Trying Out My Green Thumb

Today’s blog post is less about babies and more about nurturing something else…my garden!  I have had a small container garden for a few years, but this is our first summer having a real garden.  Tom and a friend put in a raised bed this past fall, and we are excited to see how it does this growing season.  I grew up with a garden and still love to check out my mom’s plants (and get my fill of the produce) when I visit in the summer.  I have many memories of helping plant as a child, especially to get those photos for the 4-H record book! I also have plenty of memories of my grandma starting her garden indoors in the late winter.  She had the perfect sunny, warm, south-facing porch that seeds loved.  It wasn’t too long ago that I realized that I, too, had a pretty perfect place to start my garden – our attic! 

Tom and I moved into our house almost exactly one year ago.  We didn’t have time to put a garden in the back yard for the last growing season, so I had been chomping at the bit to get started this year.  We have a large toy room in our attic space, and with only a baby at home it is unused for now.  It is warm, gets great sun, and is completely out of the way. Perfect for starting seedlings early!  

I did a little research and decided to start my seedlings toward the end of February. I know not all seeds do great indoors, but tomatoes and peppers have a good reputation. I bought some trays, starting mix, peat pots, and the seeds of course!  I followed the instructions on the seed packets as well as the starting mix, planted, put on a desk lamp for heat, and crossed my fingers.  Soon we would know if I had much of a green thumb! 

Lana seedlings

As you can see, the seedlings are doing OK, although some better than others.  I had to do some transplanting early on to get each seedling into its own pot, and soon I will be able to plant outside!  

I’m very excited to see how everything goes this year, but I’m looking more forward to three or four years down the road when I have a little “helper” in the garden.  Everyone has hopes and dreams for their kids, and one of mine is that Jessa and I share at least a few of the same interests.  With a little luck (and plenty of sun, rain, and successful growing seasons), my daughter and I can enjoy a gardening hobby together for many years to come! 

Do you have a fond memory or two of helping out in the garden in the summer? Or maybe you are lucky enough to have family fun in the garden each year. Share your memories, experiences, or hopes of starting and nurturing a garden!

Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. We had a huge garden every summer of my childhood, but I will have to admit I did not appreciate it much back then! It was far more of a chore than the delight I find in having my own garden now. I really value being able to raise vegetables in a way I know is safe for my family, and having fresh flowers to decorate the house!

    Good luck with your garden!

  2. As a kid, I had to pick green beans and lettuce from our garden, and then wash them and snap the ends off the beans. I didn’t love it at the time, but now I look forward to it every year! I don’t know what I would do without fresh garden tomatoes, either. Nothing else compares. Good luck with your growing!


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