Another Memorial Day has come and gone, and another collection of seedlings is in my garden. Mission accomplished!
The location in the yard has changed a couple of times, and the size has expanded and contracted. But, for the past 11 years, we’ve planted a garden around Memorial Day, and I would never dream of giving it up!
Why? Because it feels so good to produce! (No apologies for the pun.) If you have a garden, then you get it. If you don’t, then you really should consider growing something. The physical work to prepare and install the garden, watering the plants as the sun is setting, watching the plants grow, and then the bounty is therapeutic. A garden feeds an inherent part of our existence; we are slowly giving up. And it’s a shame because working together with a plant is a curious feeling everyone should experience at least once. My garden and I have an agreement- I give it what it needs to grow and thrive, and it rewards me with food (organic to boot).
So, here are my quick recommendations to discover the magic that comes from a relationship with vegetable plants:
1. It does require work, and can quickly become overwhelming. Know your time limitations. It takes just one busy work week, and you won’t be able to find your babies among the weeds. Or everything ends up withered from lack of water. Start with a tiny corner of land or, better yet, a small raised garden box.
2. Don’t let lack of space stop you. For you city dwellers, there are hanging tomato and strawberry plants. Just a simple herb garden in a sunny window will give you a sense of accomplishment.
3. Plant things you will use. For me, it’s herbs and an unusual variety of tomatoes, like striped zebras. I do love my herbs! Chives and cilantro in an omelet; every spice in the garden mashed together with garlic and sea salt and then stuffed into a filet and grilled- OMG! Mojitos with fresh mint anyone? Caprese salad? You get the picture.
Sage, garlic chives, and mint – these babies come back every year and are exceptionally hardy.
4. Try one new thing each season to see if it works. In years past, we’ve gone bonkers with our selection. This year, I stuck to the basics. I got a little crazy and bought a watermelon plant. 🙂 I’ve failed in the past with melons but figured it was worth another shot since little Vincent loves them so much.
6. It’s okay to cheat and buy starters. Weston Nurseries always has a few unique items and an amazing tomato selection. Although I am sure the sense of accomplishment is fantastic, a garden would never be possible for me if I had to start from seed.
7. Invest in a pair of garden gloves; your nails will thank you for it.
8. Don’t forget to stop and smell the garden – the tomato plants, mint, and sage are just as good as roses. 🙂
Chives, which have returned every year.
I cannot say my garden is the most manicured, and it certainly is not the best. However, my grandfather did have the best vegetable garden, and in of all places Revere. But, what was better than the perfect rows of plump, sweet tomatoes, or fried squash blossoms my grandmother would make, was seeing his pride, dedication, and genuine love for the plants. Witnessing that connection between a person and the Earth was beautiful. And I’m so happy to have it today.
Here are a few links to more serious directions to planting a garden. Enjoy!