Well it seems I have come full circle; I’ve got a garden going again this year. I am turning into my mom even more, its not that bad a thing, really.

I grew up in New York, not the city but a little upstate ” in the country”. When we moved from our house and small yard in NJ it was a little shocking to find we had 4 acres to spread out and make use of.  My parents did a lot of land clearing and made a large pond area with an island, a horse barn and fenced area, a tool shed….and a huge garden!!  I really do mean it was big!  They grew all kinds of vegetables I had never heard of and some I did: zucchini, summer (yellow) squash, broccoli, kohlrabi  tomatoes, peppers, beans, cukes and more.  They either froze, canned, pickled or made jelly with everything they grew.  They were organic before it really was a thing to try to achieve–they fertilized with “chicken manure tea”, the manure being obtained from a local egg farm.  We “composted” the weeds and the stuff we discarded…even though I had no idea what I was doing; we had a pile in the corner and added to it then added it back when they gardened then next year.

I can’t say I ever thought about the garden, it was like church–something we just did. And I can’t say I enjoyed both all the time either. I don’t know where my parents got their recipes for some of the meals but….sometimes I thought we were eating ‘garbage’ by the way it looked (shredded zucchini, peppers, onions and sausage-yuck!). They liked it though and it was either eat it or starve, most times I ate it.  I always wondered why they had the garden, as far as I could see it was just more work to do.

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My tower of beans!

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Roma tomatoes

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Basil….love the smell!

Fast forward a few years. Last year I got a couple of raised bed kits and had some soil delivered and put in a basic garden on what I thought we might eat; tomatoes, peppers, beans, basil, potatoes, pumpkins and strawberries. I can say I enjoyed it and we did eat most of the produce and I froze what I could for the winter.  My daughters even helped out with harvesting now and then.

I wanted to expand this year and have some raised and some traditional planted areas (ie in the ground). Well it did not quite work out that way–I waited too long to get started and had to stop due to the roots I found while roto-tiling and the rain. I still kept the two beds going but with different plants and planting methods (see the next blog for details) and I have plans in place to get the new raised beds built and the other area set up for tilling.

So the point to this rambling tale? I get why they had a garden; its comforting to be working with Nature to produce a harvest. I enjoy puttering around pulling weeds and ‘mothering’ my plants. Its actually rewarding to see things growing and knowing you made it happen. Plus I get to control how my veges are grown; organic seeds and fertilizer, natural pest deterrents.  Plus I get to share them with friends.