Recently, I sat down with Amanda Baity to talk about all things gardening!
In 2014, Amanda and her husband started a veteran’s service organization called Semper K9 assistance dogs. Amanda told us it all started with her husband's job in the marine corps, he worked as a dog handler, but after five combat tours, they decided these back to back deployments weren’t working for their family. Amanda knew her husband had a unique skill set as a dog handler and he needed a way to be fulfilled after leaving the marine corps. they decided to roll it into starting their own nonprofit, where they train service dogs for disabled veterans at no cost to the families. there is no doubt that Amanda and her husband are amazing humans.
Besides working for her nonprofit organization, Amanda is also an amazing gardener. Right from the start, she told us the best way to learn how to garden is to try it for yourself! After having my first raised garden bed last year, I realized though it was beautiful, I had a lot to learn. It was so much fun to do, but I made a lot of mistakes. I am so thankful for all of Amanda’s knowledge!
“I've just always had a passion for growing food for my family, there's nothing more satisfying to me anyway, sitting down at a meal, and all of the vegetables and possibly even the meat, you grew, you grew yourself, it's all yours even even, like just everything, even the butter that you use that you have, you know, so there's, to me, there's nothing just more satisfying than that eating the fruits of your labor.” Amanda told me. it’s so awesome, she is a great DIY gardener and repurposes a lot of around the house items for planters.
Things such as milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, or egg cartons are all so amazing for starters. so essentially, if you have $1, at least $1, which you could get by doing all of this for free, you can grow your own garden wherever you are at!
Here are some of Amanda's favorite gardening tips...
1. Make sure you check out the Farmer’s Almanac.
The very first thing to do is to find out your estimated last frost date for your spring and summer garden, you need to know that date to know when your plants will succeed. to do that you go to almanac.com, the Farmers Almanac. This is really going to help determine when you need to start seeds inside or when you need to purchase the seedlings and your plant starts from your local hardware store. Amanda also suggests going to the farmer’s market to try to shop small if you can. If you can’t, you can also check out shops like tractor supply, home depot, Walmart, wherever it is that you can get plants. you don’t always have to start from a seed, buying starters is a great way to begin your first garden.
2. Find out what you want to grow.
The next thing that you want to do is find out what you want to grow. Amanda told us we could check out her website to find her favorite places to shop for seeds. you can buy packages of seeds for as low as 25 cents. You can even get seeds from the food you are buying. I personally took the pit from an avocado and have stated my very own avocado tree, which I am so excited about! save your seeds! A great way to start it with starters and even making your own with recycled material you have around your house. Amanda told us all about the amazing world that is planting videos on YouTube. She even uses YouTube videos for tips on planting. She also posted her favorite YouTube accounts on her blog page.
3. How much space do we have to grow?
After you’ve done some research, you can get an idea for what you want to plant and how much space you actually have to grow. Amanda has shared her Amazon store front with us to share some of her favorite and most helpful gardening tools that she uses every year. If you have 100 acres or a balcony in an apartment, you can start your own garden. The best way to find out what ways are best for you is research and the readiness to learn! Gardening can be a great source of relaxation. There is something very humbling about growing your own food, and I think everyone should try it.
4. Pests and Bugs.
Amanda gave great information on what you can do for different pests that get into your garden, like grasshoppers and hornets that can hurt your vegetation or kill butterflies and bees who help pollinate produce. Turns out you can actually buy eggs or insects like praying mantis and place them in your garden, so when they hatch they are already there. insects like praying mantis’ or ladybugs are really good for protecting produce as it grows.
You can find more awesome gardening tips like these over on her blog!
Amanda is an amazing person and what her and her husband are doing over at Semper K9 is truly amazing. It was such an honor getting to talk with her and learn with her.
To watch her garden grow and for more handy tips and tricks make sure to check her out over on Instagram or YouTube.
You can catch Moving With The Military LIVE on Monday's at 10:30 AM CST on Facebook for Maker Monday's!