What I’ve Learned Failing at Gardening

What I’ve Learned Failing at Gardening

Trending once again in are modern society is an important tool that most people should learn in order to survive through an apocalypse, gardening, or in other words growing one’s own food. This is not a new trend by any means but now has made its way back around the bend due to people wanting to be independent from their local grocery stores and adapting sustainable methods to eat their dinner from products straight from their own backyard. I think this is a great way to not only reduce your carbon footprint but comes with the knowledge of knowing where your food is grown. However, I must admit, I suck at gardening. I see all these celebrity Instagram photos and influencers beautiful large produce growing out the wazoo and cannot help but compare them to my shriveled garden that is melting in the Texas heat. It is frustrating and I have faced many failures. Below are a couple things I had to learn and have failed at through my gardening experience:


  1. Material Cost

Starting a garden can be costly, especially if you are trying to do a raised garden bed. When we went through are first year of gardening, we had to purchase at least 36 bags of soil in order to fill the bed. The beds themselves can also cost a couple hundred dollars depending on what size, material, and quantity. The garden bed we ended up purchasing we got for less due to reward points but originally cost almost $200. You can do a ground bed but need to make sure that the soil is aerated and contains enough nutrients for your plants to thrive. Mixing the soil with compost can help obtain a balance. Of-course that does not include the cost of plants which can vary depending on the season and source. Sometimes there are local meet ups where growers will trade seeds or there may be a friendly coworker who has plants to spare from their garden. That is how we ended up with some tomato plants growing in the bed.

  1. Space for Gardening

Something every gardener should know and always keep in mind is what plants they are wanting to grow, because every plant needs different space which can limit what you can grown in your garden bed successfully. Are dream developed into a desire to grow pumpkins which as we learned need a tremendous amount of space that most sold garden beds do not have the dimensions for. My partner ended up building a custom bed in order to have enough space and even than the couple pumpkins filled the bed and were competing.

  1. Know Your Climate

I think we should all take the time to recognize that no matter how hard we nurture a plant, sometimes they still die due to not having the drought tolerance or adaptiveness to the cold to survive in the areas we live. This has been a hard lesson this year as are plants are sulking in the back with no water due to water restrictions from high heat. I am thankful are lucky one potato plant is thriving through this chaos. We wanted to grow strawberry plants which would have not survived due to the required abundance of water that is not available. It is better to grow what is local to that environment rather then force plants that most likely will turn into compost for other plants.

  1. Pests

Last year we had planted some tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and Brussel sprouts that were doing well until caterpillars and little bugs called aphids starting destroying their leaves. They were accompanied by little grubs that would bury in the soil and eat holes into the roots until the plants started dying off. I had a coworker suggest using eggs shells around the soil surrounding the stocks of the plants so the caterpillars could not easily get on the plants. It did help aid the plants in making a comeback but I do recommend planting flowers or other plants that attract their natural predators such as lady bugs. Doing this at the time of planting may save your squash from the agony that our squash sadly went through. Planting flowers will also encourage pollinators to come around more often and pollinate your flowering vegetables like squash and pumpkins.







5. Dedication

The biggest lesson I have learned is that you truly reap what you sow. If you take the time to trim, weed, and water your garden then it may turn successfully fruitful. If not, your garden bed can turn into a rotting pile of weeds and dead plant corpses quickly. If you are the person that wants to have plants that require no attention and you can leave on the window seal for a month, gardening is not for you. Just from being sick almost a week and not attending to the garden gave the Bermuda grass the advances they needed to take the bed hostage. Gardening is not for everyone, and buying from local growers/farmers is just as powerful and impactful as growing with your own hands.


As I stare at the pictures and short videos of Carrie Under Wood and Oprah Winfrey’s gardens, I cannot help but feel a little bit envious wishing the garden in my backyard looked like theirs. However, I have gained knowledge and will continue to learn from my gardening fails in the hopes of one day having an abundance of veggies and fruits in the fridge directly from the vines outside my back door.

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What Happened When We Found A Baby Bird (And What You Can Do)

What Happened When We Found A Baby Bird (And What You Can Do)

This year my partner and I became first time home buyers and have been in the process of establishing the front landscaping to create a little ecosystem not only for the native insects to thrive but for the birds who have come to nest in the two front trees. This past weekend while trying to place compost in the flower bed we had found a baby bird that had fallen from one of the nests.

