As a child, my siblings and I spent many hours working together in our family’s large garden. We picked endless rows of beans, husked corn, harvested tomatoes and LOTS of zucchini and enjoyed many tasty meals made with ingredients from our own garden. We also all helped my mom can and freeze the many vegetables that we grew. It was so much fun to see our extra freezer stuffed with bags of frozen beans and corn, and the rows of mason jars on our basement shelves filled with colorful, garden fresh produce. It was especially rewarding in the winter to pull a package of our own green beans out of the freezer to eat for dinner, knowing that we worked hard to harvest and preserve them the summer before. Growing up in Colorado – where we couldn’t grow anything outdoors in the wintertime – this was a huge treat!
Being raised with these experiences helped me appreciate eating fresh, healthy food. After I got married, I never liked the thought of eating highly processed grocery store food, but had never grown my own garden outside of my childhood years. Several years ago, I became increasingly aware of how bad processed food is for our bodies, and was tired of produce from the store that had no flavor. I was equally worried about feeding my husband, Jerry, and our two children food potentially sprayed with pesticides and chemicals.
At this point in my life, I decided that I wanted to feed my family healthy, fresh food and have the pride and satisfaction of knowing that I grew it myself. I wanted the unmistakable intense flavor of homegrown vegetables that I remembered from growing up, but now on my own table for my own family. I love the outdoors and bright colors, and I wanted to create a colorful, beautiful space where I could get in touch with my own thoughts, the outdoors and the soil, and build happy family memories.
However, I found myself overwhelmed with all the information out there on how to grow a garden. It had been years since I was a child helping in my family garden and I didn’t know where to start. I wondered how I was going to make my new desires a reality in my already busy life, and felt limited by the small condo we where we lived.
When our family moved into our house in Southern California in 2011, I was excited to finally have a backyard, and I was determined to grow some of our own food! I labored many long hours digging out a weed-filled, hard packed corner of our backyard so I could plant my garden. Still not having a true direction on where or how to begin, I purchased vegetable plants from the local garden center, added bagged garden soil and chemical fertilizer to my tiny plot.
I remember the feeling of pride and accomplishment when I picked the ingredients for my very first salad that I grew myself! I was hooked and immediately emailed a picture to my mom and dad. I decided that I wanted to grow as much of my own food as I could and I was not looking back! However, that first year, I spent several hundred dollars purchasing the plants and other supplies for my garden (money that we didn’t really have) and I wasn’t growing organically. I needed to figure out how to grow organically and inexpensively.
The following year, a friend told me about a concept new to me – starting seeds for my garden indoors before it was warm enough to plant outdoors rather than purchasing the plants from a garden center. He also told me about a simple and inexpensive way to start seeds indoors that would fit into my busy schedule. This method would make it easier for me as a busy working mother and wife to get my garden started. I started looking at seed company websites and was blown away at the incredible varieties, and beautiful colors of fruits, vegetables, and flowers available to order. I got so excited about the thought of growing my garden from seed, thus saving hundreds of dollars and couldn’t wait to order seeds that were rare, heirloom varieties that would not be available at a garden center.
I placed my first seed order and waited in anticipation for my package to arrive, dreaming everyday about the tasty, colorful vegetables and flowers I would be able to grow in my backyard. I became more and more excited at the prospect of creating a beautiful, peaceful space to grow healthy food for my family.
In the meantime, Jerry auditioned our family to be on a backyard remodel TV show, and we were selected! We were given a design and materials, and we provided the labor (40 of our friends came to help us for the filming weekend!). Our weed filled, hilly backyard was transformed into a beautiful, terraced oasis with tons of useable growing space for my garden. My dream was coming true!
I now had somewhere to plant all the seedlings that I would be growing as soon as my seed package arrived. Now that I was saving so much money by growing from seed, I couldn’t wait to get all the beautiful heirloom
varieties planted outside, but I knew I didn’t want rely just on bagged soil to feed my plants, or use chemical fertilizer. I started researching ways to grow food without chemicals, and discovered many quick, inexpensive ways to do this. One of the things I discovered was composting! I decided that I would compost what I could in my own backyard to save even more money and that everything I did in the garden needed to be simple to fit into my busy schedule.
My new seeds grew into plants, and that spring I was able to get many of them in the ground. I enjoyed countless hours of “garden therapy” tending to my colorful vegetables. With the help of my family and friends, I was able to create the beautiful, peaceful outdoor space that I had wanted for so long. When the exciting time came to harvest it was so rewarding picking my own organic lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash (still LOTS of zucchini!) from plants that I grew myself from seed. I had such peace of mind knowing that I was growing tasty, healthy vegetables that I could be proud to feed my family and share with those I love!
Jerry has always been into cameras and video production and he and his camera buddys challenged each other to see who could post a viral video. We decided to film and post a video on YouTube of me showing how to use compost in my new garden. Although the video did not go viral, to our surprise, people started watching, subscribing and requesting more videos. We filmed more videos of me starting my new seeds indoors, and before we knew it – CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY was in full swing on YouTube!
Four years later, we’ve posted over 370 YouTube videos teaching people how to grow their own food and be healthier as a result. Because most of our viewers are busy like us, and have never grown their own food before (just as I hadn’t), our videos are geared for someone who is just beginning to grow their own food, using quick, simple and inexpensive methods. We now have over 7 million views and nearly 50,000 subscribers who are growing their own food along with us, and loving being happier and healthier as a result.
Can you relate to my story? Do you want that feeling of pride growing your own fresh, tasty food for those you love but aren’t sure where to start? Is health a concern for you or someone you love? I can help you get started with my free growing guide, “Grow 3 Vegetables in 6 Weeks“. You’ll learn how to plant vegetables that grow from seed to table in just 6 weeks time – in a quick, simple, and inexpensive way. Click above to get started growing your garden today!