day, I decided to get my garden growing. I stood in the yard and opened a pack of yellow pear tomato seeds. As I unsealed the packet, I steadied my hands. If you’ve ever enjoyed an heirloom tomato in the summer, you may have noticed the seeds. They are tiny and delicate. I reached into the packet and touched one with my pointer finger. It grasped onto me as if I now held some responsibility for its life. I could choose to cultivate it or let it remain dormant.
Inside a seed is something powerful: potential. And potential is scary, isn’t it? It calls us to grow—to take action, to become, and to step forward in faith.
Lifting the fragile seed carefully out of the packet, my breathing slowed.
Planting seeds is risky. It’s putting our trust in something bigger than us. It’s optimism and faith. It requires letting go, and I don’t like letting go. I like being in control. I like efficiency, security, routine, and predictability. I like having a plan.
As I looked down at the seeds, I knew I held possibility in my hands.
What do I do now? How do I plant this? When is the right time to plant tomatoes? How deep in the soil do I plant them? How much should I water them? How many seeds do I plant at once? What if I don’t do this perfectly and it doesn’t grow?
I had a choice: risk imperfect progress to grow new life or regret not growing anything at all.
What do you think I chose? It will surprise you! Find out what happened with that little seed in Cultivate. : )
But, I did, in fact, start a garden.
Or rather, it started me.
Dressing up for planting day :).
I get asked a lot of questions about this gardening thing (step inside Gracie’s Garden here on Instagram and see our summer garden tour here) and let me first tell you: I am no Master Gardener. I’m just a gal who happens to think growing things is the greatest thing ever. I have learned a thing or two, and I love seeing friends discover that they can learn to garden–no previous green thumb required!
So, let’s start with some basics. This is part 1 in my Gardening 101 series, with much more to come!
Our zinnias (my favorite) by Emily March
1. Define why you want to grow things. What kind of garden do you want to grow, and why gardening in the first place?
For food? If so, what do you like to eat?
For teaching? This is why I first started our garden. I wanted Grace to experience the miracle of growing things–from start to finish–and all the garden has to offer!
For fun? My grandfather loved growing the weird things: pineapple sage (we love growing it too!), huge tomato varieties, and unique hybrids.
For beauty? Maybe you love the idea of creating a garden space as an environment to enjoy.
For filling vases? We love growing several flower varieties just for cutting and sharing with neighbors.
For attracting butterflies, birds, and bees? This is why we plant zinnias–the pollinators that love them help to grow all of our veggies.
What is it for you? You may have one reason or 10–there are no wrong answers here. List your priorities and it will help you determine what to grow, and what not to grow.
Maybe you are living in an apartment and only have space for a few pots by the windowsill—that’s great! Maybe you have just enough space for containers—that’s great too. Maybe you prefer low-maintenance air plants or you only want a few great houseplants—wonderful (I have a post for you coming soon on happy houseplants, by the way!). Or maybe you don’t like to eat veggies and you just want pretty flowers—that’s awesome too! The bottom line here: use what you have, and use it in a way that’s unique to you.
‘There are countless ways to grow a garden, just as there are many ways to grow an intentional life. There are kitchen gardens, vertical gardens, cottage gardens, raised beds, roof gardens, square foot gardens, window boxes, rose gardens, wildflower gardens, container gardens, terrariums, herb gardens, water gardens, butterfly gardens—and the list goes on. No two gardens are exactly alike. Imagine your life as a garden. Unique. Purposeful. Unlike any other.’ – another little snippet from Cultivate : )
2. Find out your growing zone.
Like learning your Myers-Briggs personality type or Enneagram (I LOVE Enneagram—I’m a 1. What are you?), this is very helpful information. Essential, actually. Knowing your growing zone will allow you to know what types of plants might thrive in your area in each season. This is like knowing the gardening language that allows you to read seed packets and plant labels. Most plant labels and seed packets have recommendations based on each growing zone. Look yours up here!
3. Find out your ideal date to plant, and put that date on your calendar.
This tip is going to help you cool your jets about gardening for a bit, and help you to plan well! Unless you live in Florida, it’s not time to plant things in most parts of the country. You are not behind if you are just getting started on your garden dreaming–you have time. If you are going to garden outdoors, you’ll need to know what the last date of expected frost will be in your city. Find out here. For us, the ideal date to begin planting is not until after Tax Day – April 15th! Now, let me tell you, I have ignored this recommendation several times. And every time I’ve regretted it. In our area, the weather gets lovely in late February and March is magical, and it makes everyone want to plant things right away. But, wise gardeners know to be patient. I’ve gotten over-eager a time or two and planted tomatoes in March only to have to dig them out before a freeze and give them a temporary abode in my kitchen. Be patient in planting, my fellow gardeners. You’ll be glad you waited. You can also find a full list of exactly when to plant different varieties in your location on the Old Farmer’s Almanac site. Here’s my list for Chapel Hill! So helpful.
4. Go ahead and do a little Garden Dreaming. Knowing why you want to garden and when you can plant things in your area and zone, it’s time to start dreaming about what you want to grow. We’ll get more in-depth on this next (what grows well with what, etc.), but for now, start browsing seed catalogs and making your dream list. Grace and I did our Garden Dreaming a few weeks ago. We broke out all the seed catalogs (I love Park Seed, Burpee, Floret Flower Seeds, David’s Garden, Renee’s Garden, Botanical Interests, and the Southern Seed Exchange Catalog), and we circled and chatted and had a ton of fun making our dream list. Later, when we sketched out the garden (coming next), we paired down our list. For now, get garden happy and write out all the things you’d love to grow–what you would love to eat, share, or cut–depending on your answers to question 1. We’ll work through our lists in the next post. I can’t wait to hear what you’re dreaming of! : )
5. Repeat after me: you do not have to know everything about horticulture to grow a garden. Every year, some things grow and some things don’t! I still kill plants. I sometimes forget to water. I sometimes don’t weed. And you know what? My garden still grows! Even though I am imperfect, I am a gardener.
(And for some reason, I couldn’t help the tears typing those words.)
