Look at it, just look at it. What a disaster but it's my disaster and I love it!
Here's the story... When I moved into my house about 6 years ago I decided I would TRY to grow a few plants in containers on the deck. I, by no means, have a green thumb. Actually the opposite is true. In the past I think I've killed every houseplant I ever attempted to grow.
I didn't care, I really wanted to take my hand at some home grown vegetables. I just thought it would be really neat to grow some of my own fresh food.
So I invested in 5 large plastic pots for the deck and a few bags of soil. I bought some seedlings from a local farm stand and I was shocked the first year when I plucked tomatoes and zucchini from my own deck garden.
Over the next few years I continued to container garden. Not really knowing what I was doing I'd experimented each year with different vegetables and different techniques. Sometimes I'd buy seedlings sometimes seeds. I learned that large plants in containers need a lot of water and you can nurse a dry plant back to health. I also learned that with a little attention and care it really wasn't that hard.
This year I decided to take the leap and carve out a corner of my yard for a mini garden. It was a lot of work but I tilled the soil by hand, fenced it off with a little border and planted all different seedlings to see what would actually grow in my Maryland clay.
To my surprise everything grew and grew fast! Before I knew it the plants were so big I couldn't get into the garden anymore. My melons vined outside of the garden and under the deck. My tomato plants grew so large I couldn't tie them to the stakes anymore and my Zucchini plants literally took over the garden with their enormous leaves.
I'm sure if I knew what I was doing I'd have a more fruitful (and better looking) garden but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Look at the fruits of my labor from just today!
Even if this is all I get out of this year (which it's not I've been plucking zucchini and cherry tomatoes for weeks) it was well worth it and here's why....
- Planting and showing the toddler that you can grow a garden has been priceless. His little face lights up with excitement every time he discovers a new fruit to pick.
- Growing our own veggies also gives me more of a chance to teach him how important a good diet is. He routinely pops cherry tomatoes and green beans in while picking, he's wiling to take bites out of zucchinis and he even HAD to try to a hot pepper after I continually warning that it would be hot! For him eating fresh whole foods is second nature and I'm reinforcing that!
- Organic is such a buzzword lately but really, growing your produce is the ultimate organic, healthy option out there. Nothing is more fresh and nutritious then something you plucked from your own plants.
- It keeps me busy. There have been many a Sunday where I just want to veg in front of the TV, then I remember I have a garden! I end up out there (with the toddler) picking weeds and watering. It's a great outlet that really gives you a reason to get off your butt!
- I've gained the confidence to continue to garden and I know that even though my garden isn't perfect it doesn't matter. I'll still get something. Even if it's only a tomato or two. Who cares! It's fun and productive! :~)
So I hope me showing you my disaster of garden inspires those of you who are afraid to take the leap of growing your own vegetables to give it a try. For all the green thumb readers out there, I'm open ears to any gardening advice you'd like to give!