Sow Generous. A Challenge to Grow & Give this summer!

A month by month planning calendar for starting your own (big or small) vegetable garden.  Have you always wanted a garden but never get around to it?  This series is for you.


Are you ready to start a vegetable garden?  Good!  This year you’re actually going to do it.  Even if it kills me. Over the next 9 months (the gestation period for both a child and a garden apparently) I’m going to walk you through everything you need to do to create a vegetable garden (big or small) .

Every month I’m going to walk you through what you need to be doing that month in order to plant, nurture, grow and harvest your own vegetables.


And then you’re going to give some of that food away!

Yup. Give it away.  That’s the concept behind the Grow & Give Garden.

You don’t have to do ANYTHING other than pay attention and follow along.

I know the biggest issue many of you have with doing anything is just getting started.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s painting a room, creating some project you saw on Pinterest or making dinner … it’s the getting started that’s the hard part. What materials do you need? What do you do first?  How long is it going to take?  You think these overwhelming thoughts and then give up before you even start.

I know for a fact this is the only reason I’ve never written a Hallmark Christmas movie. 

So I’m taking every bit of the guesswork out of Starting a Vegetable Garden in this 9 part series. Each month from February to October I’ll be taking you by the hand (or let’s face it, the computer screen) to let you know what you need to do that month to grow a garden bursting with vegetables.


You don’t need to register or pay but you do need to do 2 things.

  1.  Take the Pledge.
  2. Agree to give some of your food away.

Yup.  Give it away. You don’t need to figure out who you’re giving it to right now you just need to agree to do it.

Who can you give your extra food to?

Food banks, shelters, soup kitchens, even friends, family or neighbours.


I’ll be donating a portion of my garden to either my local food bank or a women’s shelter that’s in my town.

I haven’t quite decided yet.

So even if you ALREADY have a vegetable garden, this challenge is still a good one for you because it’s about sharing your food.  You don’t have to share with a food bank, it can be your neighbours, family or anyone else you think needs good food. But I do like the idea of giving to a food bank or shelter.

Here’s a quick rundown of what this challenge will cover.

FEBRUARY –  Seeds, seeds, seeds!  What to grow, where to get ’em and a list of my favourites.

MARCH – Sow you wanna be starting something? We’ll be starting some of our seeds indoors.  Yay!

APRIL – Garden planning.  Figuring out what kind of space you have and what you can grow where.

MAY – You. Get. To. Plant VEGETABLES!  What to plant outside now, how to make sure they thrive and what not to do.

JUNE – Shit just got real.  Plants are being eaten alive, falling over and being taken over by weeds. How to deal with ALL of it.

JULY – By now you’re going to have questions.  I’ll be answering some of the most common vegetable gardening questions you have.

AUGUST – So. Um.  When do I pick it?  How do you know if your watermelon is ripe?  Or if your potatoes can be pulled?  I’ll let you know how to tell when everything is ready.

SEPTEMBER – Now what the hell do I do with all of it??? Ways to store and preserve your infant.  I mean vegetables.

OCTOBER –  Important garden cleanup rules and my favourite fall harvest recipes.

Ready to take the pledge? Good I just knew you were that kind of person.

Take the pledge now!

Taking the pledge gets you a welcome email, gardening tip sheets and words of encouragement from me.  

If you have a website here’s a handy badge for your sidebar to show you’re a part of the Sow Generous summer.

Copy and paste this code below to get the badge for your site!

In the next Sow Generous post, I’ll let you know about my absolute favourite seed varieties including carrots, onions, tomatoes, some weird and fun vegetables plus the BEST beets I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Sow Generous. A Challenge to Grow & Give this summer!


  1. Cyndy says:

    From southeastern Pennsylvania, near the Delaware border, count me in, too!

  2. Mim says:

    P.S. for anyone who cares about such things: food shelves, shelters, any sort of charitable organization, will happily give you a statement reflecting your gift as a charitable donation for tax purposes.

  3. Mim says:

    I pledge, I pledge! I’ve already got leeks started in the basement and am about to start onions and (because of your recent post) cumin. We’ve got a few local food shelves that I already bring eggs to. Often, they are overrun with vegetables come August, but other places to donate produce are food kitchens — often attached to/affiliated with homeless shelters — and Meals on Wheels or other agencies that deliver meals to the elderly.

    Go forth and Sow!

  4. Jackie Johnson says:

    I’m in. I need the help. I love helping people i will gladly share my bounty.

  5. Suzanne Reith says:

    Always been a gardener, but traitorous muscle and joints have reduced me to a few large containers. I’m in.

  6. Catherine Vosper says:

    I have 3 small raised bed gardens, but 1/2 of one is dedicated to horse radish, but would love to make the pledge on a small scale.

