After Hours 11.02.22
Discussion 16: Gardening 101 with Bailey Van Tassel
We're so excited to introduce our sweet Southern California local friend and gardener extraordinaire, Bailey Van Tassel. Bailey is a mother of two (soon to be three!) sharing everything about her garden-inspired life in the suburbs, and she wants to help you grow a garden anywhere, every day. If you don't know her yet, you'll definitely want to give her a follow and check out her podcast, Garden Culture, for gardening tips and tricks for newbies and pros alike. Read on to learn about how Bailey came to cultivate a gorgeous at-home garden (while involving her kids) and how you can, too! Oh, and snag a ticket to our Holiday Herb Garden Class at our shop in Encinitas *this* Saturday, led by Bailey!
Bailey wears the Jungmaven Hemp Button Front Jumper (for pregnancy and beyond!)
How did you get introduced to gardening? What sparked your passion?
I really wanted to feel grounded and introduce nature into our daily lives once I had kids. I was raised on a hobby farm in Northern CA, so had great examples of gardeners in my life, but the passion didn't spark until my husband challenged me to try gardening after talking about it as a "someday" dream. I started out with one single pot that had six plants in it and the love for nurturing plants was instant.
Are you self taught or did you take classes? Do you have any book recommendations for those wanting to begin or level up their home garden?
I am self-taught and just let myself fail a lot in the beginning. I am a total book hound so have a vast collection now. My advice is to get the Sunset Gardening Book that's for our zones here in Southern CA and start there. I also read a Postage Stamp Gardening book that was awesome for my first two raised beds. Anything written before the internet was a huge influence is the best - it's actually experience-driven info when you get some good books from the 70's.
What is the most special thing to you about gardening/your home garden?
The call to care for something beyond us. I can be a bit precious about how much I think the garden shapes us and our children. Having that outlet and responsibility helps me take mental breaks throughout the day, but also gives us a gorgeous landscape for being outside with the kiddos. When it comes to a specific "thing", I had a custom fairy door built into one of our raised beds that is functional. There's a little box behind the door that I hide treasures in for our kids. It's so fun to give them some magic in the ordinary day.
Do you have a favorite season for planting? Are any easier/trickier than others?
Autumn by far is my fave and it's way easier! Cooler temps mean less disease and pests and the constant leafy greens are so satisfying to grow. I also live for all the edible flowers we can grow in Fall and the root veggies - it's just the best!
Any advice for those who want to begin gardening but don't have experience?
You do have enough space (no matter what), and you do not need to know everything. Just get started! Also, soil health is the most important, so dig into that.
What are your best tips for getting kids interested in gardening and where their food comes from?
Let them own a part of the garden and be beside you. It will be harder and take longer, but it's SO rewarding to see them eat straight from the garden. Break all tasks into small ones that they can help with, and let them play. Even at 18 months littles can drop seeds in and pat soil down, just know that it will be messy.
Do you feel like gardening offers you a deeper connection to the earth and sustainability?
One million times yes. It's like the gateway into having more empathy for the earth as a planet, but then also for ways to get creative and make small changes. Gardening made sustainability more urgent for me and really took away my excuses.
You top five favorite songs at the moment?
Get ready for some eclectic action!
- Ooh La La by Faces when I'm feeling vibey and nostalgic
- Sweet Creature by Harry Styles for when I need energy
- A Phiuthrag 's a Phiutar by Julie Fowlis when I need deep focus
- Vienna by Billy Joel for anytime
- Feels Like Home by Drew Holcomb for mellowing out
In case you didn't know, Bailey has a monthly gardening club! The Kitchen Garden Society is for all US Hardiness zones and keeps you on track monthly with to-dos and tasks, lessons, expert info, and daily inspo! You can check out more at www.thekitchengardensociety.