Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brown Thumb Gardening? What?

Growing things has never been my strong point. (It seems the children are a happy exception!) DH swears that I once had a cactus that was so desperate that it screwed itself into the dirt as it died. Twenty years later, and I am still hearing about it. He talked the kids into buying me a cactus for my birthday a couple of years ago. So now the whole cactus myth is a family joke.

Why a garden now? I subscribed to a CSA (community supported agriculture) for a few years, getting a box of produce every other week. I loved the fresh produce, but discovered that there were only so many things I can do with three or four eggplants every other week for two months. I decided against resubscribing, but it's so disappointing to go to the supermarket and look at the generic produce - cardboard tomatoes, wilted lettuce, starchy corn. And to spend a big chunk of my food budget on that? I also was spoiled by visiting my parents for three weeks this summer. My mom is the original green thumb - the woman can grow anything! I grew up eating all the produce most kids turn their noses up at: asparagus, soybeans (back before it was tagged as edamame), okra. Anyway, three weeks of fresh, homegrown vegetables was enough to convince me that I should try gardening again. Something more than a solitary flowerpot with a scraggly tomato plant, or a store-bought basil plant that baked in the hot sun on my patio a few summers ago.

I spent many hours on the web, learning about growing zones (zone 10 here!), planting seasons (September to May, the opposite of almost everywhere in the country), and ordering seeds. I also read about Square Foot Gardening, scoured the area for vermiculite, convinced DH to build my SFG boxes. Today was the big day. The garden is planted.