    • Karen says:

      That’s not a terribly small garden, you can pack a LOT into 3 raised beds. As I’m sure you know! You can make the pledge even if you just have 1 cherry tomato plant. :) ~ karen!

  7. Kari in Dallas says:

    Woo hoo! I’m in! Just pulled out a ahitload of Photinia to make room for fruit trees! Let’s get this bitch done!

  8. Rachel says:

    I’m in!

  9. Elissa Rioux says:

    I’m in Florida and this was my first year in a community garden, thanks to your encouragement Karen. I’ll be heading to Maine in June and hopefully planting there too! These posts will be greatly appreciated!
    Love you K 😘

  10. Lisa Loftus says:

    I’m in!

  11. Jack Barr says:

    I’ve found the quickest way to pass on my extra veggies or plants is to fill the wheelbarrow, set it at the curb with a big sign: “Free to a friendly garden/kitchen”- most plants disappear within the day. But, nobody ever wants my Black Kale!……… even my wife.

  12. Kole Morgan says:

    Yep, count me in. Have got outdoor/indoor and school garden this year so all encouragement useful

  13. whitequeen96 says:

    Why did I think this was about raising and giving away piglets? Never mind; your idea is much more workable and is wonderful!

  14. Sabina says:

    I’m sow excited! 🤣 I’m in full research and planning mode, and awaiting deliveries of new seeds!

  15. carol says:

    Sigh… when I moved here in 2015 I planted tomatoes in big pots. Not one tomato was produced. Tried again the next year and again not one tomato was ever produced. Gave up on veggies at that point.

    Also tried carrots but the gophers ate them all along with a very expensive Camilla bush planted in the ground. But I do manage to grow big gourds for bird houses and other crafts.

    So if gourds count that’s what I will be planting again this year.

    • Karen says:

      I’m not sure where you live but if you follow along I can guarantee you’ll get tomatoes. :) They love growing in posts. You just have to make sure the pot is big enough to hold a lot of soil so the tomato has access to a lot of nutrients. It also needs to be full, full sun and finally … you have to water it. They seem like 3 easy things to accomplish but a lot of people miss one of these things and end up with no tomatoes. :) ~ karen!

  16. Nicole says:

    Every year I plan to garden. Many years I’ve even bought seeds. But it never seems to happen. The Christmas Pledge changed my relationship with the holidays; maybe this will do the same for my yard?

  17. Mandy M says:

    I pinky promise!

  18. Lois Baron says:

    Holy crap. I thought the Christmas pledge was ambitious! Fab idea. At the very least, I’ll look at seeds — because I love those catalogues — and will give some store-bought items to the food bank :-)

  19. Lisa says:

    Count me in Karen. I live in Adelaide Australia and have a large fruit and vege garden and im always looking for new ideas to manage the gluts of produce. Right now i have an over supply of zucchini , eggplants and cherry tomatoes. I love the idea of giving away some produce. I swap vege and seeds with my neighbour and never go anywhere in summer without an offering of freshly picked veg….or a wheelbarrow full of zuchini. 😉

    • Karen says:

      Yup It’s always the zucchini, lol. ~ karen!

      • Eileen says:

        ha. My farmer’s market vendor offered to hire me because I am a zucchini-killer. The year I had 21 zuke plants (and all my neighbors suddenly felt the urge to sell up and move) I managed a mega-crop of 4. As in 4 little individual zucchinis. I can grow butternut, I can grow Korean summer squash, but no zukes….

  20. Lisa says:

    I first thought that your post was about Sows as in Pigs (since it is the Year of the Pig) but I love idea of a Sow Garden. :-)
    Happy to share what my possums/scrub turkeys and crows leave behind. Last weekend I harvested my first ever capsicum – only 3 but still feeling very chuffed.

  21. Loreen says:

    I’m in.

  22. Paula says:

    Ah, thank you. Alas, no website.

  23. Eva Tovstiga says:

    I’ve been inspired to start gardening this year after reading your blog! I have a 10 x 20 community plot that I just planted. We have 2 growing seasons in Arizona and are planting now. Thank you for making me laugh and trying new things!

  24. Eva Tovstiga says:

    Thanks for inspiring me to start my own garden this year! I started with my small backyard plot then I got a bigger plot in a local community garden and I’m loving it. Living in Arizona has it’s unique gardening challenges and different growing seasons. Love reading your posts and your sense of humor!

  25. Paula says:

    I don’t know what get the badge for my site means.
    I always grow a large garden but it will be fun to be a member of a group doing the same thing. √

    • Karen says:

      It just means if you have a website, you can stick that button on the sidebar of it. That way it just shows you’re a member of the Sow Generous group and if someone clicks on it, they can learn about it too. Welcome Paula! ~ karen!

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