The learning curve in homemaking.

Photo by Kampus Production on

This has been one of those days. I’ll keep it short and to the point. It all started in the garden. I had my morning walk through with my coffee in hand. I felt disappointed with a side of bummed. Our garden is much better than last year and is giving me kale and I harvested a ton of garlic, but it is stunted and taking forever. It has been a big learning curve with this land and soil. I have big hopes and dreams for next year but I honestly want to just till it all under and let it simmer for the remaining seasons.

I won’t. We are going to have an amazing potato harvest and maybe tomatoes.

I want to share this video. I have shared it so many times and I’m watching it right now for the 20th time. I just called Bali to stop at the Dollar store and bring us home a stack of notebooks. I want to take notes on all these gardening videos. It’s study time! Arjan wants to write, Sam wants to sketch and I need to journal and take notes.

This video is SO inspirational for anyone who has poor soil or even rock soil, or has a short growing season. We have clay soil and a short season. I need a green house of some sort to get an early start and we need to really, really amend the soil for the next growing season. I think for now I’ll work each patch after harvesting. I weeded the garden deeply this morning. Most of the greens bolted, the basil bolted, the strawberries aren’t thrilled in their spots and so on.

What needs to happen is some focused, daily time in that garden loving it, tilling it, adding, subtracting, weeding, mulching, planting, feeding and so on. Just like this woman in this video. She has skills! I want to be just like her!

Library books and notebooks are coming today and we are nerdy excited. Arjan wants to write about all his knowledge. He is bright and filled with facts and mummy can only handle so many hours of facts so I say, “write it all down!” Sam can’t write yet so he sketches out stories. I watched a favorite monk talk about journaling and decided to do it because I have a loop going these days. Journaling by hand should be interesting since I never write anything by hand anymore, I get hand cramps just writing out a check once a year.

I did some sewing while watching that gardening documentary over and over. I mended a favorite pair of peddle pusher stretch pants and Arjan’s backpack. It wasn’t pretty sewing but I’m getting better. It was sturdy sewing, I was proud of my improvements. It feels so productive to mend things. I saved $10 on saving the paints and maybe $20 on fixing the backpack instead of buying new stuff.

Also set the bread maker to work and made the morning honey wheat bread. Also made two quarts of soy milk. I used to guesstimate the cost of the bread and soy milk. It’s been a while but I figured the bread is about a dollar to make and a quart of soy milk is .25 cents. Bread in the store is an average of $3.99 or $4.99 for the organic (which I make). Soy milk is $2.99 to $3.99 for a quart. My cost for organic bread and soy milk; $1.25. In the health food store; $8.89. Savings of $7.73.

So, by mending and scratch cooking we saved $27.73. Hallalujah!

We did spend $10 on 10 notebooks at the Dollar store.

For those of you learning to garden, start small and master the soil and a few basics and then expand. We have a garden that is the size of a house we rented years ago. 860 square feet, give or take. We have clay soil and one of the gardeners in this area said it would take us a good three years to get the soil just so.

We need to start seeds inside next year. Those two months makes all the difference. Its mid July and I see no melon’s and my corn is stunted. I had big dreams of eating corn, tomatoes and melon all summer but that ain’t happening this year. How did the pioneers do it?! I know whom ever lived in this house some hundred years ago had a garden, they had to in order to survive. There was probably one dry goods store in this town and all you could get was flour, sugar, coffee, maybe beans and some canned goods. People had to grow food. It’s not rocket science…for most, for me it feels like it sometimes.


  1. Kate, it takes time to get the gardens just so. I had gardened all my life because I lived with great grandparents for many years. They were sturdy farm people. I was raised up to do all the running of the home in a kind and patient manner. I raised my first set of kids the same way and it continues with the second set. We have 15 raised garden beds now. We lived here 6 years. It was a ton of work to get the soil just so. I hope you enjoy putting pen to paper.

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  2. For me the biggest thing with my garden was that I gave up on amending my acidic clay soil entirely and I made hugelkultur raised beds using materials around my property and then I purchased top soil from a local company that delivers it. It cost me about $150 for five yards. And then I just mulch the heck out of it with leaves and grass clippings and feed with fish emulsion and our 800sq ft garden feeds us all year. We use floating row covers during the winter. You’ll figure out what works best with your space. It takes trial and error. The first couple of years are always the hardest with a garden. You will get there.

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  3. Grew up in a family that owned a florist. Kate ,add peat moss it will help clay soil. Truly miss visiting you on you tube,thanks for the blog look forward to them.😊🌼

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  4. Kate, start a worm bin (the boys would love this) and use the castings in your garden or make ‘worm tea’ with it. Also, look into Fox Farm liquid fertilizer. It’s made of castings from worms and bat guano, both excellent additives for your plants. It takes some good years with adding and turning over straw and such in your garden. You can add peat. The thing I noticed works best is Miracle grow potting soil. It’s expensive and it’s not organic .. I think they do have an organic version though. Maybe check out some recent gardening videos bc there are so many methods and products. I’m in the same boat bc you inspired me last year to start a garden in my yard so I have like 5 inches of topsoil which is all clay and I’ve been trying to amend amend amend. At least you got a hold of some horse manure! Anyway, just get that Fox Farm stuff and it’ll help!

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  5. Sorry, I can’t see where I can edit. OkRaw has a couple of channels but his gardening one is called this: Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens
    You can get recipes at the other one. He has some recent videos that might help you too.

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  6. I am with you on the garden challenges. My garden has been poor this year but we will keep on trying. Just think, you are doing better than I am.

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  7. I feel ya. This is the time of year that I always want to rip it out and start over for fall. My tomatoes are almost finished and the rest of the vegetables are suffering under the heat and humidity. Looking at other people’s bounty makes me feel like I’m not doing something right but we have had enough to make it worthwhile. I will start some fall seeds inside at the end of the month.
    Valerie in SC

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  8. As far as my garden, it’s growing beautifully for some reason. I have a question – would Arjan be interested in teaching Sam to read? Arjan certainly has the skills and I know sometimes kids relate better to kids teaching/showing/sharing things with each other than we parents. Just a thought.


  9. Hi Kate, thanks for sharing this video!

    I hear you on the frustrations. I’m in Texas and the heat and humidity always want to make me give up around this time. And then fall happens and I fall in love with gardening again and I make a million plans.

    My biggest success has been using the lasagna method. The beds where I used this method are rich and full of worms and I don’t need to water and baby them as much.

    Do you know about ruth Stout? She wrote some amazing books about her method using wood chips and natural garden waste. I think you’d like her perspective because her focus is on getting results without as much work. I have a disability, so that appeals to me. I don’t have a cheap local source for wood chips, so I haven’t tried it as much as I would like, but I imagine it’s a successful method judging by how well lasagna gardening does. I think the more we mess with the soul and till it, etc, the more we may throw it out of balance.

    I also recommend starting a worm bin. The boys would probably love to help you with this! There are also methods of composting in place with something like a pvc tube in the bed and you put your kitchen scraps in the tube and it attracts the worms. I can’t remember what’s that’s called. I also use worm castings in all my beds and with every new plant I put in the soil.

    Good luck on the note taking. As a fellow research nerd and journal writer, I think that’s a wise investment of your time. I love referring to my garden journals from years passed. It turns out you can learn a lot from your past self!

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