You can be a gardener, too, my friend. I’m excited for you!
Next up, we’ll tackle how to choose what to grow, some thoughts on simple garden supplies, fun with seed starting, how to make your own raised beds if you’re interested, and the five things you need to consider before finalizing your growing list: money, time, space, sun, and soil. I have some great (and simple) info coming for you!
Till then, it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your answers to what we just chatted about–and let me know what other questions you have too.
With love from my head tomatoes,
The Unlikely Gardener : )
Now for an amazing giveaway! Are you ready for this?
This is everything you need to start your own garden–or bless someone else with one!
— Greenes 4′ x 4′ cedar raised bed kit (how cool is this!?) — Deanna
— A collection of best-selling Burpee vegetable seeds: — Robin
Tomato, Atlas F1
Tomato, Shimmer F1
Sunflower, Sunray Yellow
— Gardener’s Supply Company tool set — Sarah
— Floret’s Cut Flower Garden book and seed collection — Lindsey
— Park Seed Profusion double-flowered zinnia seed collection — Rachel
— A Joyful Garden Planner from my friend, Amber! Amber was kind enough to donate this planner, and give you 25% your order with code “CULTIVATE” if you can’t wait for the giveaway results! The code is good through April 30. — Rosanne
— And a signed copy of my book, Cultivate! — Sheena
Enter below. Giveaway ends April 9th!
Ready for Part 2? Dig in HERE.
Loving your posts, Lara! I had always wanted to plant a garden. I love planting things…flowers, vegetables, trees. My dad was a farmer and we live on a ranch, but I never thought I had time to tend a garden between work, family, kids, etc…My husband finally plowed a spot for me after I kept talking about it all the time. The kids talked about it too. It was just the push I needed. We’ve had it for two years. I’m not really very good at it either, but I realized I just had to start. It took less time to manage than I thought, and I actually made time for it once we started planting. Getting started is always the hardest for me. Thanks for your constant encouragement to cultivate what matters in our lives.
This is exciting to hear, Maggie! How wonderful! I can’t wait to see what you grow this year : )
Thank you for doing this series, Lara! Your Gracie’s Garden account is actually how I found your book and other amazing resources, and it helped inspire me to begin gardening with my two little girls too. Thanks for including which seed catalogs you use in this post, I found your list incredibly helpful. Also am very much looking forward to reading your Cultivate book, can’t wait for the release! Happy garden planning!
I can’t wait to learn more! I’ve been looking for info and tips everywhere. I’ll be planting our first garden (veggies) this year, and doing raised beds. Excited but terrified. We also moved into a new home on an acreage last May, so naturally, I have so many plans and dreams.
YAY! I can’t tell you how much this post makes me smile. We had three glorious days in WI this week and I was craving the fresh start of Spring. I’ve still got a few months until it’s safe to plant outside. So until then, I’ll dream of sunflowers the size of my head, vine-ripened black cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, strawberries still warm from the June sun and tiny fairy tale eggplant <3
Yay! I live 30 miles west of Green Bay! I want spring to come too! Roads are snow covered and ice covered now. Ugh.
This post made me smile and miss you so much!! I think of you often as gardening has suddenly become such a source of joy in our new home! (Just pruning and tending to flowers for now but I look forward to veggies one day!!)
I’m so excited for this series!! I just planted seeds today (indoors)!! I’ve never kept much alive so it’s good to hear from someone who didn’t start out with a green thumb!!!
Well, first of all, I am relieved to hear you too are a plant killer :-} because maybe there is hope for me yet! As I wrote in one of your other posts, my house is where plants come to die. Gaaah!! We dont have outside space here BUT we will be moving to a new house -fingers crossed- this spring and I want a SMALL (aka fewer items to kill) garden for my girls and me to work on. I was thinking some veggies like carrots, peas, tomato and perhaps some colorful flowers! Something manageable and small for our first go-around! So any advice is welcomed….also, how do you protect your garden from animals eating it all?!? Looking forward to this! P.S. Saw your hiring post and will be tossing my hat in the ring :-} YAY!
I have been wanting to start a garden for THREE years now. I’ve been hesitant to do it with starting a family at the same time. I worry that I may not have the time needed to get things growing. This year we’re expecting our second little girl at the end of May but I have decided to do it anyway! Thank you for the push! I can’t wait to see what the Lord teaches me through gardening.
This is great! Thank you for all the helpful links and tips! I love gardening except the weeding part
I am so excited about this!! I started gardening two summers ago, my first summer married and with my own home. I have gotten so passionate about it. Something about sitting on the ground, feeling the sunshine warming my skin, and the cold dirt in my fingers makes my heart skip a beat! I’ve also learned so much from my gardens. I can’t be blooming all year long. Sometimes I have to do the dirty work of growing through the soil, and sometimes it isn’t my blooming season. It is my resting season, but it is just that, a season! Blooming will come again!
I can’t believe I missed this series! I am living under a rock (called tax season!) I have had a dream of having my own garden for years, but I’ve killed cacti and air plants so I am not sure how it’ll go. It’s a goal that I’m going to work towards when this season of my life is calmer.
The main reason I want to grow a garden is because the majority of my food expense is on fruits/vegetables and they are so hard to find FRESH. I would love to be able to grow what I need and eat them fresh for the price of seeds & my time. I love grapes, strawberries, kiwi, bananas, apples, spinach, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and potatoes!
I know my daughter would enjoy helping me and would love to have flowers to see butterflies, birds, and bees… well, maybe not bees. Lol.
I’m in zone 7a, though I’m not sure what that means other than I need to go look at seed packets. Lol. I’d love to plant this year, but after my semester in grad school, I’ll be putting together a garage sale, then cramming and passing all 4 of my CPA exams, but next year – I am determined to start! Probably after tax day like you, since I’m a tax accountant! Lol.
I’ll do some garden dreaming when I’m not at work. 😡
You know what’s weird? Just this morning I was thinking about planting a garden…not a lot of things since, I, too, am a killer of greens…but some tomatoes, wildflowers, and herbs. Then I opened my email and this was in it! I’m committed now!
