All posts filed under: More

The Beginner Gardener Series: May 2020 Experience

Gardening is all about trials and errors. You will likely make mistakes, but also gain insights into being a better gardener.  Here is my list of successes and failures so far this year: 1- I was over-eager to acclimate my indoor seedlings in late April… and half of them died.   Luckily, I overseeded, so I had backups. For one, my cucumbers struggled to thrive in temperatures ranging from 30 to 50F, resulting in only two out of ten indoor seedlings looking well enough to be put in the ground.  I had to direct seed the rest and hope for the best. 2- I was ill early this spring and my husband did not pay close attention to the indoor seedlings. Consequently, they suffered from a lack of water and not enough time under the grow lights. We had to discard a large portion of them and so all of our efforts were for naught. 3- I discovered that I can utilize SOLO cups, takeout containers, empty clear jars, etc. as a cheap cloche to …

The Beginner Gardener Series: The 3 essential tools for gardening

When I was a beginner gardener, I made the  rookie mistake of buying multiple gardening tools that one would use in a traditional garden, including a trowel, transplanter, cultivator, weeding fork, and weeder.  Over the last three years, I found that I could replace them all with 3 tools: a trowel, a weeder, and a Korean traditional garden ho called “a homi”.  If I could only purchase one tool, then a “homi” would be the Swiss army knife. The homi:  This was a “do it all” hand tool since the Bronze Age for Koreans.  I started to see them used in Korean YouTube horticulture videos and decided to purchase one last year on Amazon.  It was the best gardening decision that I have ever made!  It made my life so much easier.  It has a curved handle and a blade with a unique shape that allows you to dig, weed, mound, etc… all encompassed in one tool.  You can find a homi at multiple price points on Amazon by searching for a “Korean homi garden …

The Beginner Gardener Series: Mistakes that I made in Year 1-3 of gardening

As I reflect on my last 3 years of gardening, I realize that I made a fair amount of beginner mistakes.  Here are some takeaways that I learned to help you prevent the novice pitfalls. Putting seeds into the ground too late.  I decided to save money by germinating seeds instead of purchasing nursery plants in my second and third year of gardening. However, I started my seeding too late, which resulted in my vegetables maturing deeper into the summer and yielding less crop.  If you are not able to sow seeds into the ground two or three weeks after your area’s last frost date, then I highly recommend utilizing nursery plants instead. It is okay to get some help. Germinating seeds indoor without proper equipment.  I decided to start seeding a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables indoors to get a leg up last year.  It sounded like a great idea, but I ended up with a lot of headaches instead.  I had only purchased one small grow light and assumed that the …

The Beginner Gardener Series: How I develop a passion for growing my own food and gardening.

I have been meaning to write about my journey from being a city slicker to a nature lover.  I moved to Boston from NYC when I got married several years ago.  After a few years of city living in tight quarters, my husband and I decided to move to a suburb north of Boston to start our family.  We could finally have a backyard and fresh air!  Three summers ago, I came home from an overseas work trip to discover that my mother-in-law had created a small vegetable garden in my backyard.  She planted tomatoes, cucumbers, and a bunch of onions – the usual ingredients in Bosnian cuisine.  Since I normally worked from home when I was not traveling, it was my responsibility to maintain this nascent garden for the summer.  I started learning slowly by watering the seedlings with timid expectations of a blooming mini farm. As each day passed, I became more inspired to try growing some kitchen herbs, which necessitated numerous trips to the nearby Home Depot. As the summer progressed, the …

Winter Skin Care Essentials

Winter wind and cold air can be harsh for any skin type. The key to surviving the winter’s environment is to make sure that your skin is continually moisturized. There are many different products on the market so it can be hard to pick and choose the right one for each person’s skin attributes. For example I have very sensitive skin that is prone to irritation from changing weather and also from chemicals in products. I adhere to the Asian skincare regiment which is longer than the general western version. There are a series of steps to address hydration and other skin problems in the Asian routine. The goal is to not strip the skin of its natural hydration but to sooth and add hydration to the epidermis and dermis. Over the years, I have a few stalwarts that I depend on to get me through the winter  and are listed in this article. Morning: Powder wash, Toner, Serum, Lotion (face and  eyes) and Sunscreen Night: Oil Wash, Powder wash, Toner, Serum, Facial Masks if necessary and Lotion (face …