How to Make an Easy Garden for Your Military Home
There’s no question that it’s hard for a military wife to feel settled and at home when they have the next move looming a few years away. While many military spouses get decor for their homes, many dismiss the yard because there isn’t a point in spending time in the yard when you’ll be leaving it soon and can’t take it with you right?
MAKING MILITARY HOUSING A HOME
Wrong! While it might not “make sense” monetarily, setting down roots and making each home your own is essential to military families truly thriving wherever they go and it’s 100% possible to garden! (Listen to Megan from The Homes I’ve Made explain why it’s so important on The Waiting Warriors Podcast (links to the podcast on other platforms can be found at the bottom of the homepage)
DECORATING MILTIARY HOUSING IS ESSENTIAL
Growing up my family had, for Southern California standards, a huge garden. We had fruit trees lining the front of our property, rows and rows of veggies constantly growing, berries on the side of the house and spent every Saturday morning helping care of it all. While my 12 year old self would have promised you that I would never weed again after leaving home, my much wiser self now gets fueled by spending time gardening and having my very own beautiful yard.
Here’s the trick though, so far we’ve lived in 6 homes in 8 years, which brings a number of hurdles to jump when it comes to gardening as a military wife.
1. You’re going to leave it.
2. What you aren’t going to leave, you’ll need to move and gardening accessories can be bulky and heavy (not exactly friendly to the weight limitations)
3. If you are living in base housing or renting you don’t get change too much of the property.
It’s SUPER important to remember that these are simply hurdles to jump over, not barricading walls.
Now, there are ways you can make your vision happen and not wait until you get out of the military! (Listen to Serena’s Episode to learn more about the power and importance of that mentality (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-waiting-warriors-podcast/id1378613321?i=1000472804355) (links to the podcast on other platforms can be found at the bottom of the homepage)
HOW TO START YOUR MILITARY WIFE FRIENDLY GARDEN
While my ideal yard is covered with beautiful gardening beds, fruit trees, vibrant flowers and luscious lawns, the military housing we’ve lived in has been far from that picture. One option is to invest a larger chunk to lay new grass every time we PCS, plant a hundred perennial flowers and bushes that would be gorgeous for years, and build sturdy garden boxes for your veggies and fruit that you can pass onto a neighbor when you move.
You can start your military wife friendly garden with fabric containers (Linked Here). You heard me right, FABRIC containers! There’s even hanging ones (link) if you really want to maximize on space! I first heard about them from the Independent Wellness Summitt. After that, I have been in love and used them all over our yard. While these bad boys might not be as gorgeous or modern-looking as some of the fancy containers available out there, they come in a variety of sizes and are super moving friendly.
MILITARY HOME FRIENDLY GARDENING
No matter what kind of yard you inherit with your new house, container gardening can work!
Pros of fabric containers:
-Can be moved around and placed wherever you want in the yard
-Comes in all different shapes and sizes
-Allows excess water to drain, prevents heat build-up, indoor and outdoor use (and many more helpful features)
-WASHABLE and FOLDABLE for future use (AKA perfect for every military family that moves!)
-When you don’t have a lot of storage in your military base housing garage, you can have a hundred of these and they will barely take their own small box!
Or when it’s time to move you can give the winter surviving plants to a neighbor, wash your containers and they’ll take very little space and weight!
Cons of fabric container:
-Aren’t super fancy and modern looking
-Sorry, that’s all I have, they are the perfect solution 😉
10 EASY PLANTS TO START WITH FOR YOUR MILITARY HOME
Herbs don’t need too much sun and there are many that are known to keep some pests away! Tasty and helpful: that’s a double win for you! Get herb tips here : (https://www.naturallivingideas.com/insect-repelling-plants/) (https://www.imperfectlyhappy.com/herbs-to-grow-in-a-pot/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes)
-Greens (Lettuce and Spinach)
I don’t know about you but when I think of dreamy fresh produce strawberries are always the first thing I think of! Strawberry plants take a few years to really mature so make sure you either buy a mature plant or start it the first growing season in a new house. Get strawberry tips and creative ideas here : (https://beesandroses.com/2016/03/18/5-gardening-tips-that-will-give-you-tons-of-strawberries/) (https://learningasigotips.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/diy-hanging-strawberry-planter/) (https://sensiblegardening.com/growing-strawberries/)
Peppers are yummy and so versatile in recipes so these are a must! While they are newbie friendly and easy to find a starter plant at stores, they are aphid prone. Funny enough, lady bugs are a simple solution to that problem 🙂 Get peppers growing tips here
While you will need some type or trellis for them to grow up, snap peas are quick to grow and a kid favorite as a summer snack. You don’t need to plant a ton to get a lot of food either! Get Snap Peas growing tip here
-Cauliflower and Broccoli
While you can only do one plant per container, you can easily grow your own cauliflower and broccoli! Pro tip: after harvesting your main head from your broccoli you’ll have another smaller side shoot that will appear and you can enjoy! Get cauliflower growing tips here
Zucchini and other summer squash are a must, if for no other reason other than that you can grill and eat them all summer long 🙂 They do get big though so make sure you place them where they won’t be blocking a pathway or other plants! Get tips on growing them here
Now, you know it’s possible to garden, and what you want to grow, last but very important topic: SOIL. Containers won’t grow anything without soil, but 1. Not all dirt is created equal and 2. The prepackage soil sold in stores will add up quickly! You will save SO MUCH MONEY if you make your own and home improvement stores always have the ingredients! Just make sure you buy a wheelbarrow or something to mix it all together in. I have personally used and loved this “recipe” (bonus, she has good “recipes” for different types of plants, including cactus and indoor plants!)
HOW TO VAMP UP YOUR MILITARY HOUSING SOIL
Similarly to DIY soil, if you want to plant in ground, but your soil is hard, clay, or compact, I feel you! Every military housing home we’ve lived in has had terrible soil, but not all is lost! If you want to plant flowers or maybe next year have more in ground space for plants follow these tips to improve the soil! There are simple and free things you can do just using what you already have and probably just throw away! (https://piwakawakavalley.co.nz/garden-soil-preparation/) (https://thefreerangelife.com/improve-garden-soil/)
In short, as a military family you will be moving often but that doesn’t mean you can’t make each new duty station and house YOUR HOME. You can help your family feel safe and stable by settling in and investing in your home space. While you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) spend $1,000 on your yard and garden, money and time spent will be worth the experience, feelings and view!
Now let’s get those container, plan out your plants, and see those gardens! Make your house a home, make it your own and share with us what you do. Big or small we’d love to see it and cheer you on!
Lastly, if you want more tips on how to truly thrive in military life make sure you join my email list you you don’t miss out on anything that can help you and your family!