Hooray! Perfect timing!
I’m planning to grow not just tomatoes (my faithful stand-by) but also flowers this year b/c after dreaming about it for the 10 years we’ve lived here-its time to make it happen! I’m in zone 5-6 and have a mid-May frost free date. Wishing I lived in a warmer climate-I’m anxious to get started!
Love this series! So helpful.
I’m loving this series! Is there a book that you would recommend for beginners? Thanks!
I did a little research for you, and I think any of the books I listed would be great for a beginner, but you might also try “Vegetable Gardening for Dummies.” As silly as that may sound, they do make very easy-to-understand books with excellent tutorials! : )
Such a refreshing write up on gardening and the way it works for Lara! Gardening is such a fun activity – it relieves stress and the greatest joy I have when gardening is to have my own vegetables to use for the table. Thanks for this wonderful write up!
I’ve been so excited about this blog post it’s Always one of my favorites . I’m growing purple bell peppers because purple is one of my girls favorite colors .
I definitely needed to read this today. Thank you!
I am so thrilled to see this updated post–it is very motivating to get started this year. I have bought all my seeds and am excited to start some tomatoes and eggplants indoors in the next couple of weeks!
Fall used to be my favorite season, but spring has swiftly taken it’s place! I cannot wait to get back to my garden and till the earth!
this is so motivating to plan a garden this summer. I love planting and cultivating succulents but those colorful flowers are making me want to plant some zinnias!
I’m looking forward to a garden bed full of strawberries and rhubarb in the spring and another full of zinnias in the summer! Thank you for the chance to win a new garden bed!
I’m so excited everytime I see a home garden. This year I’m growing more edible flowers, and plan to use them in salads and meals at home!
I am excited to get started on our garden and involve the kids.
Would love to get a garden started at my new home this spring!
I’m hoping to grow some vegetables/a salad garden, and some beautiful flowers!
I’ve had great luck with herbs- sage and basil and tried squash the last two years and had some kinda issues each year! Hoping for better luck this year along with some green beans!!! Fresh green beans are my favorite
I have never gardened and you make me want to do it! I love how you use gardening to reflect the glory of God!
I try to garden but I’m not so
Good. Guess I need more practice
Next month, we are moving to a new town with a beautiful blank canvas of a backyard. What makes this new home even more special is that it is the first home my husband and I will start together– I moved into his house when we were married and it never quite felt like mine. I come from a long line of gardeners and have never had the opportunity to embrace the practice but I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to do so 🙂
Oh my word this is a dream! I’m literally starting a garden plot in our community garden next month and am so nervous/excited! I’ve never gardened in my life, but have always dreamt of it!! I’m so excited to read through this series! Thank you!
I encouraged my friend to join our freezer group to help stock her freezer for her new baby
I really love fruit and flowers. I would love to grow watermelon and strawberries especially. Peonies and hydrangea are my favorite flowers. I don’t know the first thing about any of this, but long to have a garden.
I just bought a vegetable seed kit and herb seed kit to start a planter garden on our back deck. Starting small and hoping to grow how much we do each year. I’m excited to have my three little ones to help me cultivate it. Thanks for the encouragement to get started!
I am so excited about this! I am going to use your tips and tricks to start a small garden on my apartment’s patio!
I just adore you! I so want to start a raised bed garden with my 12 year old daughter! I want to learn to grow flowers and vegetables! Thank you! From WA state! Malia
I am really looking forward to this series! I have managed to cultivate jungles in our backyard, and I’d like to start turning them into more of a garden, ha! Thank you for this series and the giveaway!!
I am certainly one that can share the “plant killer” woes. Despite my grandmother having a vibrant green thumb, it seems that that trait skipped me. Regardless, I am determined to learn and grow into the gardener I hope to be. Flowers, vegetable gardens, fruit gardens, really any type of garden sparks something inside of me that I just can’t explain, I want to be able to cultivate that into my life. Your book inspired me and gave me the hope that I CAN be a gardener. I would love to start with a vegetable garden. There is something magical about being able to eat what you grow! And then I would love to dive into a flower garden! Here is to failing and learning and sowing and growing and HARVESTING
I’d love to grow some veggies this year! My kids are also getting old enough that it would be a fun project to do together!
I am excited to start a Thai pepper greenhouse indoors this year, as they’re a variety we love for cooking but can’t ever find in the grocery store. I may also try my luck with Swiss Chard on our shady patio!
I love this! I’m only an ok gardener but I’d love for my gardens to look like yours someday! I plan on adding two new trees (a magnolia and something else but I don’t know what yet) and building out my succulent garden that goes alongside my front walk this year.
We are looking forward to planting our first real garden including veggies in our new home state. Our zone is 5a and last frost isn’t until May 5, so we have time to continue our dreaming and planting. We’ve managed kitchen herbs and a bit of lettuce and a tomato plant in the past, in pots, as we were renting and moving. We are looking forward to continuing our planning!!
Never been much of a gardner myself, but I know my kids would love it and am interested to try!!
Thank you for this series! We just moved into a house with an actual yard (no more patio full of pots!), and I can’t wait to get out and dig in the dirt with my little one.
This year I want to try to grow more veggies!
I love this – I’ve wanted to start a garden for years but am always so paralyzed by having no idea where to start. Thank you for making it so easy to jump in Lara! Looking forward to this growing season 🙂
I kill all the green things but always want a garden!!
A beautiful garden is on the list of things I’d like to do with my boys! This year will likely end up being more of the hard preparation of our property to allow for a garden next year – but I keep dreaming!
YAY! I love it when the gardening 101 series comes around 🙂 I am planting some little mini watermelons, beans, and Mexican Sour Gherkins! I only have one little-raised bed but I love to plant different varieties of veggies. I am also planting a pollinator herb blend in some of my small flower beds. I can’t wait to start planting!
I love gardening! Time-wise I can’t devote the time I would like to. But I will be growing some herbs on my kitchen window sill (cilantro, rosemary, and maybe some thyme). and will plant a few purple fountain grass plants in my front bed along with some colorful flowers. I am hoping my day lilies, which are a beautiful orange, bloom well this year!
