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Escape overwhelm in the vegetable garden… here’s how!

The growing season starts fast, and you want to get the most out of your garden. Overwhelm can creep in and keep you from getting things done in the garden and make you fall even MORE behind. What do you do?

There’s actually a gift hidden in garden overwhelm. Watch the video to discover it.

In the comments below, let us know what makes you feel overwhelmed. What kinds of things in your garden are hard to put aside?

 

Kid’s Read-Aloud: The Enormous Carrot

The Enormous Carrot is a story about two gardeners who accidentally grow a carrot SO BIG they can’t pull it out of the ground themselves. They ask friends and neighbors to help. And by working together, the team finally harvests the enormous carrot! All of the friends celebrate their harvest by eating the enormous carrot together at a picnic.

The Enormous Carrot shows us the importance of working together, especially in the garden. The story will also help cultivate kids’ curiosity about how their food grows. It might even inspire them to grow their own enormous carrot!

Meghan Groves is a teacher, gardener, and mom. She is creating a brand new Grow Your Own Vegetables Micro Course to teach the little ones in your life about plants and how they grow!

As a reading specialist, Meg loves using books as a foundation for learning new ideas and new skills.

Spark Garden Excitement in Kids with Reading

All you need to explore gardening with children is a garden. Right? Generally, this is true. However, if we want children to develop sustained curiosity about the natural world, we need to present them with digestible, age-appropriate topics. Our new course, Sprouts: A Child’s Garden Adventure, will do just that. You can explore outside and inspire curiosity with the resources listed below. 

Books are an excellent way to set a purpose or entice a child to look closer at the world around them. I especially love the book Up and Down in the Garden by Kate Messner. She explores the many things happening above and inside the soil. Her story highlights the different animals, insects, and plants just outside your door all season long. She also has a companion book entitled Over and Under the Snow that explores the hidden animal world during a snow-covered winter. I recommend reading these two books together.

For the youngest gardeners, Lois Ehlert’s books are bright with simple illustrations and quickly become favorites. Her books contain a lot of labeling, which can help deepen your conversations about gardening. Growing Vegetable Soup illustrates the progression from growing food to eating it. It would be a fantastic read for any child unfamiliar with where food comes from or who is interested in cooking. There is also a recipe at the end of the book. Lois Ehlert has written another book called Planting a Rainbow about different kinds of flowers and how they grow. If your child enjoys Growing Vegetable Soup, they are sure to love this book as well.
A Seed is Sleepy, A Nest is Noisy Book CoversDianna Hutts Aston creates wonderful books about the natural world. I suggest A Seed is Sleepy, and follow it up with A Nest in Noisy. The main text will engage your child, but she also includes more in-depth information in asides on each page. She describes and labels different kinds of seeds and plants. The illustrations are captivating and reminiscent of traditional botanical drawings. This book will reach readers on many levels.
A Seed is Sleepy, A Nest is Noisy Book Covers
A Seed is Sleepy, A Nest is Noisy Book Covers
The next two books take you on the journey of a plant’s life cycle. Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed is enlivened by his acclaimed illustrations and tells the story of how one very tiny seed becomes a very big flower. This engaging fiction tale has many realistic elements that will reinforce the reader’s understanding of a plant’s life cycle. Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell is a great book for October or November, when you may have your own pumpkin lying around the house. This book follows the journey of jack-o-lanterns through decomposition into sprouting new pumpkins. It is an excellent book to set the scene for your own pumpkin rotting experiment.
Check out Kelly’s Classroom Online blog for more information. I have conducted this experiment a few times in my classroom, and it’s fascinating to watch the pumpkin decompose up close.
This battery-operated microscope is one of my favorite classroom purchases. You can take it on nature walks and immediately look at plants up close. It has a 60-120x magnification, and it is incredibly easy to use. It has also proven to be quite hardy.
Choosing one aspect of the natural world to focus on at a time is a great place to start. These books can help focus your intentions and engage the children in your life. Thank you for taking the time to inspire the young learners in your life. Happy Learning!
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[Stage 5] The weirdest spirit gardening secret I know

What if I told you that you could have SO much abundance in your garden that you’ll start to RIP OUT plants to make room?

