Let me preface this post with this statement: I know nothing about gardening. Like really, not a thing. I attribute my ability to keep plants alive this year to the fact that I read the little tag thingy that came with each particular plant and told me when to plant and how much water they needed.
The rest y’all? Dumb luck.
Let’s backtrack a tad though, shall we? When I was a kid I vowed that I would never ever have a garden. This all stems (HA GET IT? – STEMS?! anyway…) from the fact that my mother enjoyed gardening and we were always required to go out and help her with it. And see, it’s not that we (I) didn’t like being out there with her, but I just so wanted to delve into yet another Babysitters Club book or watch TV instead.
I also remember a few choice times that gardening became month-long outdoor projects in which I, being the older of two sisters, worked my arms and fingers to the bone while my sweet younger sister would go inside and “make lemonade” for us. Translation: Salah went inside and watched TV while the rest of us labored in the hot sun to dig out cedar bushes of death or hand-build a fence.
No, I’m not still bitter…why do you ask?
And yet here I am today, dreaming and scheming about a real-life in-ground garden and hoping I can get some help from my garden-savvy friends here in Arkansas. How did I go from die-hard garden-hater to that girl who obsessively measures her tomatoes daily to see how they’ve grown?
Really the biggest change has been the realization that 1) we want and need to eat more vegetables, 2) we want and need to eat locally more often, 3) it’s cheaper to grow our own food in order to achieve #1 and #2. PLUS it’s kind of fun, as it turns out, to nurture something from teeny plant to full-grown delicious food provider. Who knew?
This year I’ve planted zucchini, Arkansas Traveler heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, thyme, rosemary and fresh mint. We also have two aloe plants that I’ve bravely brought back from the brink of certain death many times. All of these guys are growing in containers on our patio, which I both love because it’s gorgeous but also don’t love because of the bees earlier in the season. I’ve seen My Girl. That’s all.
It’s become this really fun little thing to go out on the patio every morning with Wes and point out the veggies we’re growing and see how they change daily. I get excited – like to the point of downright bragging to people who absolutely do NOT care – when the tomatoes start to change colors. When I saw a female zucchini flower start to grow the other day and turn into an actual zucchini my heart goes all aflutter. And the bell peppers are the cutest little guys when the flower falls off and they start bubbling out.
I kind of get why my mom had such a beautiful garen all those years now!
So that being said I had my very first “harvest” yesterday and I think it just fed this gardening love even more – one tomato (which I will be eating with lunch tomorrow) and a handful of basil. I made some basil-infused simple syrup that will shared soon and I can hardly handle the goodness there. Y’all will love it. And with all the rain we’ve been having lately my Travelers are almost up to 5 feet tall and bearing the craziest amount of baby tomatoes. I love it.
Hope y’all like tomatoes. And obsessive, albeit clueless, gardening 🙂