Posts Tagged ‘gardening’
There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler
If you live in a community as I do, you probably have never given any thought about raising your own vegetables. But I would venture to guess that most people have some sort of flower garden, or flower pots surrounding the landscape. My husband is a huge landscape kind of guy. Every year, he changes the look of things, plants, transplants, you name it. Our yard never looks the same 2 years in a row!! Last year, my workplace closed it’s doors, and I had the whole summer off (bummer, I know, feel REAL sorry for me!!). Since I had all that time off, I wanted to try my hand at gardening. I have never done it before. Sure, I plant flowers all over the place every spring, and tend to them all summer, but I have never grown my own food. So I brought up the subject to my husband, sure that I would get a thumbs down, after all, this was his space for flowers!! He was really opened to the idea, so we set off to weed some areas in our back yard where we once had beautiful plants.
This flower bed was great for a garden area, as we had filled it with nice topsoil. We live on the hill, and let me tell you, all we grow up here are rocks!! It felt so good, pulling the winter weeds, and working that wonderful dirt. I love the fresh smell of dirt. I grew up working in the bulb fields of the Puyallup Valley, where we grow all the daffodils and tulips, and when I work the dirt, it takes me back to those damp summer mornings, pulling bulbs out of that flawless, dark, wonderful soil.
Our space is pretty limited, so we dug away a couple of feet along the fence. After all, this was our first attempt at planting a garden. We figured we’d try a few things, see how they grow, what we liked and didn’t like, etc. As it turned out, we had a wonderful abundance just in these tiny areas. I had 5 zucchini plants, and as you can imagine, I was giving away zucchini all summer long, as well as eating it several times a week. It did afford me the privilege to put away several yummy loaves of zucchini bread in the freezer, which we enjoyed throughout the winter. But nothing is more rewarding than sharing your harvest with friends and family. That was the best part!!
This year, since we had such a good time last year, my husband wanted to expand the area just a little, so he decided to build some raised garden beds, and figured that would help keep the grass out while he mows the lawn. That was a bit of a problem last year. He would mow the lawn, and the grass would end up in my garden area!!
He expanded these out to 4 feet wide (I know it doesn’t look like it, but he said “tape measures don’t lie”) and 8 feet long sections. We will be putting in dirt, as well as mixing in some of the compost that we started last year.
I also have some large flower pots that I will be using. Not sure which veggies I will be putting in them, maybe my greens. Or a tomato plant. I will figure that out as I go. I did buy one of those topsy turvy tomato hangers, and I want to see which grows better……upright or upside down. You can also plant zucchini and cucumbers in them.
The one thing that I have learned……I am not planting from seed. We live in the Pacific Northwest, and by the time the threat of frost is gone, it takes so long for those little seed to germinate, and things just start going great when summer is ending. The things that did the best for me last year were the starts that I bought at the local Farmer’s Market. They start the seedlings out in hot houses in February, so that they are up and ready to go, and you yield the food so much quicker. I probably won’t start anything from seed. Takes too long. If we lived in a warmer climate, where we had really warm springs, that would be ok, but since we don’t (we had snow in March last year), I figure that’s the way to go. All the local farmers in town have everything you can imagine. Now, I am just waiting for the markets to start. I will be ready.
So I challenge you. Even though you may live in an apartment, or condo, or have a tiny backyard, you too can enjoy fresh vegetables. It only takes a small area, a big flower pot, or hanging baskets. Grow only what you love to eat. You won’t be sorry!!
Tami’s Tip of the Week
If you don’t have a compost bin, there are some very simple things to add to your garden. Coffee grounds!!
Ground coffee is high in nitrogen, making it a very good mulch for fast-growing vegetables. Many organic growers swear by coffee grounds as mulches for tomato plants, both for the nitrogen boost this heavy feeder appreciates and for coffee’s ability to help suppress late blight.
You can go to most any coffee stand, and ask for a bag of the used grounds. They are more than happy to get these off their hands. At my hospital’s cafeteria, they have a Tully’s coffee stand, and it’s open 24 hours a day, so you can imagine how many grounds they go through. They even post a sign on how to use them in your garden. They will bag them up and hand them over. They’re free, and they’re yours for the asking!!