I know this may sound out there or far-fetched. But it’s totally possible when you live in the 5th stage of Spirit Gardening… AWE!

This one stage has the power to completely make all other stages feel like a warm up to true Spirit Gardening. I’ll explain how in a bit…

But first let’s talk about how we get to awe. 

If you’ve noticed a theme so far, kids know how to do this a lot better than adults! The whole world leaves us in AWE when we’re kids after all!

Remember thinking that your Dad was the strongest man in the world? 

Or that your Mom made the best mac and cheese EVER?

That’s because you were probably living in a state of awe. Everything is new and exciting! And there are all these people around us who have more experience at this “life” stuff. 

When you’re young… you might’ve felt like these people had superpowers or magic at their fingertips.

*spoiler alert* They probably didn’t use magic, but what they DID give you is much more powerful…

You might even be thinking right now… what could possibly be more powerful than superpowers??

One word… LOVE!

Yes, as a kid you might’ve had a lot of people sending love your way. And it feels AMAZING! 

You might’ve gotten bedtime stories before you went to sleep…

You might’ve gotten animal crackers and juice boxes when you needed a break during the day…

Or you maybe had play time and recess when it was time to move your body…These are all ways the world shows you LOVE when you’re young!

*sidenote* Why did we stop all of this as adults?? I think a regular nap & juice box time would solve a lot of the world’s problems and make us all happier too…

And here’s a not-so-surprising surprise… this technique works for your garden too!

You may have seen two plants Ikea did a study on in my Spirit Gardening talk at the Superfood Garden Summit. They experimented with “loving” one plant and “bullying” the other one. The result?

The plant they loved thrived and the one they bullied struggled:

The same lesson works in your own garden too. If you focus on what is thriving and love it, you will start to help it thrive even more! To be honest, I don’t know exactly how it all works.

But I’ve seen it work for my students too many times to think this isn’t real.

Somehow when you focus your love on what thrives, it expands!

It wants to grow even more for you and make even more delicious herbs and vegetables!

And if something doesn’t respond to your love, guess what?

You can actually PULL it from your garden. Yes, that’s right. You can take plants out of your garden at any time. 

Because here’s the counter-intuitive truth… the thriving parts of your garden will be more than happy to take up the space! This may seem totally crazy, but it works. And if the plant you’re pulling out is one you really want to harvest this year… don’t worry!

Sometimes just pulling out one plant that is doing so-so and replacing it with a fresh starter is enough. Eventually (and with enough love), you will get to harvest all the vegetables and herbs you want. All plants respond to love. But you don’t need to go crazy loving on your plants either (but you can if you want to!)

Sometimes just having your morning coffee with your plants and telling them what good things might be happening in your day is enough.

And if you want MORE examples on how gardeners like you love on their plants, watch this video:

>>> CLICK HERE to watch How to Practice Spirit Gardening with Stacey Murphy

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite techniques for living in Stage 5 of Spirit Gardening, Awe.

It’s really a magical stage to be in once you practice for a while!

You don’t have to “pass through” the other stages to get to Awe either. I’ll show you how to reach stage 5 of spirit gardening even if you haven’t practiced the other 4 stages yet.  

I’d LOVE to see you there. 🙂

Peace and AWE,
Stacey

[Stage 4] Better mindset, better garden

Gardening is the best way to get the freshest, healthiest food. 

But what if I told you that it turns out that gardening does a lot to keep your MIND healthy too?

Because studies have shown that gardening provides equally incredible health benefits for your brain including:

• Reduced stress and anxiety by making you feel more peaceful and content.
• Boosting your self-esteem when you see your hard work pay off with a bountiful harvest.
Improving attention span and concentration by focusing on a task without the usual indoor distractions.
Encouraging social bonding when you garden with others or share your harvests in your community.

And that’s just from “traditional gardening.” 

When you start to apply Spirit Gardening, it takes these health benefits and amplifies them. That’s why in the 4th stage of Spirit Gardening, Evolve…

…you focus less on action and more on feeling!

Today you’ll take what you’ve learned from the previous three stages and decide how to grow and evolve from it. 

Here’s how…

Stage 1: You had wonder and curiosity and you asked questions.
Stage 2: You listened to your plants and noticed things about them and your garden.
Stage 3: You took playful action.
Stage 4: Now your garden has responded to what you did and you’ll choose how you respond to your garden.

