Michelle's Garden: The Little Garden That Could!

Welcome to Michelle's Garden
Michelle Santiago I think I can.jpg

Welcome to the first installment of “Gardeners of the Merrimack Valley!” For this week’s post, I’d like to introduce you to Michelle from Salem, NH! Michelle is growing her own food for the first time this year, and is loving her garden, which she affectionately named "The Little Garden That Could."

Why did you decide to start gardening?

I was really scared of gardening, and I still am! I decided to start because I would see my friends in the city posting about growing food.. Here I had this big lawn and I wasn’t even doing anything with it, while other people were growing food in pots in their driveways!

How did you get started?

shopping for garden.jpg

For Mothers Day, I told my family to buy me some vegetable plants instead of flowers. And so “The Little Garden That Could” was born! It turns out I planted my plants way too close together. I couldn’t believe how big they got! Next year I will actually plan out my space.

Garden just planted.jpg

Have you noticed any benefits from growing your own food?

I have kids and work as a nanny. My kids don’t eat peas when you put them on their plate, but when they got to pick peas out of the garden and see how they come out of the pods, they tried them. They still don’t eat zucchini though! I teach the kids about bees and how bees are good for the garden and we shouldn’t be scared of them.

Having homegrown vegetables in my house helps me eat more vegetables. Sometimes after a rough day you just want some ice cream. I ate the ice cream, but I also cooked the zucchini since I felt guilty wasting it. If it was from the store I’m sure I would have let it go bad, but since I grew it I wanted to use it. I also like having an activity to do for stress relief.

Michelle's first edible harvest!

Michelle's first edible harvest!

Tell us about your compost!

I’ve gotten really into composting. I built a composting area out of pallets and made a homemade compost sifter. I pick up coffee grounds from the local Cumberland Farms, and whenever there is a sale on corn at Market Basket I pick up the corn husks for my compost. We compost our food scraps. My sister helps with my efforts - she brings over her food scraps and has even started picking up corn husks from the stores for me! My neighbor’s kids always bring over their food scraps for the compost and I love how the compost pile teaches kids what happens to food.

What advice would you give someone who wants to learn more about gardening?

I started with watching lots of YouTube videos and researching about gardening. Some things worked out and some things didn’t. I garden on a budget and find a lot of tools and supplies at the dollar store. My advice is to find someone experienced to ask your questions. I messaged Bethany so many times to ask her about things going on with my plants. It’s like when you first become a parent - sometimes you need to talk to a more experienced parent to know what is normal and what isn’t. Having someone to ask is invaluable.

Michelle's Garden Grows.jpg

Thank you for sharing The Little Garden That Could with us, Michelle! You are doing an amazing job for a first time gardener!

Want to get started growing your own food? Download your free guide to Four Crops Anyone Can Grow - Even You!

20180725_123027.jpg
The Little Garden That Could for pinterest.jpg
Bethany Bellingham