I've been saying for years that I want to start my own garden. I love this time of year when farmer's markets open, and each week, and vendors have new things to try. I always go and think "I'm sure it couldn't be that hard to grow my own tomatoes. I need to do that next year." I have co-workers who have encouraged me to try it for a long time. But I think I was intimidated, worrying that I'd put a bunch of time and effort into something that all of the animals in my backyard would end up eating instead of me. Or what if the things I tried to grow just didn't work at all?
Last fall I read a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's about a family who grows or raises almost every thing they eat for an entire year (or make sure it's locally produced.) Okay, I knew I wasn't ready for that big of a commitment, but it inspired me. If this family could change their whole way of life, I could start a little garden for my family, right?
This was going to be the year that I really committed to starting something. I had big ideas about how many different things I was going to plant, how much space I was going to need, and I even enlisted my dad to help me (telling him that we could split any of the harvest if we both did the work). But as March turned into April and April became May, I started to panic. Suddenly I was very overwhelmed (once again), with the idea of digging up my yard and spending a lot of time on something that may or may not work. Once again, I decided to abandon the project. That's when my husband stepped in.
He convinced me that instead of giving up on the idea yet again, we should just scale back. We'd try something very small this year, and then depending on how things go we can expand from there. I found some container gardens online that we found for sale at our local garden store. They came with step-by-step instructions for how to set up the container and plants, and the next weekend I went to our local farmers market and picked out some vegetables that I'd read were easy to start with. I planted two tomatoes, one cucumber, six carrots and a sweet potato plant (just because that one sounded interesting.) As of mid-June, here's what one of my boxes looked like (the other is pictured above):
It will still be a while before I know if any of this is a success, but I already feel a sense of accomplishment for trying.
Do you grow your own vegetables? Any fun experiences or tips to share? If you don't, have you ever considered trying?
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