What makes a garden grow? Ashley Addison’s answer seems a bit of a metaphor, and I feel like we are talking about life itself as we walk through her new backyard garden.
“I’ve thought about this a lot,” she says warmly. “In general, you wouldn’t plant a garden if you didn’t have hope for the future and passion to nurture it. Now, we enjoy tending to the plants by watering, weeding and making sure each is healthy, but I’m also excited to reap the fruits of our labor by feeding our family.”
More than just the bounty a backyard garden offers, Ashley says the life lessons she and her family are learning in the garden is what she loves most. “Our kids are little, so naturally, Elizabeth loves being wherever I am, and of course George loves to dig in the dirt, but they find amazement in the process of sowing the seeds and then being able to pop a tomato into their mouths! They are literally enjoying the results of their hard work.”
“We decided we wanted a big garden when we moved into our new house last year,” Ashley says about the 30×35 fenced-in space housing seven large raised beds and a myriad of colorful, edible plantings she and her husband began building a few months ago. “We went with the raised-bed garden not only for the aesthetics we were aiming for, but also because they are less physically demanding all the way around,” she laughs.
Although there is no standard when it comes to what kind of backyard garden is best, raised beds offer several advantages, especially here in our fickle climate. Soil control is notably the most advantageous perk of this style. Choosing the right dirt, and having the option of adding or taking away whatever elements necessary for successful growing is much easier than figuring out how to work with the existing backyard dirt. Controlling the moisture in the soil is key to a good outcome. For many, nurturing a garden is a hobby and great joy is found in hand watering their crop, but for some, less time is available, so irrigation is added to alleviate the fuss that surrounds adequate water supply. Elevating the plants above tree roots and weeds allows the roots to have adequate space without having to compete for nutrients and space to grow as well.
“We started with simple research,” Ashley says when we begin chatting about what she planted and when. “This is our first year, so I’ll let you know what mistakes we learned from soon enough.”
With ample bloggers and influencers sharing their stories and results on social media and online, gathering knowledge from others is simple. Ashley suggests starting with herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash as results are quickly obtained. “Add a few varieties of each to keep things exciting,” she says just as George appears with a pot of water and dumps it over her shoulder! “I’m just having fun with my family, which is why I love it.”
A garden, like life, takes the willingness to put time and effort into the things one desires, having the passion to grow, accepting failures, and then challenging oneself to learn from the mistakes and then growing some more.