I was digging around in an old box of photos today and came across this gem:
There I am, kissing the very first tomato grown entirely by me. I was in college, renting a horrendous bright peach house with three other college students, and for some reason one summer, I got this crazy notion that I needed to plant a little vegetable plot on the side of my house.
My next door neighbors - two little old ladies who walked the neighborhood every day - were intrigued by my pseudo-garden and happy to offer unasked for advice. "Nothing will grow there. You don't have enough sun." they said.
In a way, they were right: I didn't get much from that garden. I can remember harvesting a few tomatoes and peppers, and then maybe that spot really didn't get enough sun, or maybe I got distracted and forgot to water, or maybe I forgot about the garden completely (I was attending school part time as well as working the night shift full time at a factory and planning a wedding with my now husband, so I was a tiny bit busy that summer).
But they were also very wrong; my love of growing things grew out of that little garden. I can remember the excitement of plucking that first tomato off the vine, the delicious reward for the sweat and labor that took those tomato plants from little seedlings to bushy vines. And the memory was still with me three years later when I planted my second pseudo-garden (four tomato plants in containers on an apartment balcony that definitely didn't get enough sun) and my third garden in the tiny plot in front of my townhouse ("Let's just stick with flowers for awhile, okay, honey?") and finally my current garden (four square foot gardening beds).
This week, I've harvested two beds worth of kale, swiss chard, and beets, and we're enjoying a daily bounty of fresh snow peas. But I'll tell you, nothing compares to that very first tomato.
When did you fall in love with gardening?