Thursday, June 24, 2010

How does your garden grow?

For years, my husband and I have talked about having a garden. In the three houses we've lived in, though, we've never had enough sun, so it's been more wishful thinking and daydreaming than doing any digging. Last year we tried tomatoes in buckets, which produced mixed results - not helped by a poor year for gardeners everywhere, and torrential rains that drowned our poor plants beyond belief.

Taken a few weeks ago - things are much bigger by now already.

I've recently been into the old fashioned living idea - the idea of self-sustaining and producing something from start to finish. I already sew, and it's wonderful to start a project from a basic bolt of fabric and turn it into something beautiful. My husband hunts for venison, and now can process the deer from start to finish himself thanks to the astute teachings of a wise, experienced friend. While some of you might be grossed out about eating deer meat, whether you care for it or not it's still cool to go through the entire "from woods to table" process!

So gardening seemed like a natural progression. After all, while growing up in Ohio, my mom always had at least two large gardens going during the summertime. She canned and froze, carrying on the tradition of her agrarian grandparents. It seems like a dead art to most, but many are starting to turn back to their roots - literally - to grow their own food and at least partially sustain themselves, whether for environmental reasons, or because of the increasing cost of goods. We do it just because we like the idea of starting something from its genesis and bringing it to fruition - much like the venison idea I mentioned above.

This year we dug out a plot next to a friend's nearby in a sunny location. So far we've got squash, zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes going. Considering that I've heard that potatoes can be a bit fussy, we've started out well and they look good so far. My husband just put some carrots in that we've had growing from seed on the windowsill for a little too long, so we'll see how those turn out. So far, everything looks wonderful, and it's so fulfilling to see how things start from a small seed into an established plant in no time at all! I think in less than a week the squash seeds went from nothing to something, which the kids really enjoyed seeing.

We also decided to plant pumpkin seeds next to the house, in the sunniest place possible. We've started a yearly tradition with the neighborhood kids of carving pumpkins together and having a little party, and we're hoping to have enough fruits of our labor by Halloween to share with everyone.