I’m still a student, so gardening is out of the question for awhile, but I have a little aloe on my windowsill as the firstfruits of what is to come!
Im super excitee and the best part is seeing you do it with 3 kids, a hubby and your worklife. Major motivation! I hope to share my progress…. And i hope that I csn even get a few friends along for the ride… I love the fact that you share that its not about perfection but the process!
We are starting small worth salad items, berries, herbs & flowers. I desire to teach my children the lesson of growing their own food & giving them the experience of farm to table meals! Also, we are diving in & getting some chickens too! 🌱🐣🐔🥚😄💚 Here’s to cultivating all sorts of new life this Spring!
Looking forward to having a garden this year
I love this series! It definitely helped me and my husband get started with our own garden finally… We are in Zone 8A, which is slightly warmer from where I grew up, and it’s so surprising to me that I can plan bananas in the ground and have them COME BACK every year (even if they never produce fruit). Gardening is going to be such a joy and an experiment, but we’re doing it for our own food, our pets food (we have GIANT tortoises- they need greens!), and also because we’d like to be more self-sufficient. Plus, I LOVE flowers and plants to begin with, so I’m looking forward to some blooms.
We just got our boxes in this weekend, and next weekend I’ll start planting. We have five 4x4s …. green onions, green beans, squash, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers – salsa and salad, basically.
We just started our tomato, kale, and peppers seeds!!! My kiddos had a great time planting them.
We are wanting to be full time organic produce farmers someday, but right now we live in our church parsonage and have a very small garden plot!! Small beginnings!!!
I am so looking forward to starting a garden with my toddler this year. Normally, that’s Daddy’s job (a good half acre or more of produce), but this year I’m going to put my own hand to the soil for a little kitchen garden!
I’m not sure how big of a garden we can do as we live in Philadelphia with not much of a yard, ha! but I’m excited to give it a try. It would be nice to plant our own produce!
I would love to have a vegetable garden…we have had them in the past but things just don’t grow all that well. One year we will have good luck with cucumbers (last year), the year before it was peppers…not everything grows well each year. Confusing!
I love love love flower gardens. The vibrant colors bring massive joy to my heart.
This is SO helpful! Thank you! We have done planted a few basic things in pots, but am looking forward into branching out this year with the kiddos; I know they will love it!
My sus ter is havibg some job interviews today. Just got off the phone with her, reminding her of her greatness and to be genuine! Will also be praying that it goes well!
This is GREAT! We tried gardening last spring with little knowledge once we moved to the south and it was a total bust. I am so looking forward to this series!
Oh. I love this post… and I hope to plan and plant my herb garden this year!
I plan to have a vegetable/ Herb Garden this year. I just moved and we have lots of work to do before it can be a formal garden in the ground. This one is all in containers this year.
Love this!! I am going to grow tomatoes, peas, zucchini, basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
We recently moved from an apartment to a home and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can get out in the beautiful backyard! Would love to win this package to start my dream garden 🙂
I will be starting chemotherapy soon, and I have been lamenting that I won’t be able to garden this spring and summer. A raised bed kit with veggie and flower seeds would be a wonderful distraction for my children during my treatments and would bring cheer to our yard.
I’m so excited to garden this year since it’s our first year having a backyard!
This is the greatest giveaway ever! I have wanted to grow a garden for years but couldn’t because my neighbor had goats that destroyed all the neighborhood plant life. Well, that neighbor moved this fall and took those goats with him. Yay!! My plan this year is to plant tomatoes, hot peppers, and a small herb garden. Have you seen the ladder herb gardens with galvanized buckets? I have the perfect spot for one of those! Thank you so much for offering such an amazing prize. I really hope I win your giveaway… I would be beyond thrilled!
So excited to work on my garden this year. We belong to a farm and they send you home your first few weeks with herbs to grow on your own and I’m excited to add my own veggies and flowers to it this year 🙂
I have always wanted to do a family garden with our kids…. Maybe this is the year!!
Thank you for the giveaway! I’m going to try to have a garden again after failing a few years back. I’m excited to plant tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and some herbs. 🙂
I hope to start growing green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and more!
A friend of mine has been facing a difficult diagnosis in one of her children. It felt great to be able to listen, encourage, and pray with her.
This is so encouraging! I have wanted to start gardening veggies and beautiful flowers but I’ve been scared. Thank you for writing this series!
I am planning to grown Black Beauty tomatoes and a few of the mini bell pepper types this year.
I’m in the middle of reading Cultivate and to be honest, it’s got me itching to try my hand at gardening. I had a couple container pots with flowers on my porch last year (one died, one made it), but that’s about as much as I’ve attempted. We just moved to a new house in September and beside a single, gigantic and beautiful hydrangea, we have no other colorful plants in our yard. I’d love to do a mix of flowers and some veggies that we eat a lot like peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. I saw an adorable wall hanging planter system in Pottery Barn that I want to get for our kitchen to start some herbs so, maybe this is my year to shed the fear of gardening. A raised bed would be perfect for our tiny yard! Thanks for this series to get me motivated!
I’m so nervous to start a garden but this might be the year! I definitely want all my kids to learn about gardening and now the twins are 1.5 (and we have a house with a big back yard!) it might be the time to at least think about it! Do you address things like what to do if you have a rabbit that visits your yard (yikes!)?
I’m a renown plant killer because of my laziness and forgetfulness… But maybe if I just started with a few things? I would love some bright beautiful flowers for the backyard area we just cleaned up, and maybe a few herbs too!
I’m getting back into growing plants and have this big desire to start a small garden! Seeing things grow and come to life is so healing during a time in my life that has been very difficult. Also, love your Psalm 27 artwork in that last photo!! That’s a chapter of the Bible that I am clinging to right now!
I am looking forward to planting a new herb garden this year. It is always a good feeling to cook with fresh herbs.
