Garden Photo of the Day

The “Herban” Life

Herbs, vegetables, bees, and more on a small lot

Today’s photos are from Mika (catch her on Instagram @theherbanlife_), who grows a lot of food on a small lot in Jacksonville, Florida.

My story is very simple. I am a licensed beekeeper, a licensed plant nursery owner, a gardener, and an herbalist. I don’t have a particularly big piece of property. I live in a regular subdivision, and my total area is a quarter of an acre. I got started with gardening and my other interests about three years ago quite simply because I ran out of health insurance and needed to find something to help me maintain good health.

I asked Mika what her advice would be for other beginner gardeners, and this is what she said: “Go for it! Bloom where you are planted! Gratitude is a huge key to happiness. I’m grateful for the space that I do have and am looking forward to the day I have more.”

white zucchiniHarvest of white zucchini, okra, and pear cherry tomatoes.

Mika’s veggie garden. Simple cloths over some of the beds help provide shade from the intense Florida sun. Gardening techniques vary by climate, and while full sun is great for vegetables in many places, it can be too hot and intense in very warm climates.

planting boxA new planting box ready to be filled with veggies.

Mika introducing her grandson to honey straight from one of her bee hives. It didn’t take long for him to dive right in! It is important to Mika to help her grandkids have a connection to their food, to know where it comes from.

Mike doesn’t just grow vegetables and keep bees—she also has chickens! All on a quarter of an acre. You don’t need a huge property to produce your own food.

Dried herbsDried herbs to be used in making medicinal teas.

passion flowerThis striking passion flower (Passiflora species) only stays open for a single day. Mika says it is a reminder to literally stop and smell this beautiful flower because it won’t be there tomorrow. Seize the day!

TumericTurmeric (Curcuma longa) harvest! While most of us are most familiar with turmeric as a dried powder, it is a relative of ginger and grows as these thick rhizomes. Perennial in Zones 8–11, it can be grown in colder climates in a container that you bring into a protected spot for winter.

Garden bountyGarden bounty: Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, carrots.


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View Comments


  1. cynthia2020 07/31/2020

    Mika - I enjoyed reading your joyful gardening story and especially liked the photo of the little boy with the honeycomb and the photo of the Curcuma longa. I hope by now you have the insurance you need. Cynthia

  2. sagebird52 07/31/2020

    Wonderful diversity of growing healthy plants. The tumeric was interesting . Great example of a healthy way of life.

  3. Carolyn3134 07/31/2020

    Absolutely wonderful! I LOVE everything you are doing!!!

  4. wittyone 07/31/2020

    Those are gorgeous healthy plants you have there, a lovely contented looking hen and a beautiful little little grandson. Looks like you have many things to be thankful for. Hard work and an industrious nature go a long way towards making a happy life.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/31/2020

    I love seeing a small space being used as you have. Great set up you have.

  6. moyra_b 07/31/2020

    I can see that your love of your garden has really fed your appreciation for what matters!

  7. User avater
    simplesue 07/31/2020

    Love your garden advice, and the "gardening world" you've created on your property.

  8. btucker9675 07/31/2020

    This is truly wonderful and the photo of your grandson with the honeycomb is beautiful! I've never seen the actual turmeric rhizomes before - they are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing your Garden of Eden with us.

  9. Sunshine111 07/31/2020

    Very impressive Mika!😊

  10. JohnsonofMillCreek 07/31/2020

    You are an inspiration, Mika. Enjoy the fruits of your labors. And teaching the next generation about gardening and Nature.

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