I'll never forget the first day I came up to our house after the closing.
Chad stayed back in LA for work, and I drove up to Ventura to start ripping out carpet. The entire house needed to be gutted, I had no idea where to start, but it all needed to come out so it didn't really matter!
I blasted my favorite country song, pulled on gloves and a face covering to protect myself from 30 years of who knows what was living under that carpet, and started going to town with the razor blade.
Ripping out carpet was the most satisfying feeling I'd felt in a long time. Wow, that sounds kind of pathetic huh?
For the most part, our days are spent on the computer for work. Zoom call after Zoom call, and it was rare I was doing any kind of physical labor. It felt so freeing to rip things apart and smash a hammer into a wall. Too much?
You can bet at the end of the day every part of my body was sore from this foreign type of work, right down to the joints in my fingers.
That's when Chad and I started joking that we were trading in our LA / city hands for country hands, and it felt great!
Over the course of the next year, our hands became calloused as we hammered nails, laid hardwood flooring and set tile, demo'd walls and entire bathrooms, primed, painted and recreated our own beautiful space that we now call Teaquila Farm!
Was it exhausting working on a fixer upper? Absolutely!!
There were days we had to motivate each other to keep going, but we also didn't have a choice since we were living amongst the dust.
Most folks reading this aren't necessarily working on a fixer upper, but another way to trade in city hands for country hands is to simply get your hands in the dirt.
After we finished remodeling the house, we were excited to start digging into the soil, which is the primary focus of this post.
I didn't grow up in a family that tended to a beautiful garden or raised our own organic food.
We went to McDonalds on the regular, so let me tell you, all of this gardening stuff is still entirely new to me!
Below are three ways that I started my relationship with soil, and started turning those city hands into country hands....
Before we started our garden or even attempted to plant anything, I would visit our local nursery and just spent time amongst the plants.
Maybe that sounds silly to you, but simply immersing yourself in the nursery is an immense learning process! I would walk through the different sections, from the warm misty greenery and starting to learn the house plants, to the outdoor fruit trees, herb garden and pollinator flowers like salvia and lavender.
I loved spending time in the pollinator section because it was usually literally swarming with hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
Even if you choose to buy a succulent plant for your windowsill (very hard to kill a succulent) that's a fantastic place to start!
Ok, you're ready, it's time to buy your first plant!
I know you want to fill your cart with various species, colors and leafy beauties of wonder, but if you are new to plant / gardening life, I can tell you starting small will serve you.
One of my first plants was the monstera, inspired by my friend Farmer Nick and his appreciation for monsteras. I would see them in his instagram stories and be like yessss that plant is calling to me! We took this baby home, and eventually propagated it and turned it into two!
I recently wrote a post called 'Four Reasons our First Garden Sucked," you can link to it here. In this post I go into details about the trials and tribulations of my first gardening experience. The biggest lesson learned is that it pays to start small!
I personally ignored this advice despite all the blogs I read, and ended up really botching our first garden.
If you're beyond that and looking to expand your garden, we recently installed these eco-friendly garden beds from Vego Garden and we're currently loving them! Use our link and we get credit too, consider it our tip jar for Teaquila Farm! Below are the main reasons we love these beds, and why we'd recommend them for new gardeners:
I will be writing more in depth posts on starting your own garden because there is so much to share here, but in the meantime take a look at our recent reel highlighting how to start your own tea / herb garden, which plants we chose and an easy way to get started!
The reality is, Chad and I have hybrid hands.
We are both still glued to the computer for work Monday - Friday, and sprint out to the yard on the weekends for our dose of mental health nourishment. Turning those city hands into country hands doesn't happen overnight, and they can serve as hybrid hands. Start small by investing in a beautiful houseplant, learn about its history, origin, if it pairs well with other plants (companion planting), how to care for it, how to propagate it, etc.
I think of gardening as being similar to surfing. There is so much to learn on the inside in the whitewash before you paddle out to the depths of the ocean, so start small and enjoy the slow build of knowledge and experiences before you jump the gun beyond your comfort zone!
Where are you at in your journey? Would love to hear from you, you can leave a comment here!
Stacie & Chad