I always killed plants before last spring, when I decided to actually be diligent about caring for them! I had 2 beautiful dahlia plants and cosmos. It taught me several life lessons, and I think that’s why Lara’s gardening analogies have really helped me in working toward my goals this year — they really resonate with my experience as a new gardener! I’m growing mint right now. This year, I plan to try echinops, forget-me-nots, a fairy garden, and (after being inspired by Lara’s gorgeous photos) zinnias!
I am very excited to start growing my flowers, while we do have a good amount of land we do not have a ton of sunlight in the garden areas. This year we are making plans to uplevel our front gardens to give our home curb appeal!!
I can’t wait to start this year in my new home! I have 12 (!) rosebushes to transplant, and a sunflower “hedge” I want to try. Here in Michigan it’s still snowing, I just want to grow something! 😩
I’m so excited for this series! I want to plant a veggie and cutting garden. And I’m a 1w2 on the enneagram! Love it’
This will be my first year gardening and I’m pretty excited about it!
Gardening is so beautiful, but takes lots of work. I love flowers and I would like to grow potatoes, veggies, and berries!
I’m very excited to begin gardening. I just bought a house with 3 acres in North Texas and I can’t wait to dig in and plant some vegetables and flowers. I have never had a garden, so I will be absorbing every tip you give us.
Gardening and growing stuff is one of my Cultivate goals this year and I was thrilled to see that you are doing a series on gardening. Thank you for all of the inspiration Lara!
Thank you so much for your post Lara! I look forward to it every year! We started our first garden last year and had some successes and fails! Waiting to see which things we planted pop back up again this year and looking forward to trying new things out in the garden! We are due with our second baby in June so I am trying to remember to just tend well to the small garden we have and grow it as we can!
I am so excited this year because we own our home and have a plot to garden now. This week with the beautiful weather I have weeded the area and tilled the ground a bit. My next step is to find the sprinkler system, and figure out what grows and when because we were in the midwest and now we are back in the west. Love the gardening 101 series!
Took a birthday gift over to a neighbor and shared with her how much I appreciate her and her service for others!
I’ve been looking forward to this! I too am so ready to plant but waiting patiently! 😀
I used to have a garden several years ago before marriage and kids and loved it! These days I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life! Hoping to get back into it with this series. Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve learned!
Love, love, love this!! I love being outside and nothing is better than being outside and gardening!
P.S. I encouraged a friend who is in between jobs and anxious about what the future holds. Reminded her that her identity is secure in Christ and that her worth is not determined by her work!
You have inspired me to “jump in” and get my hands dirty! We planted potatoes this fall and my 3 and 4 year old loved digging them up. We are eager to start our first official garden this spring for us all to learn and have fun with!
I would love to give gardening a real try this year.
I’d love to grow some herbs and zucchini!
I love to grow all sorts of things. We said farewell to the Navy last year and purchased our first home – which has a small but established strawberry bed! I plan to triple the size of the garden so I can grow vegetables and herbs. I also love growing flowers to cut and brighten up my home or give away to friends and my kids teachers. When I was a child, I remember taking a bouquet of tulips and daffodils to my teachers every spring – that habit stuck, Though the flowers have changed based upon what grows wherever we happen to live!
I’ve had some sort of garden or planters every place we’ve lived and my husband rolled his eyes and asked why I wanted to bother with a garden when we could just buy stuff at the grocery store. He ate his words that first year when he saw how excited my 3 y/o (who’s now 11) was to water and harvest cherry tomatoes and marvel at giant sunflowers.
I find the garden to be one of places I feel closest to God, stewarding and marveling at His creation.
Can I hope to win but be terrified I will and then have to actually garden?
YAY! Lara, your passion for gardening gave me the push to finally start my own garden last year, and I can’t wait to get going again this spring. We’ve moved, so I’m starting from scratch and will most definitely be looking to you for inspiration! (I’d also love to win the supplies in the giveaway!) Thank you, thank you, thank you, for showing that you don’t have to be an expert to grow a beautiful garden!
I’m so excited for this series! I’ve dreamed of gardening for years, but I’ve been to afraid to jump in. My few attempts failed miserably. I’m looking forward to trying again!
I am trying to grow flowers this year for the first time! You have inspired me to try to grow fresh flowers that I can cut and encourage friends with. Here’s hoping it works!
I texted a friend but today is a day when I need a lot of encouragement.
A few years ago, we “adopted” a beautiful, (yet intimidating) garden when we moved into our new house. Well, the garden didn’t survive my black thumb but as spring is drawing near, I am determined to start anew and make it my own little oasis! Your post was just the encouragement I needed to start the process of clearing out the old, weedy pile in the backyard so that I can get it ready for planting!
What a neat giveaway idea! My hubby has become very interested in gardening in the past year or so, and I would love to gift this to him if I win! I think it’s awesome that he’s wanting to get his hands dirty and grow us some yummy veggies. 🙂
Oh, and I forgot to say what we’d like to grow! We would really love to be able to successfully grow zucchini! Last year they all died. Maybe this will be our year!
I have actually considered sending you pictures of my garden progress along with a hand written note thanking you for your inspiration to garden and find my self again through planning ahead a little and Cultivating What Matters. I so so appreciate you!
That makes me so happy and I would love to see pictures!
My 5yo and I just went seed shopping the other day 😊
I’m going to grow lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs this year!! And maybe jalapeños if I get up the nerve!!
I am so excited for Spring! I’m looking forward to planting some beautiful cascading flowers in our window boxes and growing some veggies (squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) for grilling and salads. Yum!!
How funny! I just started a job as a seasonal Program Assistant at an organization called Big Green. We plant vegetable gardens in schools, and help connect children to real food. It’s great to see the smile on students faces.
Star! Email me! We are looking for an organization to partner with! : )
Thank you for this – looking forward to following along and starting a garden with my little ones!
I love this series! So much encouragement !! I can’t wait for spring to get started!! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway opportunity!!
Last year was the first year my husband and I did a garden. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea but always told myself I have a black thumb. (I managed to kill a cactus once!) …But it was so much fun to watch everything pop up from seeds. Some things grew and others didn’t. We decided to pare down and rearrange our garden this year, but I’m excited to try growing some new things like okra and arugula!
