A Garden Romance
As much of North America lies under frigid temperatures and a blanket of snow, many of us dream of summer days and with them, gardening. In our imaginations we snap a pea off the vine and salivate at the sweet crispness. We reach for a sun-warmed tomato and dream of the flavorful juice, the seeds running down our chins. We snip herbs and kazam! every entrée on our plate is kicked up a notch. In our dreams.
It doesn’t seem to matter if you’ve never tilled ground before or if the weeds ate your previous attempts. The garden romance lives on.
As with any love story, there’s a lot of awkwardness and misunderstanding, especially at first. And after the first blush of love wears thin, there’s the push-pull between complacency and hard work in every garden romance.
I know this. Not only have I tended a vegetable garden for over thirty years, I’ve spent that long married. Plus, I write contemporary romance novels. I see the connection.
If the lure of gardening has caught your attention for the first time, here are a few things to consider:
Tending a vegetable garden is an investment. There’s the time involved in preparing a plot, especially a new one cut from sod. There’s the time of choosing seeds and bedding plants and the time of planting them. There’s the time of watering and of weeding. And finally, there’s the time of harvesting and processing the food. If your life is already a zipline from morning to night, where will this time come from?
How much area can you devote to growing food? If you live in an apartment building, you may be limited to pots of herbs on a windowsill and a few containers on the balcony. You might also look into Sharing Backyards to see if an unused garden might be lurking in your neighborhood.
If you live in a town or a city, you may be able to devote part of your yard to a garden. Some jurisdictions don’t allow vegetables street-side. Do you have a sunny spot that isn’t needed for something else? Is there space unused by children’s play equipment, the patio, the pool?
If you live in a more rural area and are new to this delicious hobby, you have more freedom to site and size your garden. Don’t expect to go from zero to sixty in one summer, though. I’d suggest a few raised beds. You can always add more next year, as you gain experience and passion in your garden romance.
Make sure your plot is within easy reach of a hose. You can cut down the need for water with mulch, but obviously not eliminate it. If you can set up a timer, so much the better. Some vegetables, like cucumbers and eggplant, seem to grow fine with less water but become bitter.
You’ll also want the garden to be as close to your kitchen door as possible. Out of sight, out of mind rings true in your garden romance! If it’s visible and handy, stopping to pull a few weeds or noticing when a tomato is ripe is that much easier.
Why do you desire to garden? If it’s simple infatuation, I suggest you recognize that before you get started. But if you have a passion for fresh food, for affordable food that you know is organic and not genetically modified, and if you are a do-it-yourselfer who thrives on learning new skills, give a vegetable garden a try.
Are the buds of a garden romance blooming?
Are you still in love with the idea of starting a vegetable garden? There’s so much more to it than a good plan, and far more than can be tackled in one short post. It’s a topic that I’ll be spending a lot of time on over at my own blog, so come on over. You might like to subscribe–the link is in the sidebar. Or you might also be interested in my monthly newsletter which, among other things, shares what’s going on at our farm and in our garden.
Do you have any questions about getting started? I’d love to help you out. Ask away!