It's funny how things just come together sometimes. I'm new to blogging, and never even really read one, let alone follow one. I felt I had things to share, ideas, mistakes, lessons, and so a blog just made sense. Hopefully it will also be a way to practice writing. Being new to this blog world, I decided to go out and see what other people were doing. In this search, I came across You Grow Girl. I was so excited to then find Grow Write Guild! I definitely don't have any problem with material to write about. There's years of stories and gardening and DIY stuff to write about. I could write a couple thousand pages. But who wants to read all of that. I needed FOCUS!
The first topic is to talk about what got you into gardening. Once again, funny how things come together as I was just thinking about this and talking to friends about it. The problem is, they have a story. They remember the first tomato they grew or the first houseplant they didn't kill. I feel like for me, it all just fell into place.
I don't remember how it all started, but I remember having plants in my bedroom. My mother always had some houseplants and I do have memories of being out in her garden when I was very small. I don't think she had much time for a garden once my sister was born, so I was probably only a few years old. I remember it looking huge! Everything is huge when you're small. Earthworms looked like snakes. Or maybe they were snakes?
Back to that bedroom. My room was on the southeast corner of the house. It was always warm and sunny. Somehow my room became the plant hospital. If a houseplant was sick or not doing well, it ended up on a little table or in the windowsill and I would nurse it back to health. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it right. I loved those plants. I don't even remember what they were now, but they were loved! This must have been middle school or high school.
In elementary school, I remember my sister coming home with seedlings she started. One was even a tomato that went to space! But why do I only remember her plants? Did I never get to do these projects? Or was it just that a space tomato can make everything else seem like nothing?
What I do know is that by the time I was 12, I was in the back yard digging up the grass in the back yard for a veggie garden. It was nowhere near as big as the one I remember my mother having, but it was huge for a kid who wouldn't eat a vegetable to save her life. And I mean that. My father used to tell me at dinner, "You'll die in your sleep tonight if you don't eat those vegetables." My mother took a different approach and told me the vegetables were sad and crying because I didn't want them. Death was not scary to me. Making a vegetable sad was just horrifying.
I grew tomatoes, and zucchini for sure. Over the years my garden got a little bigger to fit some herbs. I'm sure there were other veggies too. I remember tilling the garden every year only to find more and more rocks. It was amazing how I could pull these large rocks out, and still have to do it again the next year! We had a rock bed near the veggie bed from all those rocks we pulled out. It still blows my mind when I think about this. Geology is a magical thing!
Soon I was helping a friend start a garden in her yard. We must have been 13 or 14, the two of us digging and digging. We didn't pick the best spot. It was surrounded by trees or shrubs and those roots were just exhausting! We finally got it done and got some seeds and plants in the ground. I'm happy to say that she still remembers this garden too. I don't know if she's still gardening, but she did go on to become a nutritionist. I like to think there is some connection there!
I survived not eating veggies, and now I eat them all (although you'll probably never find cauliflower in my back yard). I've had many gardens now from Mass to Chicago, Southern Cal, to the Jersey Shore, and there will be many more. I'm lucky to share this garden with someone who enjoys it as much as I do. His story is different, but we end in the same edible paradise. He was even out there today starting beds for potatoes in the snow! It still feels like winter, but we have our seeds planted for this summers garden, which will be our best one yet! Until next year, that is.