I would love this if I won!! This would be a great help to garden. Hoping to grow tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini, broccoli, and maybe more. 🙂
I am so excited for this series, just to get me back into gardening. I haven’t had a garden in three years and I miss it so much! Life seemed to get in the way. Sugar snap peas are by far my favorite!
Such a great post. Can’t wait to get started! I would love to have a few small garden boxes that would fit an apartment balcony someday.
I need to learn how to grow veggies. It would be so amazing to go get them out of the garden and use them right away for dinner! Garden to table! 😉
Done 🙂 Made a care package for my friend to keep her busy (and her tummy fed) while she waits for her daughter’s CT scan and heart cath procedures later this week! She is such a blessing to so many, it’s fun to show her how much we love her.
Excited for this series. My girls want to grow sunflowers this year. We will do some veggies too.
I am excited to get my herbs growing again this year! Basil, mint, chives, parsley, rosemary.
So excited to try to plant just something in our front yard!!!
I inherited a large flower garden with the house we bought two years ago, so I’ll be happy just to keep those plants alive this year! But I would absolutely love to start a raised bed garden in our backyard to grow some veggies. My son is showing some serious interest in digging in the dirt and using the watering can, so I know it would be a great project for us to do together. 🙂
My family just moved from an apartment to a house, and I was wanting to start a small garden! Loved the blog post today! Can’t wait to get started.
I like be this blog post so much! I have had a garden with my students before… but this will be the first time I’ve had a garden of my own! We bought our first house last year, she we are starting from scratch. My girls are so excited to help garden, and it’s such a beautiful example of so many life lessons. It’s also a wonderful way to bless others with your bounty. I’ve also found its incredibly soothing and nurturing to my soul. What a wonderful place to experience Christ.
We are trying to grow lettuce since we have two full grown vegetation destroyers living with us (bunnies!!!). Our seedlings aren’t showing much promise and our chickens got out and devoured our baby transplants. We’re still trying!
Lara, I have read both your books this year and have been following you for quite some time. We have several things in common which makes it very easy for me to relate to your struggles- one of them being a “black thumb.”
It’s like the planets aligned this year. As I listened to Cultivate (audiobook) and began deciding I wanted to try gardening again, my husband shared that he was feeling the same way. In fact we have begun plans for a full garden with my parents ( they need the help and have the room) and a patio garden at home. . We can’t wait to share this adventure with our children and teach them the value of hard work, delayed gratification and knowing where your food comes from. Pray for us! 😉
Yes! I love to grow stuff. And my kids do too. There’s something so special about seeing a tiny seed grow into a plant that gives food and beauty!
I would like to grow some beautiful flowers.
We are in a season of renting so I can’t till a garden, but I am looking forward to trying some new things in containers… like grape tomatoes and a salad in a pot (different lettuce varieties) and then herbs – basil and rosemary. I really miss having a garden but I just have to be patient and wait for that day to come. Then, bring on the zinnias and the bachelor buttons and the cosmos and the tomatoes and many vegetables. Being patient and content in the season that God has us in.
Love the article and love your kids-they are dolls! And they all look so healthy! I can tell they are loving the planting!
I’ve been following your journey for some time and currently working through your book Cultivate. You’ve been a consistent bright encouragement in my life. Thank you!
I need all the help I can get! 🙂 I need to learn how to better manage my raised beds AND actually take the time to tend them. :/
Love this series. Thank you
I would love to garden! I’ve planted tomatoes before. It went okay. My major issue to overcome is an irrational fear of bees. This may be a roadblock to my desires for gardening!
We moved into a new home last spring that had a few neglected garden beds. I was in the middle of struggling with PPD at the time so I did nothing to save them, and they grew into a twisted, weed infested mess. By the grace of God, I have recovered and am able to start fresh this year! We have plans to rip everything out, rebuild, and plant for the first time ever! I think my two year old and I will start slow with tomatoes, peppers, and a few other veggies. I am LOVING this series as it’s encouraging me to not be afraid to try!
I love my little garden bed! Last year was the first time I had grown something from seed and I felt like a magician! A magician who clearly wants and not the one in control of her garden and who spent most of the summer warding off deer. But it was worth it for the pesto alone! This year, baby is due at the start of gardening season so I’m just hoping my husband wants to plant for me.
I feel like I could call you friend. In Fall 2017, God gave me my word for 2018, Cultivate. As I was googling and researching the word, I came across your book and blog. Both have been such a gift to me, and have been absolutely life changing. God also started developing in me a deep longing in me for beauty, specifically a garden. I have ignored this, because I am a plant killer! After, stumbling across your book and blog, God has invited me into the unknown. To try something new, that I know NOTHING about, when I am the type who likes to know as much as possible before even starting. An invitation to trust. I am thrilled to have this blog series to refer to! His timing of it all is not lost on me. You see, next month is time to start planting and our 18 month old foster son who has been with us since birth will reunite with his mom. I ache for all the brokenness and beauty of his journey. As I anticipate the pain of his leaving our family, I know that gardening will be the tool that God uses to continue to shape me and to give me something to tend and care for when I will be feeling loss. I feel I do not have the words to describe the depth of which you have impacted me life, and I am eternally grateful for your words! Keep writing, encouraging, and planting seeds!
Zinnias are one of my favorites to grow every summer too, Lara! And a few other ‘must-haves’ for me are herbs (basil, chives, parsley, oregano, etc) and tomatoes. Can’t wait!
My husband and I are moving from our apartment to our first house together. We are so excited and cannot wait to move in during the best time of the year – SPRING! Cannot wait to start a small garden and continue to grow together as we take a big step this year.
I have been wanting for our family to be more connected and closer to nature. When I was a kid I remember that my grandparents would ta us to their farm. It is such a beautiful memory but because I move to another state we don’t have access to a family farm. I want my kids to learn about nature and all the beautiful lessons that we can learn from it. After reading your post I can now say that I’m a gardener.
Can’t wait to get out in the garden. Rainy day here today!
