Cultivating my happy place! A victory garden for the body and soul.


A few years back, I'd say around 2019, I felt a tug on my heart to start growing food. I didn't really know what that meant, so I began researching vegetable gardening. I didn't have to dig too deep to find gardeners and homesteaders on YouTube or Instagram doing exactly what my heart had been calling me towards. I set out that year to make it happen. Now I should mention that I have a very tiny back yard. I live in a suburban townhouse, nothing major. Small front yard, small backyard. But what I did have was the desire to grow my own food. While researching the best methods I came to 3 conclusions. 1. Hügelkultur 2. Ruth Stout 3. Raised beds. I knew with these 3 methods I would be set up for success. Given the methods I had chosen I needed to acquire some hay. You see it was Autumn at this point and according to my new friend Ruth Stout that was the best time to put hay down. It would decay and compost all winter long and be ready to plant in early spring. Where does one get hay in the suburbs? My thoughts exactly....I found a guy who would be willing to drive 2 bales of hay to me for a bit of money. Now me, being the city person that I am did not fully comprehend what 2 bales of hay was. Spoiler alert, it's A LOT of hay. Way more then one tiny garden could need. Fast forward, it's mothers day and my husband gifted me 11 hand made garden beds. I was beyond thrilled to be so close to planting my first garden. I filled the beds with MORE hay, sticks, leaves and beautiful compost. (That's the hügelkultur) I planted my garden with seedlings I started at home and some purchased from my local garden centers. I had an amazing first year. It was not all peaches and cream to be fair. I messed up a lot. However "fail upwards" as they say. Making mistakes is the best way to learn. Since my first season I've been hooked. I now have 3 gardening seasons under my belt. A beautiful and bountiful garden with pollinators, perennials and fruit trees. It has been such a joy learning more every season, it doesn't just feed my body it feeds my soul. I am at peace in the garden (as long as the spiders stay far away). The best part is, I now share my love of growing food with friends, family and my social media accounts. I hope to encourage so many more future gardeners to get their hands in the dirt and "cultivate their happy place".

Story contributed by Kimberly M.

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“Cultivating my happy place! A victory garden for the body and soul.,” Community of Gardens, accessed May 30, 2024, https:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​12432.​
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