Sunday, September 22, 2013

Growing our own

Another gardening season is drawing to a close. I’m ready. Don’t get me wrong, I love gardening. I am simply ready for the end of this season.

This year really wasn’t much of a season for vegetables. The weather wasn’t very cooperative & I didn’t devote the time necessary to encourage lots of produce. However, my perennials are currently going gangbuster. Intentional selection of drought tolerant plants has ensured that neglect is not a deterrent for spectacular growth. The man eating rose & 12 ft sunflowers are (literally) living proof.

But it wasn’t always this way. I grew up gardening with my parents but when left to my own devices, I could kill an artificial plant. Well, maybe not, but philodendrons didn’t stand a chance. I don’t really know what I was doing wrong, but a great many plants lost their lives as I tried to get it right.

Then, one day, something didn’t die. I believe it was a cactus (which has since died *sigh*). Eureka! I then tried again, and something else survived. Slowly I got better. I tried vegetables, but having to plant them in pots on a North facing patio didn’t really result in much produce. Then we got the house. I started digging & never looked back. Crazy cat lady? No cats. Crazy plant lady? Guilty as charged.

I started with several small flower beds and a moderate vegetable plot. Those small beds have since turned into huge swaths of yard. I took over the side yard, every edge of the house, the entire back fence, most of the side fence, all along the driveway, and a huge plot in the middle for the vegetables. James put his foot down when I considered tearing out the front lawn. I am not joking. Killjoy.

Somewhere along the way I (mostly) stopped killing plants. In fact, some just will not die. And then spread… everywhere. Need some plants? Never buy anything until you have called me first. I probably have several of what you need, in multiple colors.

And somewhere along the way, James got involved.

Some vegetables & other edibles we grow as staples. Delicious, nutritious, & easy, they are requirements every year. Tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, & kohlrabi make that list. Some we grow as challenges. Ghost pepper? Sure. Celery? What the heck. Giant pumpkins? Challenge accepted. Just as many fail as succeed, but that is what makes it fun.

We garden for the fun of it. We garden as a moving meditation, relieving stress & letting our minds go blank. We garden to be ecologically responsible by finding drought hardy plants & not using pesticides or artificial fertilizers. We garden to create food & habitat for the bees, birds, & local critters. We garden because it gives us a front row experience to the changing seasons. We garden to have control over the food we eat.

Through all of these, I am more aware of the world. And I can easily say, without detracting from my love of gardening, that I am ready for the season to end.

Why do you garden? Please share your comments below, we would love to hear from you.


  1. My reasons are not as beautiful as yours. We garden probably because we don't really like vegetables, but we like being a part of growing them (there's nothing better than going out and finding ready to eat food on the seed/plant you put there!) Also, we know that if we grow vegetables, well, we can't waste food, so then we have to eat them. (It's an adult way of tricking ourselves into eating our veggies!!) And, I think it's a phenomenal way to promote good eating habits in our little man (If only it was that easy!). It's great for him to be a part of the process of grown foods. For him to realize that food doesn't come from "HyVee". And for him to see his mom and dad eating their veggies! Another reason? Well growing our own food, gives me a chance to experiment with recipes and cooking strategies that I may not be willing to "pay" to try (and inevitably fail frequently). And in doing said experiments, we have found that veggies aren't nearly as bad as we once thought. We just hadn't been preparing them deliciously! :) I just hope Arianne, that one day, I will learn this strategy of yours that keeps most plants alive (I only seem to be able to do that with the weeds that take care of themselves. Everything else is just a guessing game, that sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose!!!)

    1. Your reasons ARE just as beautiful as mine. Because they are yours. Little man will look back fondly on your experiments, take my word for it. Some of my best childhood memories are from my family's garden.
      Mom & I still play a game of "What are you eating?!" "Nothing." We laugh, and the tomato I stole from the garden seems even more delicious because of it.

      If I could tell you how I came about the strategy of keeping all the plants alive, I would gladly shout it from the rooftops. It was a lovely accident. I accept that accident & take joy in the results.