When I was a kid, my mom used to grow a huge garden every summer. It was a raised garden bed, made out of wood two by fours. The bed was about four feet wide but rain the entire length of the yard. Our yard wasn’t that big, but the garden always seemed huge to me. It hosted an array of plants–peas and green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, carrots and lettuce, and a variety of herbs ranging from thyme to rosemary. There was also a smaller garden on the side of the yard where a strawberry plan liked to expand its vines, always came back larger and larger every season.
I remember that garden because it provided the staples for our summer dishes. We’d make jams and jellies and chop up the carrots to go along with the chicken ‘n noodles. We had so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we’d canned some of them for the colder months.
I’ve had relatively small gardens myself since then. Nothing more than a few herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and, this year, spinach. They are in raised garden beds, but not the kind made out of wood slates that are a big as the yard allows, but ones that are plastic and sit nicely on a patio deck.
When spending all of the prior cold months inside, it makes me excited to spread out all the green and tend to something that I can harvest later. It also reminds me of when I was a kid, gardening with my mom in the months of May, June, July, and August.
Since this spring was my senior year in college, I spent most of my time with my head in the books while on campus. I didn’t have much time to shop at gardening stores or Lowes for seeds or even started plants. However, my school has its own greenhouse on top of the science and technology building, and–at the end of every semester–the biology club sells the pants from the greenhouse. So, miraculously, I picked up the few staples I grow every summer thanks to the break that I took studying and the biology club.
The only small thing that this came with was I had to bring the plants with me to class the rest of the day. It wasn’t so bad, I just had a lot of people commenting on my plant babies.
They had a nice little box to sit in while I toted them around.
Now that they’re planted in my garden, they have been growing steadily. My tomatoes have stemmed out and have become fuller, while my lettuce is becoming leafier. I’ve already harvested a few leaves from the basil plant. The rosemary and parsley haven’t grown too much, but they’re a bit slower at growth. I added fertilizer to the beds a few days ago, the growth of all the plants started to become stagnate and it made me worry, but as soon as I fed the little baby plants they’ve been lively since. I planted spinach by seed a few days ago. It’s slightly late in the spring seasons to plant the first batch of spinach, so they haven’t sprouted yet. Hopefully, they will sprout soon.
I’m looking forward to harvesting the first of my lettuce soon, hopefully, the tomatoes will come shortly after. I’ve been looking for good recipes so I can use my herbs in summery dishes. Maybe I can make a full-on meal with everything I’ve grown, substituting a few things from the grocery store.
The whole process of growing plants and getting to use their harvest is both humbling and satisfactory. I hope this tiny garden that I’ve had the past few years can grow into a larger one in the years to come, just like the one my mom used to tend to in the summer months when I was a kid.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even get into winter gardening, something that’s always peaked my interested but I’ve never ventured out to try.