6 Things We Learned by Starting a Garden

Glee gardening

When our company moved into a new office last year, it was hard for us to imagine a garden on the vacant lot behind it. The property was sprawling, overgrown, and loaded with debris. It had been so long abandoned, only unwelcome critters called it home. But we summoned our green thumbs, rolled up our shirt sleeves, and, eventually, managed to turn that forgotten space into a thriving, sustainable, organic vegetable garden. Here are a few lessons we learned along the way.

1. Have a “workday.”

Friends and family are often happy- OK, OK, willing- to help start a garden. “Workdays” are ideal for making new beds, moving or planting trees, carving paths, and any number of your other, larger-scale projects. Keep your list of tasks manageable, the time window relatively tight, and the music playing. While it’s about getting stuff done, it’s also an opportunity to have fun and build community! Be sure to offer snacks and drinks afterwards, so everyone’s still your friend in the end. Bonus points if you promise to share whatever produce you grow.

2. Get your soil tested.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important. Since our land once housed an old gas station, we opted for raised beds and trucked in organic soil. We weren’t sure what kind of soil we had, nutrient-wise, and were a little lax on getting it tested. We actually waited to do it ‘til after we had planted our first plants! As it turned out, our guesses about the soil we had were way off– instead of being under-fertilized, ours was over-fertilized. Bottom line: get the right answers from a local lab so you can treat your soil correctly. The blog A Way to Garden is also a great resource to review before you begin.

3. Zucchini plants will take over your life.

Zucchinis have a cool name, are full of fiber and vitamins, and are super easy to grow. The perfect crop? Perhaps- but, they may take over! Plant about half as many plants as you think you need. (Same goes for summer squash.) If you don’t spot the younger fruit hiding underneath the huge leaves, before you know it your zucchinis will be the size of your leg. Our kitchen counters were covered with ’em, our friends grew tired of eating them, and we ended up giving many of ours away to a local soup kitchen.

4. You don’t need to spend a lot on perennials to get plants that come back.

Our first year, we planted a ton of annual flowers just to have something pretty to look at in the space. This year, we were delighted to find them ALL over our garden! Zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers dropped their seeds and then returned the next year in beautiful, unexpected places. We’ve found cleome to be a particularly lovely, long-lasting flower that looks great in the middle of beds and beside the front door of our office.

5. Native plants are the way to go.

In the summer, life can get in the way of, shall we say, consistent plant-watering. Listen, the beach calls! Luckily we learned that using plants native to our home, Rhode Island, meant that they would be better adapted and more resilient than any to be found at big box nurseries. We also discovered varieties we hadn’t known to be native to Rhode Island (a New England prickly pear cactus? Color us surprised!). For local plant sales near you, check out PlantNative.org.

6. Your blood, sweat, and tears taste delicious.

Yes, it will be the hardest you’ve ever worked for a tomato. Yes, you will be consistently overwhelmed– by weeds, or sun, or bounty. And yes, you will love it!

Have YOU ever started a garden? How did it go? (And grow?) Is there anything you wished you’d known before? We’d love to hear. Tell us your story in the comments below.

Running in the Garden

Planting in the Garden

Digging in the Garden

Gleeful Garden Gloves

August Events Abound

Where’s the GLEE this summer? So many places! Here’s hoping a few happen to be near you.

Watermelon Glee Bubble

Whole Foods Market Presents the Kiss 108 Summer Movie Series at Ellsworth McAfee Park, Northborough, MA ~ 8/4/16

20th Annual Hollywood Pitch Festival, Los Angeles, CA ~ 8/5 – 8/7/16

Annual Back To School Bash with Whole Foods at the Seminole Town Center Mall, Altamonte Springs, FL ~ 8/6/16

Annual Celebrate the Day Event at Food Matters, Brevard, NC ~ 8/13/16

Gluten Free Expo at Harmony Farms, Raleigh, NC ~ 8/13/16

Save the Bay Swim at the Newport Navy Base, Jamestown, RI ~ 8/13/16

Lights on Stillwater in Stillwater, OK ~ 8/17/16

The Taste of Main in Old Bellevue, WA ~ 8/20/16

Back to School Bash at Sprouts Farmers Market, Austin, TX ~ 8/20/16

Yellowstone Trail Fest at the Starke County Fairgrounds, Hamlet, IN ~ 8/20 – 8/21/16

Build Your Own Back to School Lunches, Whole Foods Market, Santa Rosa, CA ~ 8/31/16

A Healthier You Deserves a Healthier Chew

We see you, you beautiful yoga-going, green juice drinking, FitBit wearer. Reading food labels. Taking the stairs. Cutting vegetables into elaborate shapes to disguise them for your kids. And, we offer you with a big, virtual high five.

