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OKC Home & Garden Show: What I Learned From Talking to People About Growing Food

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Hello world, it’s Dale. It’s midnight on the Monday after the OKC Home & Garden Show. I spent all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday meeting some incredible people, talking about gardening, and asking for feedback on our new mobile app. I got a lot of wonderful ideas and it’s given me a surge of creative energy equivalent to what I felt when I first started coding our app last year. I woke up really early today and started on some of it and I’m resisting the urge to get my laptop and work on it more because I know myself and I’d end up pulling another accidental all-niter. But…I can’t sleep with all this energy so I decided to write this update instead.

I plan to release an update every month that summarizes what we’re up to and gives a peak into what we’re working on both with the mobile application and also with our YouTube channel. My goal for 2018 is to find a better balance and to do a better job of sticking to a regular schedule. I’m starting with these monthly updates and I’m excited to start recording YouTube videos more regularly once we’re out in the garden every day again.

We’re going to be experimenting with a couple different methods for planting garlic late and will have videos out about that soon. We’re also going to be starting our broccoli and cabbage seeds indoors this week. However, we won’t be starting tomatoes or peppers until February. We learned our lesson last year about starting them too early. We ended up with monster 3’ plants that we had to find a way to manage until we could plant them outside. We’re also going to attempt planting of some kale and spinach seeds a little earlier than typically recommended. I’ve got a trick up my sleeve that I’ll be showing for that. The videos slowed down last year when I started working on the app but I’m excited to pick them back up again. My goal for 2018 is to find a better balance and part of that includes doing more regular videos and updates.

We had a lot of fun at the OKC Home & Garden show. We went there to help spread the word about the app, to get kids interested in gardening, and to help inspire people to start growing food. I had A LOT of conversations about growing food and began to notice a common theme among the topics. I have this huge list of features I want to add to our mobile app but I’ve struggled to decide what to work on first. Last weekend clarified the biggest challenges facing new gardeners and helped me focus my attention on the most important problems. Here’s what I learned from talking to people for 30 hours straight this weekend about growing food and the challenges they face:

1. Knowing when to plant things can be confusing, and telling you to start something “2 weeks before last spring frost” doesn’t make it much better.

I get it, knowing your zone, first froze date, last frost date, and trying to piece together what all that means can be confusing! Solving this problem is my #1 priority and I’m happy to report that I’m actively working on it! Soon you’ll be able to see specific planting dates based on your GPS location. I don’t have any time estimates on this yet. I hope to have more details for you on this soon. I’m also looking into doing things like helping you know when to water based on how much it’s rained near your GPS location as well.

2. It’s difficult to keep track of companion planting combinations

This was a problem we set out to solve with the first version of our application. We took a first shot at it, but we can improve. We are going to continue to expand our companion plants and we’re going to be adding new plants to the app every update. We’re also going to add information about which plant pairings to avoid.

3. How do you know which bugs are good or bad?

This is another problem we set out to solve with version 1. Right now we help you identify over 30 different garden pests and future versions will also include information about beneficial insects in the garden as well.

4. I want a garden like yours. Where do I start?

This is something I get asked more commonly than anything else. Last month Carrie and I started working on a new “How to Start” tab in the application that walks you through all the steps towards replicating what we’ve done with our backyard. We’ve put a lot of time into trying to make things as simple as possible and have broken it out into 7 steps with links to our favorite products that we’ve used in our garden. You should begin to see the new tab in the application as the update rolls out over the coming days.

I’ve got a whole list of items and I could go on all day, but those are the things I’m focused on for now. Thank you to everyone that came out to see us at the OKC Home & Garden Show. Meeting so many people excited about growing food gives me such hope and gives me inspiration to help you with your gardening journey by creating the most useful mobile application for people that want to grow food.

Thank you also to everyone that’s downloaded our app and left reviews in the App Store. Many of you have told us that you would have paid for the app, and we are extremely appreciative of that sentiment. Our ultimate goal is to help people grow food and we didn’t want to put a financial barrier between you and our help. If you’d like to support us in our efforts, leaving a review in the iOS or Google App Store and sharing the application with your friends will go a long way towards helping us out. Also, we’ve added Amazon links to all of our favorite gardening products that we use throughout the app. There’s also an Amazon link at the top right of every page in the app. A small percentage of any purchase made by clicking that link will go towards helping us help others grow food.

It’s 1:30 now and I think I might actually be able to get to sleep. Plus, the album I’ve been listening to while writing this is coming to a close so I think that’s my cue to end this. Oh, oh, one more thing! We’re launching a podcast!!! I’ve wanted to do one for awhile but it never felt like the right time. I’ll have a lot more details soon, but look for our first episode within the next few weeks. Our monthly podcast is going to focus on talking about what you can grow that month along with what you need to do to get ready for the coming months. I love listening to podcasts when I’m out in the garden and I’m excited to take a shot at creating one. I have a wonderful partner joining me for this project and you’ll be hearing more about that soon!

Happy January seed starting!

Dale Spoonemore
From Seed to Spoon

Photos from the show!

One thought on “OKC Home & Garden Show: What I Learned From Talking to People About Growing Food

  1. I get #4 a lot, but not in regard to my home garden, but in regard to the nursery. I have to tell people that it is not ‘landscaped’. We only grow what we do as ‘stock’ plants. They are just there to provide cuttings for our nursery stock. You do NOT want a garden like this one!

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