I have seen many people posting online about how they have started gardening for the first time this year due to being stuck at home during the pandemic. Creating a garden for the first time is like a chapter from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Gardens can be too big, too small or just right. It doesn’t take long to figure out just how much space you need. 👨🌾
Growing up my parents had two extremely large gardens that took up about a half acre of their property. It was ridiculous. We would spend all summer weeding, watering, and screaming at deer and groundhogs to leave it alone; Once again, ridiculous. The garden though was my parents pride and joy. They couldn’t wait for the plants to produce enough goods, so that they could start canning. 🙄 Tomatoes, tomato sauce, sauerkraut, pickles, horseradish, green beans…I am sure there was other stuff too, but it was so traumatic I think I have blocked it out. 😂 Other kids were riding their bikes and swimming, my brother and I were trying not to get killed using a pressure cooker to seal the jars.
Fast forward 20 years. My kids were little and I had this great idea to put a vegetable garden in at our house to teach them about where food comes from and about child labor. 👧🏼👦🏻 I didn’t want a garden nearly as large as what my parents had, but I didn’t want something I would have to redo the following year if there wasn’t enough space…What if my husband and kids decided they REALLY loved vegetables?! I had Dave till up a 20×40 plot of our yard and fence it in. We added mushroom compost and screened top soil to it and we were ready to go.
That summer we had so many tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini, I didn’t know what to do with them. I certainly wasn’t canning, no way Jose! 😂 So we passed it out among neighbors and coworkers. Every year we grew less and less, because my dream of actually using the vegetables in meals, was shattered time and time again when my family revolted when I added tomatoes, peppers or zucchini to their meals. I didn’t want to spend all of my time maintaining a garden for me to be the only one eating it. I could go to the supermarket and buy the small amount I needed and it would be a lot less work and money.
The fence was taken down about 10 years after it was put up and grass was planted. I started growing tomatoes and jalapeno peppers on our deck in pots. It was enough, but I missed getting my hands in the dirt. I missed eating green beans off of the plants while I was picking them.
Fast forward a couple of years, we moved into our new house and there is a small raised garden bed that the previous owner had built. It is perfect. I can plant my herbs, a couple of tomatoes and a few other things that I enjoy eating, regardless of whether or not anyone else does. It isn’t overwhelming or time consuming. I water it first thing in the morning, and I only need to weed it every few weeks. The rabbits love it too. 🐇😂
I am thankful my parents taught me how to garden and I know my kids will be thankful one day too. 🤞 Starting a garden for the first time takes a lot of preparation and planning. There is a plethora of information online and I suggest you do your research before digging in. You may need to add soil amendments, a fence, and always call before you dig call811.com if you are unsure of what power or water lines are buried in your yard. All of your hard work will pay off in just a few months and you may just inspire your neighbors to add a garden too.
– Amanda Ashbee 🐝