You’re fighting the good fight to lead a healthy life. It’s a noble pursuit and no mean feat, especially when neon drive-thru signs light your way home and the pizza delivery guy’s number just might be on speed dial in your phone. But while you dutifully swap Slurpees for smoothies, have you ever happened to check what’s inside your chewing gum?

Studies have shown that gum can be a small but mighty (and mighty tasty) part of a healthy lifestyle– from curbing cravings and helping with calorie reduction to aiding with focus, concentration, memory, and even cavity prevention. Most mainstream gum, however, is chock-full of artificial, unpronounceable, and unappetizing ingredients.

Yup. Flip over any pack of conventional gum, and you’ll most likely find that it contains artificial flavors, colors (like Blue 2 Lake or Red 40), sweeteners (like Aspartame or Acesulfame K), preservatives (like BHT), and 100% synthetic gum base for chewy texture.

Not Glee Gum! As our friends from Naturally Savvy show in the comparison below, Glee instead uses natural flavors, colors (like red beet and beta carotene), sweeteners (like the Fair Trade cane sugar in Classic Glee Gum and xylitol in Sugar-Free Glee), and natural, chicle gum base. No additives. No preservatives. Just delicious gum.

So, we invite you to change what you chew! And we also say cheers to healthy, wonderful YOU.

Naturally Savvy Alternagraphic - Gum

 

 

Fun and Easy Photo Contest

We know you’ve got the moves! Show us how you’re staying healthy and active this summer for a chance to win oodles of Glee Gum and Pops.

It’s easy, peasy to enter the giveaway. First, snap a pic of fitness fun. Then, upload your photo with this quick form. Or, share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #DoMoreChewMore.

Three grand prize winners will be selected at random shortly after August 5, 2016. Everyone who enters will get an exclusive discount code to use on GleeGum.com in the meantime.

Now, you don’t need to be a star athlete to participate. In this contest, tricycles count just as much as triathlons. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, either. Smart phones take great shots! So, give it a go, shutterbugs. The pic you snap today just might mean free gum to snap tomorrow.

One entry per person. U.S. only. Must be 18 or over to enter. LEARN MORE. 

Photo Contest Header

Featured Fan: Behold! A Wonder

One hot, July day, a day that seemed like any other, Cat W. of Yorktown, VA stopped by her local Whole Foods Market and picked up a box of Mixed Berry Glee Gum.

She returned to her car and began driving away, popping two pieces of Glee in her mouth as she went. She recalls, “I just had a hankering to blow a little bubble.”

She proceeded to blow THE BIGGEST BUBBLE OF GLEE GUM THAT WE HAVE EVER SEEN.

She took a selfie (presumably after parking the car) to capture the moment. “Although I could blow a pretty mean bubble as a teenager, it’s not something that I have practiced in many years,” she reveals. “I have to say, my friends didn’t believe it was real!”

We believe you, Cat. And, we salute you!

Cat W. and her Bubble

July 2016 Photo Contest

Photo Contest Header

Enter for a Chance to Change What You Chew

Step 1: Take a photo of how you’re staying healthy and active this summer! From walking to weight-lifting, diving to high-fiving, we want to see it all.

Step 2: Upload your photo with this quick form. Or, share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #DoMoreChewMore.

Step 3: Cross your fingers! Three lucky, random winners will score oodles of free, natural gum and pops.

Three Grand Prizes each include 27 boxes of Glee Gum, 4 Glee Gum Pouches, and 1 Glee Gum Pops bag. One entry per person. U.S. only. Must be 18 or over to enter. Contest ends August 5, 2016, 11:59 p.m. ET. Official rules here