Grow Your Own Food | August 2023

Reflecting on this summer, there’s a stark contrast between the bountiful garden I had envisioned versus the reality that unfolded. The intense heat and my exciting new business venture kept me indoors more than expected, transforming my dream farm into what can best be described as a weedy wonderland.

Easy to pull weed with an amazing root ball. To the compost bin!

Weedy Wonderland

Despite the unexpected turn of events, I still make it a habit to walk the yard every so often to check in on things. Although the weeds have taken over, they’re not the only ones thriving. Over the past few years, I’ve been tossing seeds and spreading cuttings everywhere, resulting in a mix of other edible and beneficial plants. So, when it comes to weeding, I have to be selective and take my time to avoid accidentally uprooting the good stuff.

My strategy is simple – pull the big weeds as I walk by and move on with my life. The big weeds usually come out with an easy tug, leaving behind a satisfyingly cleared space. This approach makes the most impact for the least amount of effort (80/20 principle). I’ve been doing this for years, and as the seasons pass, the balance in my garden is noticeably shifting. The plants I love are slowly outnumbering the weeds. In the meantime, the weeds will grow until I’m ready to plant something better in their place. Plus, the overgrown weeds serve as an excellent mulch.

Mulch,Dirt and a John Deere

In a fantastic turn of events, my friend needed a website for his business and he had a mower to trade for it! So, after a few hours on the computer, I found myself the proud owner of a new, old John Deere Tractor.

my new 20-year-old John Deere!

This little beast has been more helpful than I ever expected a mower could be.

Lots of grass

I’ve been letting the grass grow super high, cutting it with the mower, then grabbing handfuls of the debris and tossing it right on top of the weedy mess in my garden beds. This strategy suppresses the growth and gives me a better starting point for fall.

Shady spots allow me to grow things that most people say it’s too hot to grow

Battling the Flood

One area of my garden floods pretty badly. To combat this, I had a truckload of dirt brought in and I’ve been spreading it with a rake. Throughout the day, I throw handfuls of bird seed on it so the chickens can scratch through it and help me spread it. It’s a slow and steady process, and I’m going to need a few more truckloads, but we’re making progress.

Harvesting Amidst the Weeds

While pulling weeds, I also stumble across a decent amount of food scattered throughout the yard. I don’t always harvest everything I find. In fact, more often than not, I leave it for the animals and to decompose back into the soil and spread its seeds. This interconnectedness between my garden, the animals, and the environment makes it much more rewarding for me.

Squash, beans, cucumber, ginger, muntingia, tomatoes and of course, eggs

This year, I ended up with a lot of Seminole squash and tomatoes. I scraped the seeds out of the squash, filled it with beans, tomatoes, and corn, then roasted it and added some cheese. Not too bad. I have some seeds left over for the squash. If you’re interested, let me know!

baked Seminole squash

We also had fun harvesting watermelon. I would guess we got about 10 of them. My son had the great idea to cut them in half, then use an immersion blender so we could drink them, rather than cut them up. Easy and delicious.

drinking a watermelon

Last but not least, we started raising mealworms again. We used to do this a lot when the boys were little. They’re actually a lot of fun to watch as they quickly go through their life cycle -> egg, mealworm, pupae, beetle. They multiply super fast and make awesome snacks for the chickens. The waste (frass) that they leave behind is really good for the plants. So, yea, I have a couple containers of bugs brewing in my shop.


Amidst the chaos in the world, I find comfort in the approaching fall and anticipation of my upcoming 40th birthday. This milestone year holds so much promise, and I am so looking forward to it.

Gardening has brought so much joy into my life and sharing this knowledge with others has been deeply fulfilling. With each gardening class, I’ve grown and evolved, continually improving along the way (my apologies to those who attended the earlier sessions).

As I witness my garden, my classes and myself becoming more and more productive each season, I know this is the year that it all comes together. Embracing sustainability, frugality, productivity, and minimalism has become my mission. We’ve already taken steps by selling off our clutter in a garage sale and incorporating food from the garden into almost every meal. Simplifying our lives with gratitude and reducing stress has become the guiding principle. So, stay tuned for that, and thanks for following our journey. New classes start up this fall, and I can’t wait to see you there!! I hope you and your gardens are doing well, see ya next month.

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