This is my garden. I consider this my first official garden, but It's not the first time I've grown veggies...when David and I moved from the big, bad city (I love you NYC) to Western MA, we rented an apartment from some really nice landlords. They were so nice, in fact, that they gave us 1/2 of their garden plot in their backyard.
We were in heaven. Actually, we were in what the city-folk call the country, and after years of living in NYC, it felt pretty heavenly.
We grew tomatoes that towered to a prolific 7 feet tall. I tried my hand at eggplant, but they were bitter and inedible. So were the cherry peppers I grew (I think I harvested them too late, because when I cut them open, worms were where the seeds should have been. That stopped me from cutting into peppers for a good, long time). But, we had tomatoes, and they were glorious. Prior to growing these tomatoes, I was not a tomato lover. I became a convert, and I now wait (im-)patiently each year for the bounty of summer tomato-goodness in our area.
When we moved into our current home, we dug up a portion of our yard and we planted....tomatoes! We went wild, and planted something like 16 tomato plants. We had a tomato jungle, and it was ridiculous. I also planted lettuces, kale, and peas (but I planted too late and my yield was pathetic). I tried beets, but they didn't work, and my chard was only so-so.
This year, I decided that I needed a more organized, pleasing-to-the-eye garden. I was inspired by my friend Amanda's garden. When I saw her perfect raised beds, with the perfectly laid-out vegetables and the pea stone walkways, I knew that me and the SFG were meant to be (SFG=Square Foot Gardening, and I was in love). As per Amanda's instructions, I purchased All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew, read it over the winter, and thought about whether or not this style of gardening would suit me.
I think I made the right choice; the gardens look neat and tidy, there's no weeds, and when I look out onto my garden from the top floor of my house, the aerial view makes me smile. All my vegetable-babies have their own little spots, and they are well fed (thanks to the nutrient-rich mixture I had to concoct), and when I walk through the garden, I can see everything and enjoy everything. Planting is easy and harvesting is easy. I do not regret getting outside in early March and building the boxes. Or borrowing a friends rototiller and digging up part of the yard in the rain at the end of March. Or spending hours and hours researching the SFG method, the soil mixture, and using graph paper to painstakingly lay out my beds and where each vegetable would be planted. It was worth every moment.
When people who have known me for a very long time see my garden, they say something to the effect of "Oh, yeah, this is SO you...". What I think they mean is "You're slightly OCD and a bit of a control-freak". They're right.
Want to see what I pulled out of my garden this week? Potatoes!!!!
The first time I pulled a potato out of the ground, David said my expression was priceless. I was actually shocked to dig down a few inches with my hands and retrieve that little potato. Digging into the soil and pulling something up that you feel first, then see, is so much more exciting than pulling a piece of fruit off a tree... a gift wrapped in dirt! I'm leaving the rest of the potatoes in the ground until later on in the season. Unless I end up not being able to resist sticking my hand back in the dirt...
Even though we agreed to only have a small garden this year (since we joined the CSA for the first time), you can tell that the garden is not so small. What's in my garden?? Oh, I thought you'd never ask...
Three types of Heirloom Tomatoes, Two Kinds Potatoes, Red and Yellow Onions, Carrots, Beets, Fennel, Mixed Peppers, French Breakfast Radishes, Cilantro, Leeks, Flat Leaf Parsley, Dill (but they died, thanks to the sunless month of June), Basil (again, looking pathetic. Thanks, Sun.), Japanese eggplant, Swiss Chard, Red Cabbage, Lavender, Horseradish, 2 types of Mint and lots of Nasturtium. Phew!