Welcome to Tending My Garden!

February 19

My name is Theresa.  My husband and I live in a little country town in Virginia—which is becoming more “not-so-country” every day.  In any event, I love it.  We have a little over an acre on which our home, small garage and shed sit. Flower borders and gardens take up most of the rest.

In the months to come, I hope to be of help and encouragement to you by sharing my 35 years of garden experience with you.  That will spill over into the kitchen (50 years of experience)  and I hope to give you some helpful tips to make your life in your garden and kitchen more enjoyable —-and help you eat better at the same time.

A lot of what you read here will not be the mainstream way of doing things.  I have simplified and simplified again my garden and kitchen chores so that I can have the time to grow our food and prepare good wholesome food for my husband and myself and our guests when we have them and tend to my other responsibilities of making a living as well.

I plan to share what I consider wonderful finds with you.  By “finds” I mean things that I have found helpful, enjoyable, or in some cases  — that just appeal to me. On some recommendations , I will be compensated if you decide to purchase, which will help sponsor this site.  On other things  I will not be, but will share with you anyway. My recommendations will ALWAYS be based on my belief that the product will provide excellent and valuable information and/or service.

I’ve been gardening 35 years, many of those years spent without a nickel to spend.  I’ve learned over the years what is needed and what is hype. My knowledge comes from first hand experience and observation as opposed to just theoretical knowledge that comes from reading only.

I don’t use things that are poisonous or harsh products that might imperil my soil.  I buy my seed (organic when possible) and use basically what nature provides to give my soil the nutrients to produce great stuff.  I mix perennials in my garden – choosing things that are beautiful, easy, and that I think will make beneficial insects call my garden home.

There was an article in the Washington Post by Barbara Damrosch in May of 2009 entitled “Who’s afraid of a little organic garden? ” The article, in my view, basically made the point that the big chemical fertilizer and pesticide industries  want you to think that gardening without use of their products is impossible.  I particularly liked and related to one of her ending comments: “The great dark secret is that nature is generous and determined to make plants grow.”

I think she hit the nail on the head.

Pictures: Flower border in front of our home from different views; a close up of yellow dahlias with a bee.


  • I have another question. I saw your pictures of your garden and how the paths between your vegetable beds were mulched. How did you make your paths originally? Did you turn under the existing soil(in the path area) or just mulch until the grass was killed? If not, then how did you get rid of the grass? I have read a lot of your posts, and I see that ‘mulch, mulch, mulch’ is one of your keys, but I was wondering how to even begin my paths if I am starting from scratch. I have a few raised beds with grassy paths between, so need to take your advice and just have mulced paths. I have not been successful, but am determined to learn all I can and to make it work. I have ordered my short-day onions from Dixondale farm(as you recommended), and they are planted and looking good. Maybe, just maybe, I can make this garden work!

  • Hi Laura,
    In preparing any garden bed or paths you must remove all the weeds, grass, etc. Otherwise — it will be a never ending battle. If you do choose to bury the sod part — rather than go to all the effort to shake out the dirt and remove the grass and weeds — put it down AT least a foot or more. Wire grass —- that spreads by rhizomes — must be removed and cannot safely be buried. It will still grow.

    You can do it one of two ways. In brief: You can prepare each bed separately and then remove just the weeds and sod from the paths

    OR — — you can prepare the entire garden as one bed. After that is finished— remove some of the soil from what will be your paths and then throw it onto bordering beds. That will make your paths a bit lower than the beds. Then HEAVILY mulch the paths. I like to much heavily and bring the mulch almost level with the adjoining beds.

    And Laura — you CAN be successful! You will find that your success is mostly in soil preparation and improvement. You need only prepare your soil deeply — one time. And then you need to mulch and keep it mulched. Just that alone will carry you most of the way to success within a year or two depending on what your soil is like. Adding even more organic matter will carry you even further.

    Congratulations on taking action! Also, very glad to hear that your onions are looking good!

    Here are links for the 4 posts that I think will be the most helpful to you regarding soil preparation.





  • Hi. I’ve been trying to find the “article in the Washington Post by Barbara Damrosch in May of 2009 entitled “Who’s afraid of a little organic garden?”” but I can’t. I have a subscription and have searched for it. Do you think they took it down? Is it possible you have a copy of it?

    If so, thanks! If not, that’s okay, too!

    I’m enjoying your blog.

    Athena Morris

  • Hi Athena,

    I don’t have a copy of the article.

    It is possible that WPost took it down. Some folks seem to think if it’s on the internet it’s there forever. But that sure hasn’t been my experience. And maybe this is the case with this article.

    Glad you’re enjoying TMG.


Leave a Comment