April 16


The Good, the Bad & the Garden

By Jennene Hinton

April 16, 2020

garden, gardening

Hey there, everyone! Can I tell you how excited I am to be here with Upcycled Adulting? I can? Well, thanks for that…

I am so flippin’ excited! Woo!

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s move on. My name is Jennene, which is pronounced the same as the name “Janine” but my parents were trying to spell it out phonetically or something, so that’s what I got stuck with… call me Jen.

I am at www.jenhin.com and I write the blog named Happy Messy.

Cassie and I got to talkin’…

And after discovering that we might be the other half to each other’s souls– we thought it would be fun if I talked to you guys about one of my messy hobbies – GARDENING!

OH, the joys of gardening!

By this point, I am sure that you are all climbing up the walls, trying to entertain yourself and the family, keep everyone fed and healthy – and pretty much just trying to NOT kill all the people in the house. I know that’s where I am, during this crazy quarantine/apocalypse/pandemic.

I need everyone to take a breath right now and slowly let out all your stress with the exhale… do it a couple times- I’ll wait…

Let out that poison!

Cool, ok. Now that you’ve done that, take a look outside. What do you see? Here in Arizona, I’m looking at my dogs play in the sprinklers, and the sunlight throwing flashes of rainbows through the water in the air. It’s actually pretty cool- I guess I sat down at the perfect time to write to you. Anyways- depending on where you are, whether you have sunshine or snow, you have AIR. And you have access to dirt. Even if you are in an apartment, you can buy (or build!) a planter of some kind.

We all have access to Spring right now!

It’s April! C’mon!

Social distancing does NOT mean you can’t go outside.

My challenge to you is to get your ass (and you family’s collective asses) outside and play in the dirt!

It really is a very fun thing to do, and now is totally the time to do it.

First, you need to get a plan.

You definitely want to plan out the layout of your garden- if you have the room for one. My yard had a little area on the east side of my house. Looked like the previous owners used it as a dog run – it had a little wooden fence and everything. It took me a couple years to motivate myself to clean all the junk out of the area, but once I did, I realized that that I had a good 10 by 20 ft area to work with!

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but suffice it to say that I turned that little plot of land into a nice, fertile garden area. And then I proceeded to dump whatever veggies I wanted wherever I wanted them. I mean, they were in a straight line with little troughs dug in on the sides for the water, but I never took into account how much room some of these suckers needed.

Therefore, do a little research on the plants you want to have. My garden has mostly veggies, but you might be more of a flower person.

Pick whatever the heck you want!

I’ll tell you a good one to have- Citronella. Also known as “scented geranium.” Get it. Put it by the back door in a pot or whatever you have. This guy is hated by mosquitoes!  The summer months are coming and we all know that means bugs.

I hate mosquitoes!

But they LOOOOVE my pale skin and sweet disposition. Or something.

Now is also a good time to do some research on homestead-ing. Learn about what kinds of veggies do well in your area. Squash, tomatoes and peppers do well in my garden. That’s not going to feed the fam, but with a little cilantro and onion, I can make a mean salsa!

*and I have put zucchini in my salsa before. It’s really good and has a great mouth-feel.

**The term mouth-feel simultaneously cracks me up and makes me shudder a little bit.  I use it whenever I can. You’re welcome.

Maybe plant some herbs and keep them on the kitchen counter. Fresh basil is SO much better that freeze-dried basil. It will blow your mind! And mint?!? Don’t get me started on mint…

The point is to start something!

There is something healing about getting your hands muddy. Trust me- my anxiety and depression have taken on super-powers with the pandemic going on. Getting outside and messing around in the dirt helps heal wounds that I didn’t even know I had. It grounds you. Vitamin D (from the sun) has a positive impact on your mental health and happiness as well. Truth.

It has become a form of meditation for me – a little bit of an escape from the “real world” – and I get to reset myself mentally. 

Figure out what YOU would like to do. Maybe just looking outside and seeing some pretty flowers will help cheer you up and decompress. Petunias are great this time of year, and I’m pretty sure that in places OTHER than the desert, they last quite a while. Here, they usually die by the end of May, because of the dang heat. But elsewhere, I’m sure they last a whole lot longer. And they come in just about every color that you could want.

Everyone is delivering!

I’m talking Home Depot and Lowe’s or whatever other big-box store you may have around you. You can absolutely order plants online and have them delivered. Or, if you still have snow, buy seeds and start them inside!

Or, if you want to brave the outside world, grab a mask and go pick out your plants. As far as I know, all of those types of stores are still open.

So do it! Get outside. Take in some sun. Plant some green stuff!

A garden will help your family heal mentally.

And even when the quarantine is over- for this too shall pass- you’ll still have a pretty little garden that will force you to go outside all summer long. It’s a great past-time that will continue to benefit your family.

Ok! That’s it!

I hope that I have inspired you to get off your butt and get outside, and I also hope I have made some new friends. I know Cassie and I will be friends for a long time! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Now, GO OUTSIDE!!!

Lots of love!


A little note from Cassie…

I’m pretty obsessed with Jen at Happy Messy because it’s just SO fun to read and I LOVE DIYs! There’s tons of great life / self improvement stuff there and so many activities and posts that’ll make you smile! I hope you’ll check her out!

And don’t forget to show my friend Jen some love and share this post with your friends too!

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