Friday, October 31, 2014

Our First Harvest│ First-time Gardeners│ Farm Fresh!

Our First Harvest│ First-time Gardeners│ Farm Fresh!

Here on this last day of October, the last day of my twenties, I felt it appropriate to blog about my first harvest, and our first year on the farm. I cannot believe how fast the year has gone, how fast thirty years have gone. Time really does fly. I whole-heartily believe that no matter how long you live on this earth, life is short and each moment counts. This year I made it my goal to live in the moment, try new things, and be grateful for each blessing-conversation-interactionno matter how large or small. Tackling projects outside of my comfort zone has been quite rewarding. One of the most unexpectedly-magical projects was our first garden and harvest. While gardening is a commonplace activity for the majority of folks here in NE Iowa, planting my first garden, watching it grow, and harvesting our produce felt surreal, symbolic, and monumental.

It all started when I met Kate and she wanted to plant her first garden, too, so we decided to plant and learn together. We had no clue what we were doing, but we had fun doing it! We quickly decided that this would be an experimental weed-less garden. By weed-less, I mean we didn’t pull weeds or use any weed killers. With all of the weeds, we still had lots of vegetables, but we did decide that next year we will make an effort to keep them down. We talked about fencing, but never got around to it. Even though we didn't put up a fence, we only had minor disturbances (cows in the corn).

Our garden wasn’t the prettiest in the neighborhood, and it definitely wasn't perfect, but we actually grew vegetables! It felt like a miracle every time a new plant popped up out of the soil. I remember jumping up and down when we realized we had corn popping up in rows!

It was amazing to watch our first buds pop up and grow into actual vegetables. Harvesting different veggies throughout the summer and fall was awesome. Who knew gardening was so rewarding? I think part of my awe over the whole experience was how unexpected and new it was to me. I am fully aware that planting seeds in the ground and watching them grow into food is not a new phenomenon; however, each plant truly felt like a tiny new miracle. There is nothing like a first-hand experience to give you an entirely new understanding and outlook. I never in a million years thought I’d be living on a farm in NE Iowa and growing my own vegetables...

After having our first garden, harvest has a whole new significance to me. I am so thankful for all of the blessings, experiences, relationships, and even the weeds that I've encountered throughout my life and our first year on the farm. 

For you seasoned gardeners out there, our crop may seem meager; however, to Kate and me, we rocked it!

We had lots of beautiful
·         Green Beans
·         Sweet Corn
·         Watermelon
·         Summer Squash
·         Butternut Squash
·         Cabbage
·         Lettuce
·         Tomatoes
·         Volunteer Dill
·         Volunteer Ground Cherries
·         An Abundance of Apples

We need to try these again:
o   Carrots (I did have one miracle carrot)
o   Peppers
o   (I need to check on our sweet potatoes!)

I've thoroughly enjoyed all of my adventures over this past year, and being able to look back at them on the blog. I'm sure my family, and friends "back home" have been completely surprised by my garden updatesjelly making adventures, reno projects, and all of the other atypical-Jillian behavior that's taken place! Our garden was definitely one of the highlights of my first year, and I can't wait to see what we plant, grow, and harvest next season!

Thanks for checking in! 

Coming Soon: A Sunset Beach photo session and the perfect 
Murrells Inlet Wedding Day!


  1. You are 1 amazing young woman. Zach is very lucky!