I love this! You encourage me so much. So much can be learned from the garden. I’ve already started some my seeds inside. Every year I learn a little bit more. Tomatoes, zinnia, and sweet peas are a few of my favorites.
We are growing cilantro. We tried Rosemary and it died. But baby steps. 🙂
I am a floral designer but have never had success growing my own! I always feel totally bogged down in googling how-to’s, so I’m so excited for this series and all your tips!!
This will be our first spring/summer season in our new home and I am so excited for my girls to have their own small garden space. They have tomatoes, strawberries, and pretty flowers on their lists right now…my mom is an amazing gardener so she will help us pull it all together!
I told my sister that we are starting a kids garden and for her to do one too…I said we can go shop for seeds with the kids and then since we live so close we can put the kids in charge of watching each other’s gardens if one of us goes away for vacation or something! Fun connection for the cousins!
Starting small this year, my goal is herbs, tomatoes, and peppers
Texted my sister some encouragement tonight
I’m hoping to grow some fantastic tomatoes for salsa this summer!
I love that you have added this series! My husband and I are building a house with more acres and should move in next month. I have always wanted to start gardening, but my track record with keeping plants alive is pretty terrible. But I’m done with the negative words like “I don’t have a green thumb” and I’m going to start cultivating that skill and believe that I can using this series! Thank you, Laura, for sharing your wisdom and investing into us.
Would love to plant our first garden with my grandson, as a way to teach and learn together
Thank you for doing this series! I’m so excited to go through and read it! I am not a gardener at all, but I planted a few things last year and now I want to plant even more! I want to grow both fruits and veggies. I know for certain I want to grow the following: roses, morning glories, and zinnias. They all have a special meaning to me! My granny grew beautiful roses that I loved smelling as a kid. My other grandma planted morning glories for me when I was a child. And my great-granny’s name was Zinnia!
I want to plant all the things! I started with herbs last year bugvwant to expand this year as much as budget allows!
My husband and I just bought our first home and have a simple little backyard that I can’t wait to turn into a garden over the years! I’ve already started growing a sunflower in our house. I’m sharing Cultivate with so many women in my life and they all want to start gardens!
I’m looking forward to a garden full of veggies again this year, but I’m really hoping that we can start growing some more flowers for both us and the pollinators to enjoy!
These tips are wonderful and just the right push to get me going, cannot wait to start growing!
I would love to start growing *something*. Likely food. I love seeing all your tips and your flowers are always gorgeous! My best friends husband has an amazing container garden so getting all the help I can!
Oh Lara! I’m excited to grow lots of veggies & herbs. Your posts though not only encourage my gardening skills, but they so resonate with me in life skills too! I love your blog and appreciate you!
I started my garden last year and absolutely loved it! I was better at it than I thought I would be. I can’t wait to add on to it this year and grow even more! I think one of my favorites to grow were carrots.
I’ve been a gardener for a long time and this year we are working on a “shared garden” with our cousins. The time we’ve spent together, planting and creating memories has been wonderful!
We recently moved into our house at the end of last summer. I’m really excited about having room to plant now, but I am expecting in August! So I’m trying to think of some plants that don’t need a lot of attention but will still do well if (when) I forget about them for a few days. I loved growing Serrano peppers last year in a pot as well as tomatoes (lots of fresh salsa!). Any ideas of a few things I could grow that don’t require a lot of maintenance come end of summer?
Most vegetables will be forgiving (you could prune them, but you don’t have to!) and you can extend watering by taking an empty soda bottle, filling it with water, and turning it upsidown in your pots, or getting “self-watering” containers. My self-watering planters have a water reservoir in the bottom which extends watering intervals. Congrats on your little one coming soon! : )
Not something I would have thought to ask for, but definitely something you have already sparked an interest in me!
I am SO excited for this series – and to pin it so I can come back later in the year (or next year)! Because we just moved to a new state and we’re starting new jobs and trying to get settled (and all that entails…), my husband and I decided that this year (or at least, this Spring) isn’t the season for us to start gardening. But we do have an amazing backyard for it, and a HUGE desire. For now, I shall dream (and read!)!
I think I’d like to grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers for cutting/sharing. Oh, and plants to attract pollinators!
Gardening is a new passion of mine. Is that something that just happens in your mid to late 30’s? In any case, I’m VERY excited – almost giddy – about this series because I want to be more intentional with my gardening this year, really using it to help my family and prepare for the year to come. We’ve built a raised bed every year for the last three years and intend to build another this year – im just AMAZED I can keep things ALIVE! Now that I know that, I want to plan and plant and grow and enjoy! Thanks for this!
I have always enjoyed your posts and pictures in your garden over the years! I’m not that great with plants—I have killed succulents even. I have always wanted a garden but didn’t know where to start. Thank you for inspiring me and others!!
This year I’ll probably try lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and maybe some herbs
Thank you. Gardening seems so overwhelming and I’m not sure where to start.
I want to grow tomatoes again this year (I just love your saying “from my head tomatoes 😂) and I have taken inspiration already from your garden and I am starting pansies and zinnia FROM SEED. I kill seedlings. I am determined though to see this through. After only 3 days my zinnias have sprouted and it is SO SATISFYING to see new life already happening. Oh the possibilities! I also want to grow more flowers in places where there is usually just bark going down. New to my garden this year are my tulip bulbs I planted in the fall. I’m excited to see them bloom soon! Thank you for the chance to win more for my garden.
We are buying a house this summer. I am excited about starting a garden once we are settled in!
We just moved into a new home and I can’t wait to start planning out our new garden!
Thank you so much for always going into the why of doing things! I love flowers so much, especially dahlias and zinnias. I can’t wait to have a house and garden, till then, I will be content with potted plants and herbs.
I’m so encouraged! We just planted seeds and I’ve been anxious. The reminder that some will grow and some won’t was a helpful reframe!
I am a plant-killer. But I know it doesn’t have to stay that way! You through your emails, IG, and book Cultivate have encouraged me to try once again. I’d love a chance to grow a garden and see how God grows me in the process.
