Friday, February 17, 2012

Why do I garden?

I've talked about gardening several times here, and if I wasn't so lazy, I'd link to all the posts, but I won't.  But I've gardened every year since I started this blog, although that first year, it was just a very small area (like 2' x 3' space) here at the house. 

I've also mentioned that when I grew up, my parents gardened.  From the time I was 11 until I left home, my parents had a HUGE garden.  It was almost a 1/2 acre, and it also included about 8 fruit trees. I didn't love working in the garden back then.  It was something that we did because we were asked to do it.  I don't remember ever just wandering out there to weed or even just to grab a handful of raspberries.

So when I thought about gardening, I thought about that big garden, and I didn't want to do that.  And then, for some reason, I don't remember, Mr. Simple cleared that little patch in 2007 or 2008 and I grew a few things.  Mostly herbs.  And they all grew.  Like magic.

And the next year, my sister asked me to garden with her at a plot - it was 15 feet by 20 feet.  And we planted.  And things grew. Like magic.  (Well, besides the peas.  For some reason, I never had good luck with peas at the garden plot.)  And I grew things at the plot the next year too, and that year, it ended up that I had the whole garden plot to myself.  And things grew. But so did the weeds and it was all on me.  It was great to have all that space, but it was a lot of work too. 

So last year, I did square foot gardening here at the house. And things grew. Like magic.  And there were almost NO weeds.  And it was close.  And I was able to grow as much food as I did at the plot (well, not as many tomato plants, but I was able to watch the tomatoes better, so I ended up with almost as many tomatoes anyway.)

I don't have that much space dedicated to gardening at my house, but what I do have is very productive.  I do spend quite a bit of time dedicated to gardening at the beginning of the gardening season - picking the seeds, preparing the soil, building any new beds, etc. But the thing that I love about square foot gardening is that from that point on, the time I spend in the garden is sort of up to me.  I certainly don't need to dedicate an hour a week to weeding.  And I can harvest the minute that things are ready and I get food in more manageable batches that way.  And I can just sit outside and watch the butterflies and bees and the birds flying around.  I can sit in the sun and enjoy just being outside.  I can take the food and freeze it for days like this in February where there is no fresh produce available, but I can cook up a batch of green beans from the garden from last July.  I can take the herbs inside, and dry them so that I can add them to my (homemade) tomato sauce for the spaghetti tonight. 

And sometimes, on a bright June morning, I'll go outside just to grab a handful of strawberries too.

Love that.

And so that's why I garden. 

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