After I realized how badly I needed to connect with real food here, I decided it was time to start growing something on purpose.
I saw a great tutorial here on www.Instructables.com for growing my own container garden, so I picked some milk crates up off of Craigslist for a few dollars each. I can’t say I had the best luck (not much sun on my little spot of concrete otherwise known as my backyard), but I planted everything from seed and got some lettuce, one carrot that was about an inch long, a bit of basil, and a couple tomatos. The intrinsic satisfaction of making a salad out of everything that I grew was worth the effort even if said salad was eaten in one bite. I know that if my little veggies had more sun they would have been much more productive.
We moved from that condo so I now have a backyard with plenty of space for a real garden. Last summer I had a huge zucchini plant (I’ve never really heard of a small one), a few tomato plants, some lettuce, strawberries, and a variety of herbs.
My Ikea plant continued to thrive and is still alive after four years (a.m.a.z.i.n.g…it’s kind of like the goldfish you win at the fair that lives longer than your dog). My biggest problem now is that my toddler picks the tomatos when they’re two days away from perfect and eats them fresh from the vine. I think the gardening gene from my grandma is recessive and is just now starting to surface. And, if that’s the biggest problem in my garden I’ll take it.
I’m planning for this year’s garden with some serious elbow grease. I built my raised planter beds while my husband was on a trip, have some seedlings going under a grow light in the garage with more getting planted next month, and planted some beet and radish seeds directly into the ground so they’re starting to poke through the soil. I even have a little gardening journal (okay, a spiral bound notebook) that helps me remember what I’ve done, weather patterns, dates of sprouting, etc.
My hope is that I’ll be able to provide for all of our vegetable needs during the growing season with enough left over to freeze or can for later in the year. I decided that I needed to start somewhere and I usually wait until too late in the season and just give up until the next year. My goal at the beginning of 2012 was to be more intentional with my days so they don’t fly by so quickly. Gardening is one way I’m doing that.