Posts in DIY
How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners

Gardening season is here and I am PUMPED up about it! When I moved to Tacoma last year I noticed there were community gardens ALL over the place and I immediately knew I wanted to join one. It took some researching and a little legwork to find one that had available plots but by the spring of last year I was the proud new renter of a box! I had mini balcony gardens for a few years while I lived in NYC, but having 14 by 6 ft of space?! So many options! So now that we’re in prime gardening season again I wanted to share some of the things I learned for other beginner gardeners. So you can skip some of the mistakes I made and just grow a badass garden yourself.

The dirt you use matters

This applies more to the herb garden we have in the kitchen… but something I learned the hard way is the dirt you use really matters! I thought.. dirt is dirt right?! Turns out that’s wrong and we ended up getting dirt that had chunks of glass in it and fungus gnats in it and AHH it was terrible. So definitely be conscious of the dirt you buy for your plants — especially if you’re doing a windowsill garden. Our community garden is an organic garden and they provide TAGRO — dirt made with a blend of pasteurized wastewater byproducts called biosolids (aka 💩) and our plants have grown awesome. Then for our windowsill herb garden and our other houseplants, we use miracle grow potting mix. So I’d start by saying definitely pay attention to what the dirt is made for and if there are natural or synthetic fertilizers in it. Starting with quality dirt is the first thing that will set you up for success!

Know your zone

Another thing you want to know going into gardening is what zone you live in. This is based on a lot of different things but is important to know! This will help you learn about when you should be planting different things and what their season will be. Once you know your zone you can find a ton of different planting guides on Pinterest too!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners

Some plants are easier than others

This totally matters on the location of your garden conditions and all of that jazz but some plants are just a little easier than others. this can totally depend on the season too I’ve learned from other gardeners. So going into your season accepting not everything will be a success will ease a little pressure on you! Plus, like I said you learn as you go. After the first season here is where I would rank some of the plants we grew.

Super Easy
These plants are hearty and super easy

  • lettuce

  • kale

  • sugar snap peas

  • broccoli

  • potatoes

  • Anaheim peppers

  • basil

Easy but need some maintenance or need specific conditions
These plants will produce a ton but need a little more maintenance especially if you’re in a smaller gardening space

  • zuchinni — these suckers get HUGE. Since our garden is smaller we have to keep them trimmed back some so they don’t take over the world.

  • raspberries — same with these guys I mean they are an invasive species after all so be diligent about keeping them under control.

  • tomatoes — They get really heavy so making sure they have adequate support is key.

  • strawberries — These take a little more time to get rooted and produce (usually a few seasons)

A little tougher
We didn’t have great luck with these our first year for a variety of reasons which is why I’m saying they’re a little tougher (but also may have just been our season)

  • cucumbers — you need to be careful with the leaves because if they get too wet they will die off eventually killing the plant… We didn’t have great luck last year so opting for a vining variety (vs bush last year) this year

  • carrots — we actually grew a decent amount of carrots but they require a lot of patience. We grew them from seed and they took all year to be baby carrots

  • onions — same with the onions. A lot of this was due to not spacing them out enough or thinning them out but I used the tops for green onions a lot more than the actual bulb part.

Give them some room to grow

That little baby zucchini or tomato plant will be a monster in a few months. So make sure you pay attention to the spacing they need. I wanted to cram as much as we could into our box but I quickly realized that some of the plants definitely could have used a little more room. Another thing is some plants need to be thinned out. Which basically requires you to decide the survival of the fittest after they’ve been growing a bit and you’re supposed to pull out some of the weaklings so the others thrive. I didn’t really know about this… but another thing to consider for spacing. If you’re gardening in a smaller space the square foot gardening method is a really great way to make the most of your space. You can learn more on this website and there’s a ton of books and blogs on it too!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners

Plant some flowers

Bees are your friends so make sure they feel welcome in your garden! Once some of your plants start getting blooms, they need help with pollination and bees will help it happen! We had really great luck planting marigolds throughout our garden in between our veggies. As the garden continued to grow we ended up moving them around a bit (probably not great for them but they survived) and it’s crazy how much of a difference having the flowers made.

Keep up with Maintenance and support

Like I mentioned earlier, your plants are going to grow, grow and grow some more! If you’re in a smaller space pruning is going to be very important. During the peak of summer we were probably pruning at least once a week I’d say and watering every day. It’s crazy how much plants can grow in a day or too with all of that sunshine! I’d recommend getting to know what plants and how you should prune them. The ones that needed the most pruning were our zucchinis, broccoli, tomatoes and now our raspberries. The other thing is making sure your plants have adequate support. Tomato cages are essential and you’ll need to start those when you plant them but you’ll also likely need stakes and other things throughout the season. This year, we actually doubled up our tomato cages to give them more support since they get sooo heavy. Here’s are my recommendations:

  • Trellis for snap peas/beans/cucumbers: don’t skimp on these.. we tried one of the plastic poles with netting and it was absolute crap… I also know you probably don’t want to spend a million dollars either.. we ended up getting wooden ones that are sturdier but also inexpensive. Of course I also painted them because I’m extra like that.

  • Stakes: My favorites were these ones. You can get them at Lowe’s or other hardware stores.

  • Garden Ties: These are just the little twisty ties but are really helpful for securing vining plants like your snap peas to your trellis, tomatoes or peppers as things grow

I hope this post has been helpful! I’m definitely not an expert by all means but this is what I’ve learned so far. Happy gardening!

