Although I like to think of myself as being very easy going and not particularly contrary about much of anything, I guess you could say I was that way about gardening. I’ve always described myself as not having a green thumb. Not even the palest of greens. If I had a plant I killed it, not because I was malicious (who hates plants??) but because I just wasn’t any good at plant care and accidentally neglected and/or over-watered it to death. If it once was green it was sure to be brown in short order.
Then I realized maybe I’m not good with plants because I *think* I’m not. I assume I can’t grow anything so when I try I’m already being negative about it and assuming everything I touch will wither and die.
With the Internet at my fingertips I have excuse to not be able to learn how to care for, nurture, and grow whatever I want as long as it’s within the abilities of my climate and space. I started to think maybe, just maybe I could grow some fresh vegetables for my family, something that I would know wasn’t heavily sprayed with pesticides and god knows what else.
After all, I have successfully kept the front garden going; when we moved in I was intimidated by the beautiful green hostas and pretty flowers in front of the house and worried the owners would drive by to see a barren wasteland only a short time later. However they ended up being easy to care for and since everything out there (hostas, lily of the valley, hydrangeas) was a perennial I didn’t have to do much besides cut everything back in the early spring and just let it grow.
Then a month ago I took the kids to their school spring fair and Hayley bought a cute little vine plant in a plastic cup. We named it Herbie and in the back of my mind I apologized to Herbie for the fact that I was going to inevitably kill him. Still, last weekend I bought some dirt, transplanted him into a bigger pot (his roots had grown and the cup was way too small) and not only did he survive, he’s been thriving in his new ceramic pot home; a stem and leaf that I was sure were finished have now suddenly straightened up and he looks solid and healthy.
So I decided to go for it. Our backyard has a pre-made garden box that the owners told us had once been a vegetable garden and I figured it was time to give it a try. Sunday morning we got up and went to the garden centre at Atlantic Superstore and I picked out two types of tomato plants, a tray with eight green bell pepper plants, and seeds for carrots, spinach, swiss chard, radishes, and zucchini. Along with several bags of rich black top soil, I was ready.
With the sheets blowing on the line and the kids playing in a tent, I set about gardening. I poured top soil into the box, raked it out flat, and started planting my seeds. I have two rows of everything except radishes (only one row for them because I was running out of space and I would rather have two rows of everything else; honestly I could go for a whole box full of zucchini but I’m starting small!). Then I put the tomatoes and peppers in. I will likely get another one or two plants for different varieties of tomatoes and put them in a couple of pots, and I would like to grow some herbs like basil and lemongrass too. If everything takes I may have more tomatoes than one family can ingest but we have lots of friends who would probably be happy to take extras.
I had wondered where I put the gardening gloves I bought back when we first moved in but it turns out I don’t need them. Getting my hands right into the dirt is all part of the fun. I really enjoyed it and can see my little garden area becoming a zen spot in my back yard. I remember learning to knit years ago and discovering that I enjoyed the final product (especially my Harry Potter scarves) but I hated the actual process. Luckily, although I will certainly enjoy the bounty from my garden in a couple of months, I absolutely loved the process of digging and planting and tending to it as well. I look forward to many hours over the course of the summer spent watering and weeding and picking and admiring everything in there.
I’m going into this with a positive vibe. I do have a green thumb, even if it’s faint in shade. I’ll learn more as I go and learn from any mistakes too, but I feel pretty confident that with all the stuff I’ve planted I should at least have some success as long as I take care of it.
And summer meals are going to be mighty delicious.