Story of a Beginning Gardener

Have you neglected your garden during the past few seasons?  Do you feel like you should be getting more vegetables for all of your hard work?  Are you feeling frustrated with your lack of success in the garden?  Are you an experienced gardener who is ready to delve more deeply into organic gardening?

All of these scenarios describe past and current FarmWorks customers.  I am contacted by all levels of gardeners every season - from folks who have never planted a seed in their lives to people who have been gardening for 10+ years.  Many of them have hired FarmWorks to assist them in various aspects of their gardening projects.  I'd like to introduce you to a few of them over the next few weeks!

Leah ~ The Beginning Gardener

(We) were laughing last night about the fact that if we had tried to do this ourselves, we would probably have built our garden in the shade and killed our trees! We really appreciate the enormous amount of work you put into the garden and we are so excited to see everything come to fruition this summer! – Leah

Leah and her husband moved to a new home in Madison last spring and wanted assistance designing and installing their garden.  When we met in late winter she had a good start with a proposed location and a design.  They have a big yard with some huge, old cottonwood trees.  FarmWorks has a nifty tool called the Solar Pathfinder that we use to chart the sun's path throughout the year at the proposed garden site.  We discovered that the site of the future garden was too shady for the crops they wanted to grow and decided to shift the location to a sunnier patch in the yard.  We updated Leah's garden design and came up with a plan of what she should plant where for the first year and suggestions on rotations for the future.  When the weather warmed up in April we got to work installing her garden. 

yard with grass and trees
           Before picture of Leah's yard                           After installation, before planting

She wanted to take over after installation and plant her own seeds and plants.  As part of her installation package we created a custom plan that included a planting calendar, crop spacing guide, variety recommendations and a FarmWorks Gardening Guide.  Because Leah was still learning about gardening and wanted to be as successful as possible during her first season, she signed up for our Urban Gardener Training program.  I returned to her yard three times throughout the season to work with her one-on-one.  We would start out by walking around her garden so she could ask me questions about different things and I could offer advice and suggestions.  After talking for awhile in the garden we would take a seat on her patio and cover topics that she wanted to learn more about - cover crops, soil ferility, pest and disease management, ideas for preserving the harvest, and others. 

I really love the education aspect of Madison FarmWorks and I think it is a unique part of our business.  I love to share everything I have learned about gardening over the years and I like helping people grow into more successful gardeners.  Growing your own food takes time and labor, so I think people should get a lot out of their garden in return for their efforts.  I really concentrate on teaching people how to increase the production of their gardens so that they can enjoy the fruits of that labor all season long.

Leah has blossomed into a talented gardener.  She built a fence and gate for her garden, installed chickens and a coop, and already has plans for expansion!

Leah's Garden after she added her personal touches!

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