This summer, I was accepted into the Scotts Gro Crew. Despite being a self-confessed plant killer, who has long been embarrassed by his gardening skills, I was accepted into program to show “anyone can do it” and say #IGrewIt.

I sat down with a gardening coach and realized there’s more than just dirt and seeds to gardening. You need to plan out your planting. Some plants are easier to grow then others, and if you set yourself up for success, you can win.

I built myself a raised garden box, small enough to be tucked away in a corner of our backyard, big enough to bring a harvest that lasted throughout the season.

I watered and waited, waited and watered, and eventually I was rewarded.

My carrots felt the love, embracing each other.

How baby carrots are made. #igrewit #carrots #garden #vegetable #love

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I had an incredible bounty of chard.

My lettuce gave me fresh salads every night.

Even now, as summer winds down, I’m still picking (and pickling) cucumbers.

Real men make their own pickles. #pickles #canning #cukes #charlie #omnomnom #foodporn #parenting

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So as I get ready to turn the soil over a final time and put a lid on my box until next spring, it’s time to reflect on my experience.

What I learned as a successful backyard gardener:

1. Gardening is a wonderful way to get your kids excited about food
My boys eagerly looked out the window each morning trying to see if something new had grown overnight. It was like Santa or the Easter Bunny constantly visited as they saw the tiny seeds they had helped plant turn into their favorite foods. They tried new foods because they had grown them and had a vast pride in ownership.

2. Gardening is all about sharing
I cut some deals with my backyard neighbor, trading lettuce and chard for tomatoes and peppers. Create a collective if you can with people on your block. I truly had ‘too much chard’ this year, so organizing a barter system with other gardeners where everyone grows something different can bring a great bounty to everyone!

3. More of this less of that
Now that I know how much (and how quickly) lettuce and chard sprout up, I will plant less of it next year. After my problems with radishes, I’ll avoid them altogether. Instead I’ll heavy up on some carrots, I’ll give corn a crack, and potatoes will make their way into one of my deck pots.

This summer I was reminded as to what REAL veggies tasted like. Sure, I eat carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers all the time, but when it comes from your yard, 20 steps from your table, there is something special about that plant. Tomatoes are rich and spicy, cucumbers are fresh and crisp, and the lettuce is buttery and delicate.

I Grew It!

I did it. #IGrewIt! Thanks so much to Scotts Miracle Gro for the help and advice. I hope your summer season of vegetables was just as wonderful as mine. See you in the spring!

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Scotts Gro Crew. This branded content appears in exchange for a donation to Team Diabetes Canada.

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