You go, Mandy–

Just this spring my pal in Peoria asked me how to turn her boring yard into a garden.  5 months later, the girl is buying canning jars to preserve her homegrown vegetables.   

Here’s Mandy’s yard BEFORE. 

And here are parts of her garden NOW.

Impressive–I asked Mandy to share  the 3 keys to her first time garden success.    Her  very wise reply follows: 

1. I ended up only digging out half of the size garden I’d originally planned. Only did one side of the patio instead of both at once. Turned out to be less overwhelming. I didn’t really set out to do it that way, it just happened that way. But now I’m quite glad of it.

2. You once told me that not all plants are meant to survive. So I planted a bunch even though I wasn’t sure what I was doing (like with the carrots) and figured that I’d see what happened and not pain over anything that didn’t make it. So when a bunny ate most of my carrots, no big deal. And now that I’ve made three jars of pickles, my cucumber vines seem to be slowing down and I’m ok with that, too. If they suddenly turn out bunches more, I’m ready. If not, I’ve gotten to try my hand at pickling. (Still waiting for the week of marinating/brining to be finished!)

 3. Water. We had a sprinkler system for the yard installed last fall and we had them put in specific garden sprinklers where we had planned on eventually digging out the garden. I only remember to give my child water when she asks for a glass… I need all the help I can get.