Mary, Mary Quite Contrary – How Does Your Garden Grow?

2015-04-19 18.21.26 useEvery year at this time I ponder the possibility of beginning my own small garden. I love the idea of growing my own food. And, I marvel at the people who are such prolific gardeners that their canned and preserved harvests from last growing season are just running out. (I’m looking at you, Sandy!)

Once upon a time, I started a small garden in my backyard in Kansas. I was so very energetic about the whole thing. Oh to be self-sufficient! I was probably a bit too smug about the whole idea. I chose the crops that I wanted to plant, worked the soil, and tended the weeds (this was problem #1, as I didn’t know which were weeds and which were the plants I was trying to grow).

The sugar snap peas started growing and I checked on them every day until one day there was a pod! I brought my son out and we happily picked that pod and I watched with delight as his eyes grew wide with the first crunch of that pod. Shortly after this idyllic scene, the tree that partially shaded my garden plot leafed out and that part of the garden died a slow death (lesson learned!).

I focused on the other side of the plot where my strawberries looked wonderful. We checked the plants and noted that within a day or two several of the fruit would be ready for picking. Alas, when we went back out to pick those strawberries, we had been preceded by the slugs who left us nothing. In case all of this wasn’t enough defeat, the chiggers (be very glad these bugs are not in NH!) arrived and I was good and well done with gardening. Forever.

I have dabbled with a raised bed here and there since that traumatic experience. I even had some minor success with Sun Gold tomatoes since arriving in NH, but I haven’t done anything much at all — though I do love the idea of growing my own food. It’s particularly disturbing to me when I listen to others exclaim the simplicity of growing a garden when the success of any measurable harvest seems to elude me. But, I am going to try again. This time I’ve enlisted some help, so I am feeling optimistically apprehensive.

First, as the Outreach & Education Coordinator I have the good fortune of planning the Monadnock Food Co-op’s community education series. I reckoned that perhaps I was not the only one who felt like a complete gardening failure and thus enlisted Celeste Longacre to offer a gardening workshop. I’m excited about this SOLD OUT event, which will be held on April 14 from 6:30 – 8pm. Registration for this workshop has been steady, so I’m beginning to believe that I may not be the only one who needs assistance in this area!

In addition to the workshop, I was recently approached by a friend who actually knows how to do this whole food growing thing. You see, she’s lived outside of town but is moving into “the city” and won’t have gardening space, so she wondered if we might partner on the space that I have to garden! Uh, YES! Nothing crazy — perhaps just a few raised beds. But, I’m feeling excited and empowered to try this again. To grow just a little bit of my own food would feel like such an accomplishment, and hopefully will provide enough motivation to continue even without the supports that I have in place for this attempt.

I am feeling a bit giddy as I make a date with my friend, Megan, to plan the raised beds. So, I ask you, what would it take for you to give it a try?