beeandbasil_profile-01Hi! My name is Shanna.

Even though I grew up in a small farming town in Kansas, I never really knew much about cultivating food. The closest I came to understanding any sort of food cycle from start to finish was when I’d join my grandpa in harvesting honeycomb from his beehives, and watching them being pressed in the honey house.

But a few years ago, after moving back to Kansas from the beautiful, busy streets of Chicago and finding myself with a huge back yard to play in, I decided I wanted to grow as much of my family’s food as possible.

There was only one little problem…I’d never had a garden! Not only that, but plants seemed to lose the will to live in my presence (RIP orchids, succulents and more). The only thing I’d been able to grow successfully on the windowsill of my big city apartment was basil.

I realized if I was going to have a serious garden and manage the process of my family’s food from seed to table, I was going to have to do a lot of work.

I did a lot of dumb stuff that I didn’t realize was dumb until I did it, and found some smart ways to work around common problems. From learning about seed starting to researching pest control, coming up with recipes for overabundance to canning food for the winter, I ended up with a ton of information.

Amid all my searching, I realized there’s probably a lot of people like me who are looking for answers—or at least commiseration!—when it comes to starting your first serious garden. Both in terms of what to do, and what to do with all the produce!

Since I’m a writer by day, I figured why not share about my experiences in a blog, and ask people to share back? That way, we can all get a little smarter—and get more food on the table—together.

So here we are: Bee + Basil. Beginning at the beginning, and learning as we go. I’m happy you’re here.


P.S. If you’re wondering, the photo above was taken at Hofbrauhaus, in Munich, Germany. So yes, that girl over my left shoulder is pounding a huge beer. I’ll probably replace it with a pretty picture of myself in the garden later on. But for now? It’s pretty authentic to who I am.