Season of Growth

Toward the end of 2019, Jared and I started tossing around the idea of building a small garden. I have literally no idea why because for years I’ve been so anti-garden. They seemed like a ton of extra work, I’ve never successfully kept a house plant alive and my grandparents already had a thriving garden with plenty of produce they shared.


Surely this idea was another small phase. Much like the time I wanted to buy a small camper trailer to renovate into a mobile store. Or the time I thought I could totally make weekly vlogs (i made two) about owning my own company.


Note: Jared has lots of phases, too. But I won’t call him out. 😉Know it’s not just a me-thing.

He said his phases typically start with researching, and two weeks later, he stops researching and gives up to move on to something new… ie more research. 


So why in the actual heck would we want to start a garden? Yeah, I love fresh produce and garden salsa is actually the best food in the entire world, but I hate sweating, bugs, and having dirty hands.


That is an answer I’m still searching for, but as far as where we are today: I have no regrets and have loved every second of it.

jared and alyssa planting the garden
the garden at sunset

'Rona, Jobs & Time

At the end of January, I left my traditional day-job for the chance to chase my goals of growing my own design business. Then the world went into a global pandemic.


Bad luck? No. I would not change a single thing.


Yes, I did lose a few potential clients, but I do believe they will come back when they feel more financially secure.


No, I didn’t let it crush me.


Jared has been so fortunate to work for a company that allows working from home — in fact, it’s gonna be hard to push him back to the office! — and we are able to pay for our bills from his salary. What we have less of is what we call “fun money.”


Jared is a budgeter. (Thank goodness one of us is!) We use You Need a Budget (YNAB) to build pockets of our money. We have the obvious pockets like mortgage, utilities, internet, student loans, groceries, gas/transportation, Quinn’s stuff, emergency fund, etc. We also have a section for “fun money.” Which includes vacation, a budget for myself and Jared, dining out, and home improvement projects. That’s where the garden lives.


While I’m still growing Wichita with Love, our fun money is less funded than normal. My accountant — still Jared — is working on funding my business, still using YNAB, through the end of 2020. I’ve paid myself a couple of times, but the virus has slowed it down some. It’s nothing we are worried about but does require better planning and resourcefulness. And truthfully, that is a great thing! We can’t just pay for shortcuts, in turn, creating less waste.

Season of Growth

In a few weeks, Jared and I will celebrate our second wedding anniversary. We also got in a fight last week. Granted, we’ve never had a fight last for more than 24 hours… so it was just another one of your typical marriage frustrations. I saw that because I don’t want anyone to think we are perfect. I like to share our best moments on my social media, because no one wants to read, nor do I want to write, about the dumb arguments. We operate as if it is in the past and we move forward. You say what you need to, the other response, a compromise understanding is made, and we move on.


We will always strive to grow together.


Much like this garden.


It’s going to be difficult, because we’ve never done this before and there really isn’t a manual, you kinda have to figure it out as you go. What works for one person won’t always work for another. But having a positive — as positive as possible — outlook and the acceptance that it won’t be perfect. 


Like how we planted our tomatoes, watched a few YouTube videos, and made the call they were too close. So when we dug four of them back up and moved some to another bed. And one — that I swear I didn’t touch, snapped in half. And then!! The next morning, the WIND had snapped a second one.


The root systems were still strong, so I left them in the ground. The small bit of stem that was left has grown a little, so maybe it will work. Only time will tell.

What comes next?

We have a lot of plans, but if 2020 has taught us anything, plans can change.


We started watching Roots & Refuge with a 30-something woman named Jess on YouTube. Jess said something in one of the videos that popped up that was something along the lines of people our age, millennials, have lost touch with the art of growing food. She said it better than that, but I liked her thoughts.


Let it be known I’m a huge feminist and don’t believe in gender roles for families, but I do the cooking because I love it. (I also require Jared to help… even though his knife skills scare me and he’s a wimp when it comes to using enough salt.) Learning to cook and providing meals has always been important to me. Jared and I both have gotten lost in the ideas of what we can make from what we grow. I’ve already mentioned garden salsa, but did I mention garden salsa?


And somehow we keep buying seeds and adding new sections to our garden. Just yesterday we bought some ginger to grow, strawberries and sunflowers. Jared liked to idea of growing sunflowers because it is something his grandfather always did.


I like that too. Growing garden and plants is something we both share memories of with our grandparents. Both sets of my grandparents had huge gardens. There is nothing I love more than fresh sweet corn and garden cucumbers.


While we didn’t attempt corn this year, we have so many things we hope to add next year. The talk of expansion and additional raised beds is already in the works.


While I know my garden will not live up to the bountifulness of my grandparent’s, I know we are developing the soil and skills to make the future gardens great.


One day, one year, one global pandemic, one growing season at a time.

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