Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gardening...It grows on you!

Garden memories with The Conscious Shopper

I was digging around in an old box of photos today and came across this gem:

Foreground: My first garden, 2001
Background: My current garden, 2011

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?


Kate said...

I like to read these posts, but I am not a good gardener. I do enjoy growing herbs and am right now loving mint-infused lemonade with my friend the ever-hardy mint that even I seem unable to kill. Mostly I have fallen in love with it in a second-hand sort of way and usually joke that as a gardener I'm a very good csa member. More power to you, though, I say!

Wendy (The Local Cook) said...

Last year was my first garden. I'm hooked! We aren't to the harvesting point here in zone 5 though.

Tom Stevens said...

My wife has really taken to gardening just lately. We only have a small patio but nevertheless she has got a load of tubs and containers and planted loads of different vegetables, from tomatoes to peppers and is even trying strawberries.
She loves it!

Green Bean said...

Lovely post. I had a similar journey - starting with a "color bowl" on an apartment patio when I was a grad student.

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Awesome. I love how the whole "becoming a gardener" thing is such a journey! I mean, we always seem to think there are these magical people who Have The Knack and have produced amazing harvests year after reality, I bet most of them have a lot of trial-and-error-emphasis-on-error in their backgrounds just like the rest of us. :-) (

(And yeah, Wendy, I hear you! I'm a 5-er too.)

Willo said...

How lovely! I am growing my first real gardens this year and can already feel it growing on me as I really attend to it.

Lisa Sharp said...

I don't have a food garden yet, but hopefully someday! I really want fruit trees as I LOVE fruit.

SustainaMom said...

awww!! I was late planting this year, but it is so exciting to see little green shoots coming up!!

H_O_G_'s Blog said...

My love of gardening came from my grandparents:


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