How does your garden grow?
I am a recovering black thumb. Before 2008, I killed everything I grew--and in short order. Herbs in the window? They lasted a couple of weeks at best. When I did plant things outside, they withered and died as soon as they dried out a week later! A houseplant? Forget about it.
My dad always loved having us work in the garden--and it was my least favorite Saturday chore. I wasn't a kid who enjoyed dirt, let alone spiders and worms. I wanted to be inside with my book. But he'd drag us out to the garden plot and as we'd work he'd sermonize on why gardening was so good for us. I rolled my eyes and did the bare minimum until I could get away with going back inside. I did not get my dad's love for gardening and figured it was just a hold-on from his boyhood days in Idaho.
But last year, motivated by a desire to be more self-reliant and the need to teach my children the many lessons that can be learned in the garden, we decided to plant a garden as a family. We had a lot of fun working together on it (at least until September, when no one wanted to go water or even harvest half the time,) and we really enjoyed eating the fruits (and veggies) of our labors. The boys learned a lot about the principles of sewing what you reap, tending your garden, and searching out and eradicating the evils that threatened our garden. And my black thumb? Well, the peppers never really did anything until October, but our cherry tomato plant nearly took over the entire garden and produced tomatoes through Thanksgiving weekend.
Last month, as soon as we were past the frost, we planted a few crops that were new to us: raddichio, romaine, spinach, bush beans, sugar snap peas, strawberries, and a few varieties of onions. We've been enjoying the lettuce and spinach for a month now, and are anxiously awaiting the other foods to be ready for eating.
It's time for us to plant our summer/fall harvest stuff now. Our backyard is still under construction--I have my fingers crossed that our new concrete will be poured sometime in the next week. I am hesitant to plant all our tender veggies and berries so near where the workers will be tromping around, pouring and stamping our new patio. Anyhow, this year we are more ambitious. Besides planting the tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, and herbs that we did last year, we are going to add a few melons, blackberries (or boysenberries if we can find them), peppers, and more herbs. And this year we want to do enough tomatoes to be able to can some. I think last year's spot got less sun than we needed for maximum production, so we have picked a new spot this year for the sun-loving beauties.
What is your favorite thing to grow? Is your thumb black or green? When do you get to start planting in your neck of the woods?