Get Rewarded this Season with Black Box Wines
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : Get Rewarded this Season with Black Box Wines

If there's one thing that goes well with the holiday season, it's wine! Okay, let's be honest... are there many things that don't pair well with wine?! 🍷🍷 That's what I thought.. that being said, if you're a wine fan like me, then you are going to love today's post!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : Get Rewarded this Season with Black Box Wines

What could possibly be better than the holidays and wine? How about getting rewarded for the wine you're already buying! Say what?! Yes, this is a real thing. Black Box Wines recently introduced a loyalty program and I am alllll about it. 

So what are the dets? It's super easy, all you have to do is create a free account through their rewards program and then you can start earning points right away for your purchases and engaging with the brand. That's it! Easy peasy. So what can you earn rewards for? Product discounts, access to events, gift cards to top brands like Sephora, Uber, Hulu and more. Plus, they have some really awesome branded merchandise, like the goodies below!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : Get Rewarded this Season with Black Box Wines

I don't know about you, but personally, I'm all about saving up for the floaty set! Think my new apartment complex will be cool with me floating around sipping some of my favorite wine? I mean as long as I share right? I'll keep you posted 😉 The team also hooked me up with their portable wine glasses, which I most certainly will be putting to good use.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : Get Rewarded this Season with Black Box Wines
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : Get Rewarded this Season with Black Box Wines

Now onto some other important details, the actual wine! If you're not familiar with Black Box Wines, then let me introduce you! The brand offers premium, award-winning wines in a box. And this is not your parent's cheap boxed wine either.. it's taking boxed wine to a new level! So far I've tried the Red Blend and the Rosé and I've been really impressed. Which btw, once the temps warm up again save this Frosé recipe I made this summer.. delicious!

Their wine is the perfect choice for the holidays too because each box holds 4 bottles worth of wine. Plus, it's good for up to 6 weeks after opening, just in case you don't finish it at your party. It also has half of the carbon footprint of glass bottles, which is something you might not think about when you uncork a bottle, but certainly has an impact!

So let me set this straight, the wine is delicious, you'll get rewarded for drinking it, plus it's a more eco-friendly option?! If that doesn't encourage you to check them out I don't know what will! So what are you waiting for? Get to that by clicking the link below! Cheers to that!


**Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Black Box Wines provided me with a complimentary box of wine and set of wine glasses in exchange for a blog post. This post and all opinions stated are based on my own ideas and honest experience with the product and has not been influenced based upon the sponsorship.

Happy Halloween from the Farm
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm

Halloween has always been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I'll skip the scary movies and haunted house but I am alllll about all the pumpkin patch, the costumes and, duh, the candy! 🎃🍭

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm

I was really excited for this Halloween too because I actually had a porch that I got to decorate plus we actually get trick or treaters here! Trick or treating isn't really a thing in the city, so it's been a hot minute since I've actually had kids knocking on my door.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm

This year, I decided to use my move back to Washington as inspiration for my costume and take it back to the farm!I had so much fun with this one and it was pretty easy! Here's what you'll need if you want to recreate the look.

Supplies:

  • Tulle skirt as a base -- mine is from Space 46 Boutique (You could also make your own)
  • 1 yard of white tulle
  • 1/2 yard of black felt
  • 1 sheet of white and pink felt
  • Bell
  • Headband
  • White t-shirt
  • 1 roll of ribbon of your choice
  • faux foilage of your choice (I chose sunflowers and leaves)
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Sewing needle and transparent thread
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm

The first part of the costume I worked on was the headband, which was the most labor intensive part (which still isn't that bad!). I started with an old black headband I used the felt to start on the ears. I doubled up the felt so when wrapped around the headband and folded together they formed ears. Start with the white felt, and then you can use transparent thread to sew both ends together. You don't need to do any complicated stitching, just a simple mending job. Once you have your bases set, cut spots out of the black felt and add those on top followed by pink felt for the inside of the ears. Once your ears are complete, if you please, you can add some faux foilage like I did with a glue gun.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm

The next step is the shirt! I went with an off-the-shoulder look, but you could totally just use a t-shirt of v-neck as is. If you'd like an off the shoulder look then you just need to cut an oval shape off of the top from each side of the shirt. Need up, cut out spots out of the black felt and add them to your t-shirt with hot glue. You could sew these spots, but hot glue worked great and it only has to stick for one maybe two nights anyways right?! If you use a glue gun, I suggest putting a piece of cardboard inside the shirt so you don't glue it together. Then I finished off the top by tying a ribbon on each sleeve.

For the skirt, I used a pink tulle skirt I had as a base and then I added a white tulle apron to the front that I added spots on. For this, I got 1 yard of tulle and cut it into long strips. Double it up to the length you want it to be and tie a little knot at the top. Then take your ribbon, wrap it around your waist and cut the length that allows you to tie it in a bow. Once your ribbon is cut, find the center and hot glue each of your tulle strips in the center. Then you can cut some more black spots and lightly hot glue those to the front of the tulle. To finish off the skirt, I took some more of my faux foliage and glued it to the corner of the front.

Last but not least, I took my bell and added it to the same ribbon used throughout for my necklace. I also had a little extra so I made a little leaf bracelet as well.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design :: Happy Halloween from the Farm

And wa-lah, Halloween costume! Of course, no cow is complete without a baby cow! That's right, Scoots got in on the action too! I swear he liked his costume more than he looks like he did 😂 He definitely liked all the trick or treaters though, that's for sure! All and all, it was a great Halloween! Hope everyone had a fun holiday as well!