Your garden’s response may or may not be what you expected. Maybe you wanted bigger zucchini and a more abundant harvest. But instead, you got similar-sized zucchini from last year and less of them.

This is where the opportunity to evolve and grow lies. Because no matter what your outcomes are… you get to choose the “story” attached to what happens!

Many people react to not getting the result they wanted with guilt, anger, or shame. They feel like a failure. Like something they did caused them to fail. But I want to introduce a very special idea to you (one that’s taken me years to understand)…

What happens in your garden is not your fault. But how you choose to respond to what happened is your responsibility.

Your garden is an amazing place to connect with and work through these darker emotions. It’s okay and totally normal to feel that guilt, anger, and shame! But when you Spirit Garden you’re able to release those emotions because these feelings are just teachers to help you get closer to your goals next season.

…and you always win! Because you either got what you want or you gained a lesson.

In one case you got what you wanted (yay!). Or you learn a priceless lesson that you will never forget! 

In this stage, as you grow and evolve you’ll come to realize that your garden does so much more than nourish and rejuvenate your body. It nourishes and rejuvenates your mind as well. 

These are the things that are going to improve your garden. It isn’t focusing on tactics and strategies. It’s focusing on your feelings and the lessons you learn about life.

You’re going to feel more successful AND I promise that given enough time, you will see positive results.

Whether this sounds crazy to you or like the best form of therapy, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Which is why I want to invite you to watch my training,“How to Practice Spirit Gardening Q&A”.

>>> CLICK HERE to watch How to Practice Spirit Gardening 

I’ll be answering your questions about Spirit Gardening and how it can help improve your garden, your mindset, and your overall well-being.

This is the way to lifelong gardening success. This is the way to love your garden. This is the way to appreciate the plants, animals, and people in your life. 

Peace and carrots,
Stacey

[Stage 3] The secret that makes gardening fun

Have you ever seen children playing house? (Or remember doing it yourself!) 

Pretending to be adults going about their everyday life. Going to work, making dinner, going shopping. They turn things that we adults often find dull and boring into play.

And they have a blast doing it!!

It turns out (and numerous studies have shown this) that imaginative play is how children develop their social, emotional, and language skills. 

Play is learning.

There are reasons that so many math games, reading games, and science games exist. You and I are designed to learn more when we’re having fun!

This is why Play is the 3rd stage of Spirit Gardening.

This is what makes Spirit Gardening different than learning from a book (or even any one of my other courses!)

Instead of thinking “I want to plant tomato seeds because that’s what everyone grows in my neighborhood,” you say “what do I think would be fun to grow?”

You go get the seeds of the plants you actually want to grow, you plant them, and then you see what happens.

In this stage, you want to take the curiosity and wonder questions of stage 1. Then combine it with the ease and observations you made in stage 2. Put them together and what do you get?

You get inspired action that feels like PLAY!

What have you noticed around your garden? What questions have those observations raised for you? Listen to the little intuitive hits, the ones that seem to come out of nowhere. Trust those and try them.

Maybe you saw a toad in your garden. It sits peacefully in the corner, observing just like you. Maybe you felt a connection with that toad and think about putting in a toad house.

You have fun with it! Maybe you create a cute little toad village. Even if it takes up some of your precious gardening space.

Your little toad friend moves into his new toad abode. After a few weeks, maybe you notice more toads hanging around your garden. You might also notice those caterpillars that were leaving holes in your broccoli leaves have mysteriously disappeared.🐸🍴🐛

When you approach gardening this way you’ll find surprising things happening. Some will be good, like toads acting as a natural pest control. Some not so good like dandelions making a home in your new flower bed. But here’s the beautiful thing about approaching your garden with a playful mind…

There’s no failure in play.

When you approach your garden in a playful way it will always feel like a success! You’ll be excited to come back and learn, to experiment, and see what happens. You might even discover a new gardening breakthrough!

So if you want more inspiration to turn gardening into play….

>> CLICK HERE to watch How to Practice Spirit Gardening with Stacey Murphy

I’ll share even more ways you can add play and have fun in your garden.

Peace and Playfulness,
Stacey

P.S. — I saw this joke and had to include it for you! 😉