I’m a collegian officer and therefore have the opportunity to touch many girls’ lives. Recently I went through a storm in my life and sent them all an email saying that yes, sometimes life stinks. But God is still good. We don’t always understand His ways, but we can trust in Him. In return, girls emailed me back, encouraging me! One in particular told me that it helped her knowing that she was not alone in struggling. Sometimes that’s what people need to hear…not to toughen up and deal with it, but that it’s ok to cry. God hears, and He’s working on your behalf.
Love this so much, it helps me have grace for myself as you always say you’re an unlikely gardener. I’m not the best at keeping plants alive these days due to my schedule. But I hope to change that!
I love growing things! I’m not great at it either, but the small successes are rewarding. Our family is moving to a warmer climate in a few months, so I’m excited to garden there!
I love the excitement of spring and the potential it holds! I’m starting a few seeds this week! I live in Kentucky, and generations of my family have lived by the rule that we don’t plant in the ground til Derby Day. Then we know it’s safe and we’re likely past the last frost. I’m excited to plant seeds and flowers with my oldest son who will be two in June. There are so many metaphors for life and parables about sowing seeds and weeding out the things that inhibit what we want to grow 😊
I am planning my first garden this year! I would like to start with tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and some flowers.
I would love to learn how to grow beautifully smelling flowers both inside and outside!
Talk about perfect timing: I decided it was about time I get my hands dirty and try gardening. In fact, just last weekend, I cleared out some of the garden beds that were created by the previous owners of my house. I have to admit, I’m at a loss as to what to do next. But hey, it’s start, right? I’m hoping to grow tomatoes, carrots, kale, and a few other vegetable items, as well as some flowers to encourage pollinating. We’re in zone 8b so it’ll be … interesting. 🙂
We have been working on clearing out our yard… little by little our progress is adding up. But I’m so ready to start planting!
I would love to grow some herbs and flowers. Last year I had a tomato plant in a container on my deck and got one little tomato from it :D, maybe this year I’ll try again and keep my fingers crossed for 2 tomatoes?
My husband and I just moved to a new farm and I am so excited to that the previous owners were gardeners and I can continue what they started. We actually have dedicated fenced garden areas for veggies and I am cleaning out another flower bed for some pretty cut flowers! Can’t wait to learn more from this series!! Thank you!
Hi Lara! This post is wonderful! I’ve never kept up with a veggie garden well, but I have done well with flowers. I’m going to try potted flowers this year and possibly one tomato plant because my kids would love to see that grow and eat the fruit 🙂 thank you for your commitment to encourage and “cultivate” in many people’s lives. I would love to meet you and hug you someday 🙂
I have limelight hydrangeas and I love them! I want to grow more flowers because I love to be able to give them as gifts. I love that I can just pick some to give anytime I want. Flowers are so beautiful and always make people smile. I also love to have them inside at my house. 🙂
My garden last year wasn’t very successful. It was my first year in a new climate. This post encourages me to try again. Our season is short, so I may focus on flowers over veggies this time.
Thank you for your relatable posts on gardening. I love the idea of having a green thumb though I have killed so many plants over the years while trying! It’s a running joke in our house how long I can keep new plant additions alive. 🙂 One of my goals this summer is to commit to cultivating my plants and making a small space to grow some veggies and herbs outside. Little by little…and progress, not perfection! Thank you for all of your encouragement!
Just wrapped up MTH, turned 30 and felt the push to START A GARDEN. I am not a garden person but man, have this desire to grow and nurture and cultivate and bring my son into this journey alongside of me. Thank you, Lara! ♥️
Happy birthday, Liz! What a great way to celebrate your birthday!!! Hooray for making what matters happen!
This is our first year doing a big plot garden and I’m so excited! I’m incorporating it into or homeschool and am looking forward to learning alongside of my daughters. We’re planning on growing lots of veggies, some fruits (watermelon is on our list! It might be a flop but we’re excited to try), squash and of course some zinnias for cutting! And possibly a small wildflower patch to make the bees and butterflies extra happy. Thank you for this fun series and advice!
This is great advice! I want to plant flowers, tomatoes, okra, and cucumbers
I’d like to plant some herbs for tea! Maybe some peas and definitely something that bees like. 🙂
I am so excited to grow with my two little ones this year. They are almost five and almost 3 and I think this is the perfect year to start!
im going to do some purple hull peas and some tomatoes and strawberrys and some mint
What a moving, and yet still practical, post on gardening! It made me emotional, too, and excited to refocus on our gardening goals. Thank you!
I am looking forward to my garden for this year! Living in an apartment means my entire garden is in pots. I love cooking with fresh herbs and I am going to try growing a few new ones this year. I am planning on adding thyme, chives, and lavender to my current herb garden of basil, mint, strawberry mint, rosemary, and cilantro.
I’m growing a baby. 🙂 My daughter has been begging for years to make a garden. Maybe this year is our year.
Yay! I want to win a garden! I also want a flower garden to bring flowers to our church and food pantry in our tiny town! Amy Hille Bonduel Wisconsin
i encouraged my daughter to keep up the good work in her college life she was down so i said your smart and lead her back on track
This year is our year to grow things! For beauty and for food! We’re nervous but hopeful! I have a lot to learn and read but love that you have a series for this now to gain some knowledge from you that you’ve learned along the way! 💜 thanks for sharing all of this!!!
I’m happy to say since you wrote this series I have gotten some indoor plants for my room and they’re still alive! I would love to start planting outside but for health reasons I cannot be out in the sun or heat. I’m thankful my mom has a green thumb so I get to enjoy her garden. 😆
I had just started reading your book when my husband and I moved from our lovely home in Alabama to Boston. I have always been a plant killer, but I signed up for a plot at Fenway Victory Gardens (oldest continuously operating Word War II Victory Gardens in the United States). This spring, I am excited to cultivate a long neglected plot, into a thriving vegetable garden! Thank you for what y’all have done here at cultiavte, your books and Powersheets have really helped me. Y’all are doing great work.
That is so exciting! How wonderful!