A gardening column by a non-gardener

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Each year, my newspaper includes a seasonal gardening section embedded between our pages each week. It’s a pain in the butt. Usually we use articles on lawn and garden topics from other services because none of us are really big into gardening. However, I hate the idea of using content that is not original, so I volunteered to do a sometimes-weekly column on my gardening experiment this year. I’ve never kept a garden so I’m definitely no expert, so this should be a fun read to see how my vegetables turn out.

I’ll be including my columns as they post in the paper. Enjoy and please feel free to comment and include tips.

“Growing a gardener”

I’m not much of do-it-yourself. I admire those handy men and women who are creative enough to craft necessities with their own hands and I often wish that I could do the same; however, my talent comes in the form of written words and the dollars I earn with my talents are typically traded for someone else’s work, particularly food.

I’ve always dreamed of having a garden. Nothing fancy, just a small box of vegetables that I really enjoy, which would save me from the trips and money spent at City Market. As an added bonus, I would get to know where exactly it is my food is coming from, rather than questioning the contents of a bag of pre-made salad marked down at the “Manager’s Special.”

While this has always been a fantasy, I’ve never been proactive enough to make it a reality. I have pages scattered somewhere in my house detailing my dream garden and unopened packages of seeds that would never see soil. To be honest, I think the idea of raising and caring for a little seedling scared me, making me turn heel and ditching all efforts… it’s probably a good thing I’m not a parent yet.

But this year I’ve vowed to abandon my fears and paint my thumb green. Besides, if I’ve managed to keep my dog alive for seven years, surely I can keep a plant alive for at least a season. With the help of my partner, the checkout ladies at Murdoch’s and a lengthy Google search, I took the leap into the world of gardening last weekend.

IMGP5574The man-friend and I decided we would use heirloom seeds in the garden, so we took a trip to Murdoch’s to browse their selection (and look at the cute little chicks that had finally arrived). Because I’m indecisive by nature, I spent about an hour staring at the single column of heirloom seed packages they had available. I love vegetables and would like to have everything I eat in my backyard, but I also try to be a responsible decision-maker and knew that it would be best if I only committed to a few seeds for now.

Here was my selection: tomatoes, beans, zucchini, spinach, peppers, squash, lettuce, cantaloupe and three variations of pumpkins (we’re big on carving and decorating in the fall). I also purchased a few potting trays and some soil so I would have no excuse to let these seeds join their friends in the box of doom.

Because I’m a newbie, I didn’t research planting times or when the last frost is or anything like that — therefore, most of the seeds I purchased were not quite ready to begin their journey of life (according to the recommended timelines on the packages). However, because I also had so many seeds that never saw the light of day, I was able to accumulate a collection that I could start indoors now, which included: beef steak tomatoes, jalapeños, Abe Lincoln tomatoes, cauliflower, serrano peppers, bell peppers, broccoli and moonflower (just because I thought it would look pretty).

I was both nervous and excited as I pressed the tiny seedlings into their flooded dirt blankets. I even said a little prayer that our journey together would be fun and rewarding.

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