Gardening Tips and Tricks

About Northwest Gardening

I will never forget the moment when I pulled my first carrot out of my Grandfather’s garden, I was probably 3 or 4 at the time. He helped my rinse it off with a hose and said “Go ahead, try it”. I have very few memories from that age, though that moment is sealed in my memory forever. Reluctant at first since the carrot still had a little bit of dirt on it, it looked an smelled different from what I was used to seeing at the grocery store – that first bite completely changed my world. It was a taste that I had never experienced before. From that moment on, I was fascinated with all things gardening.

My parents didn’t have a vegetable garden at home, yet there were many other family members and family friends that were avid gardeners. I would jump at the chance to “help” whenever I could and many more lifelong memories were created. My first strawberry from Grandpa Jim’s garden, my first grape from Grandpa Erv’s garden, my first raspberry from Katie’s garden, stepping on Mr. Necco’s garlic while “helping” (which subsequently put me on a two week probation, yet my sentence was reduced to one week for good behavior). I was then allowed to help with harvesting those beautiful bulbs and hang them in the kitchen to dry along with the rows and rows of homemade pasta.

Around 4th grade my friends and I would all walk home from school together. As they would stop into the local drugstore to buy candy, I would beeline into the hardware store next door. I would walk straight to the back into the gardening section, the smell of fertilizers and gardening products was fascinating. They had a huge Ortho gardening encyclopedia, I’d flip through the pages and stare at the pictures in awe.

Finally one day I bought my first pack of seeds. I wasn’t quite sure what cilantro was or how to pronounce it, but the name was intriguing. I rushed home and went straight to a tiny dirt patch along the side of our house, gently placed the seeds in a perfect row on top of the ground and poured some water on them. I was now a GARDENER!!! I’d check and water them every day, just waiting for something to happen. All of the seeds eventually pooled up and floated to the corner of my little dirt patch. Needless to say, they eventually rotted away. Disappointment and discouragement shortly ensued, winter came and my first gardening season was over.

The next spring I was more determined than ever. I recalled someone telling me that I needed to fertilize the soil. I found an old bottle of fish fertilizer and dumped it straight into the dirt and stirred it in with a stick. Put down some new seeds, plenty of water and within a couple of weeks my first ever seedling sprouted. It was a moment of pure joy and excitement, life had been created! Thinking more is better, I came across a old box of Miracle Gro and dumped half of it into my dirt patch. This fertilizer thing is really working, right? Sure enough my little seedling turned bright yellow within a few days and shortly met it’s demise. Yet again, it did not stop me. I’d spend evenings drawing garden plans with construction paper and crayons…longing for the garden of my dreams.

To fast forward things – the years went on I learned more and more, correcting my mistakes, gathering advice from Grandparents and family friends, eventually getting to the point where I could actually harvest something. By the time I was in my early twenties the concept of organic gardening finally set in, which changed my world once again. Living in a variety of Seattle rental houses, apartments and triplexes, there was always a place for a small garden bed to grow organic greens, herbs and of course…carrots! My love for gardening only expanded, yet I was still feeling confined by the city.

In the year 2000, I finally decided to leave the city life and made a bold move the the Olympic Peninsula. A little 300 sqft. cabin, all alone in the middle of the woods, with a cleared 1/4 acre spot perfect for a garden. It was exactly where I belonged, gardening by day and programming websites by night. Three years later I met the love of my life who happened to be a professional photographer. We bought a 5 acre piece of property and I was finally able to build the garden of my dreams. The garden I longed for, ever since tasting that first carrot.

In 2003 the first rendition of was born and has been an ongoing process ever since. I volunteer at a local Senior’s Center, learning the gardening experiences, tips and methods from generations past. Organic methods used for centuries, well before chemical fertilizers, pesticides, GMO’s, etc. The purpose of this website is to bring that collective wisdom to all of you, urban or rural, so we will have something to pass down for generations to come. So let’s dig in, happy gardening, and let the roots grow deep!


Yoder – The Garden Geek

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