Today we're headed to my home state of Vermont to visit Sarah Kaeck at her garden in New Haven. Sarah is a mom and apron maker who loves gardening and preserves most of her harvest. Come along!
Perfect spot for an afternoon snack in the herb garden right next to the house.
Tell us a little about your family and your garden.
I live in New Haven, Vermont (a very small town in central Vermont), with my husband and two children, Una, who is 7, and Finley, who is 4. We have two pet ducks, some chickens, and a cat. We moved to our house three years ago and were lucky in that for the most part the gardens were already here.
Pumpkins and tomatoes growing alongside the greenhouse that houses more tomatoes and the sandbox.
We have a large vegetable garden with nine raised beds and a few plots where we plant right in the ground. There is a hoop house where we plant greens for colder weather harvests and tomatoes and peppers to extend their season. It also houses a sand box, which makes for some pretty nice sunny February days for all of us. We have raspberries, blueberries, elderberries, a cherry and pear tree, and six apple trees. My flower and herb garden is up by the house and runs along the fence in the front of our property.
ComposTumbler close to the back door and herb garden for easy access.
What's your gardening background? Did you grow up with a garden?
My mother always had a small garden where she grew a few vegetables: lettuce, radishes, green onions, and flowers. She mostly sticks with the old-fashioned flowers -- peonies, delphiniums, poppies, bleeding hearts. My maternal grandmother had a lovely flower garden, and my paternal grandmother always had (and still does) a vegetable garden and a smaller flower garden. My father owns and runs the company ComposTumbler and has since I was quite young. So, composting has always been a part of my life.
My husband and I share a love of good food, which led us to a shared interest in growing interesting varieties of vegetables and herbs and always having something fresh on the table as well as preserving our own food. When we met I was working in a show flower and vegetable garden in Alaska. Over the years we have put in a number of gardens at our different homes and worked with plants for a living as well as in trade for vegetables when our gardens did not produce enough for us.
Swing near flower beds in front of our property.
Share with us a favorite gardening tip geared toward beginner gardeners.
Don’t take on too much. I know this from experience. Our property had many flower beds when we first moved here and as much as I love gardening and was thrilled with all of the space to collect plants, I'm eliminating many of the beds. It becomes a frustration when the weeds take over.
Every garden needs a spot to put your feet up and have a glass of wine at the end of the day. This is ours.
Your gardens should be there for pleasure. My herb garden and flower beds closest to the house, sand box, and swings are the beds most cared for and from which I derive the greatest pleasure. I can give a push on the swing or have a chat with my children as they play and pull a few weeds. I keep my CompostTumbler close to the house and herb garden for easy access. I can turn or dump in compost material as I walk in and out.
One more thing, let it go. If something doesn’t grow well one year, don’t fret and focus on what is growing well. Let your children pick a flower, plant some seeds, and pick peas. My children are very at home in the garden and will eat vegetables in the garden they would never dream of eating on their plate.
Long awaited luscious pears!
What are you most excited to grow this year?
Since we're having a baby this summer, I cut way back on trying new varieties and planting interesting things. I did make a small trellis out of sticks in one of our raised beds, that is beginning to be overrun with yellow raspberries, for sweet peas. They are growing beautifully right now. I'm very excited to bring a bouquet of fragrant sweet peas into the house and a bowl of yummy yellow raspberries. We also have pears for the first time on our pear tree.
Looking for something yummy to eat in the veggie garden.
What garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?
It's a struggle finding time to write my own blog, follow other blogs, and get enough time in the garden. Summer seems to be when it all happens. I enjoy checking in on Garden Rant, In My Kitchen Garden, and You Grow Girl.
Raised beds with basil, eggplant, green onions, and lettuce in front of the old milk house, now garden shed and chicken coop.
Why do you garden?
I garden for a couple reasons. Yummy fresh food is the first reason. An endless supply of fresh flowers to bring into the house and just take in their beauty. Secondly, it feels good to garden mentally and physically. And lastly, it's good for my family and the earth. We have always gardened organically and tried to buy our produce as close to home as possible. Growing our own food and eating what's in season just makes sense for our lifestyle, interests, and beliefs.
Sarah Kaeck is a stay-at-home mother of two children with another on the way. She loves to garden and cook, putting up much of the food she grows. She writes the blog Garden Prattles and also makes vintage style aprons, which she sells on Etsy and at her local farmers' market. Sarah has lived in Vermont for three years and loves it there. She grew up in Pennsylvania.
All images via Sarah Kaeck