When doing research for how to handle the baby bird we had found that most web pages will encourage people to leave the baby bird alone due to the parents possibly watching from nearby or to carefully place the bird back in its nest. Sadly, neither were an option for this poor guy because not only were there several obstacles with the rain beginning to escalate to flooding the area, but the bird’s head appeared to be bleeding.

We placed the bird in a dry towel and continued to explore more options and found that state wildlife organizations will have contacts for people who are known as county wildlife rehabilitators. These are professionals who specialize in wildlife rehabilitation. We specifically utilized the Texas Parks and Wildlife website down below to contact are county representative. Though the representative did not specialize in avian wildlife they were able to give use a contact to an avian specialized rehabilitation facility known as Rogers Wildlife (linked down below). This facility helps to rehabilitate orphaned and injured birds and give a home to those who are unable to return to the wild. Currently we do not have any update on whether or not the bird survived once it got to the facility for care but we remain hopeful knowing that we tried to do the best we could for the little guy.

I hope this information helps anyone who ends up in the same situation we did. Below are websites from federal, state, and local organizations that are great resources for more information on learning what to do if you run into a baby bird. We can work together to continue helping wildlife conservation in are local neighborhoods.


For more information on Texas Wildlife Rehabilitators follow this link: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/rehab/list/

For more information on Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Inc. follow this link:


For more information on what to do when you find a baby bird please follow this link to the US Fish & Wildlife Service website: https://www.fws.gov/midwest/news/foundbabybird.html#:~:text=The%20best%20thing%20that%20could,as%20soon%20as%20you%20can


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Reducing Food Waste and Pollution

Reducing Food Waste and Pollution

For the year 2021, I made it a personal goal of mine to focus on reducing the amount of waste I produce through purchasing food. When we buy from the grocery store, we tend to not think about the trail of pollution or waste that was created to be able to purchase a fresh avocado for homemade guacamole or the apples bought on demand to bake the perfect apple pie for Thanksgiving.

Many people in the United States rely on grocery chains that have food delivered from all over the world. This is due for a demand in products that are not always widely available in the United States. This then generates increased packaging to be used whether its’ plastic or paper and the amount in distance that apple is required to travel comes with a cost of air pollution through boats and trucks moving produce 1,000 of miles to get to grocery store shelves.

We also don’t consider the amount of that food that ends up getting thrown away because of not completing a new diet or forgetting about the blueberries shoved to the back of the fridge. Fresh food that is going straight to the dumpster to your local landfill.

With the plastic epidemic looming, some places lacking access to food, and the constant reminders of how climate change will destroy us all being thrown in are faces, I know it can be overwhelming. However, there are many organizations in the U.S. currently helping communities helping to build sustainable regional food systems that will help support the decrease in waste being produced through production/purchase of food. There is also ways we can help as individuals through are everyday choices when buying food.


  1. Only Buy what you will eat

I’m very guilty of this and tend to convince myself that I will eat that apple which ends up rotting on the counter. I’m also very bad at telling myself that I will make a salad for Thursday night dinner but then decide to get take out. Don’t be like me. This message is to myself and to others. If you’ve already bought it then make it a personal goal that you will have to finish the food in your fridge by the end of the week before allowing purchasing of alternatives. Not only will this decrease food waste but also sustain your wallet. As well, even if something is on sale don’t buy it in bulks that will only sit in the back of the pantry. I swear it’s not the apocalypse yet.


  1. Buy from local growers when possible

I know this isn’t an option for everyone but I suggest researching the area you live to see what is available. Many more farmer’s markets are popping up with wider options for produce. This will not only reduce the amount of pollution created to get to market but also will give economic support to your local regional growers.


  1. Help bring attention and support to local food programs

Along with farmer’s markets increasing available produce there has also been a growth in programs supporting economic and social initiatives for access to healthy foods. Help spread the word in your community to let those who are vulnerable know that they have options for access to healthy local foods no matter what income.


  1. Grow from your own backyard

Growing your own food can not only help towards reducing your carbon footprint but you will actually know where your food comes from (knowledge is power). I was also always taught that playing in the dirt can help boost your immune system (allegedly from the mouths of moms all over the world).



Starting small with what many call “low hanging fruit” steps will eventually lead to bigger change. Don’t worry about what climate change will apparently do to us tomorrow and instead focus on how you can reduce your impact today. For more content you can check out my links down below and I hope you have a green filled Earth month!





A Victory with “The Great American Outdoors Act”

As someone who has been to the Grand Canyon, I know the beauty the United States’ national parks have to offer. Not only do they serve as the perfect sunset back drop for a memorable photo, they also conserve some of the Unites State’s most important resources. However, parks take funds to be able to maintain infrastructure, so this year a bill that was introduced to the Senate in March 2020 was signed into law on August 4th 2020 in order to dedicate funding to these beloved parks.


What you need to know about the Great American Outdoors Act:


“As stated on congress.gov, the bill establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.

The fund must be used for priority deferred maintenance projects in specified systems that are administered by

  • the National Park Service,
  • the Forest Service,
  • the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
  • the Bureau of Land Management, and
  • the Bureau of Indian Education.

The Government Accountability Office must report on the effect of the fund in reducing the backlog of priority deferred maintenance projects for the specified agencies.

Additionally, the bill makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. The President shall annually report to Congress specified details regarding the allocation of funds to the LWCF. Congress may provide for alternate allocations using specified procedures.”



This bill is meant to help the national park’s keep up with infrastructure that is currently backlogged in many of them due to not having enough economic backing. This bill also includes funding for other federal land to continue to support the restoration and conservation of United State’s resources of land and water. I believe this bill can truly help in continuing the legacy of protecting and conserving United State’s resources for future generations in America.

If you want to support this bill contact your federal and state officials. For more information on the bill you can visit congress.gov. You can follow me at the other media links down below for more topics and information on how you can live each and everyday by CodeGreen.


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Let’s Talk About the Big Cat Public Safety Act

Let’s Talk About the Big Cat Public Safety Act

Many of you at this point have heard of the documentary series on Netflix called “Tiger King”, and if you’re like me you ended up watching it in horror. Now, I don’t want to use too many words in this post talking about the documentary itself because I was so appalled by the lack of time spent highlighting the amount of animal cruelty that took place in favor of the human characters. However, I have to give credit where credit is due since the series did bring attention to a bill that is currently gaining traction in congress. This bill is called the Big Cat Public Safety Act, and even though I despised watching “Tiger King”, it has brought attention to this bill that could reduce the amount of cruelty towards big cats in the United States.


Here’s what you need to know about the bill:


As stated on congress.gov, the bill “revises requirements governing the trade of big cats (i.e. species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species). Specifically, it revises restrictions on the possession and exhibition of big cats, including to restrict direct contact between the public and big cats”.


This means that there would be less people or private institutions who would be able to privately own and exhibit big cats. As well, this would limit people from the public being able to interact with them close up like shown in the documentary “Tiger King” where people were holding and taking pictures with tiger cubs.


For more information click on the link to congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380


Why would this bill be a good thing?


As stated in the bill’s title, passing these new restrictions would make it safer for not only big cats in terms of who interacts with them but also protects the public. There have been different documentations in history of big cats turning on their owners, whether it was at a circus or private zoo. These big cats are still animals and with every animal we still have to take every precaution whether we believe they’ve been domesticated or not. Sadly, anyone who has watched any of these documentations whether it’s been a video or news article knows that the big cat is the one who usually pays the cost with their life when an interaction goes bad.


2.Animal Welfare

At the end of the day we want to make sure that big cats living captivity are well taken care of and get their needs met by institutions and people who have been trained and have the funds. These animals (as much as some people wish they could have a tiger as a pet) aren’t your typical house cat that’s satisfied with a couch and a small bowl of 29 cent wet food from the local PetSmart. The Dakota Zoo located in North Dakota stated on their website that it costs up to 10,000 dollars a year to feed their two big cats and that doesn’t cover the yearly veterinarian bills. Places like zoos and wildlife sanctuaries also have trained staff that study and constantly make sure that the habitats their animals live in are up to standards because it’s their job. Let’s leave the handling of tiger cubs to professionals who are dedicated to making sure big cats are well taken care.

For more information on the Dakota Zoo follow this link: https://www.dakotazoo.org/at-the-zoo/animal_food/


3.Reducing Cruelty

There are people and institutions who will use and abuse animals in order to make a profit or be entertained, and big cats are no exception. Limiting people and facilities who can privately own animals like Tigers and requiring reduced interaction with the public will hopefully aid in decreasing the bad treatment of big cats.


If you want to show support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act please call or email your congressman to let them know how important you believe it is to pass the bill. For more information on the bill itself or other bills introduced to congress you can follow the link down below.

Big Cat Public Safety Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380


In future blog posts I will be including more discussions on bills on the agenda for the United States Congress as they pertain to different environmental topics ranging from energy to wildlife conservation. For more eco-friendly action check out my other media links down below for more ways on how you can live each and every day by CodeGreen!


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