As a girl, my parents taught me how to grow my own- how to plant and tend rows, then harvest summer bounty. They taught me how to freeze, can, and preserve the excess for enjoyment throughout the year.
As my own family grew, my mom dug upher own strawberry and raspberry shoots and brought them to my new homes. She split her rhubarb and shared a bounty of other flowers, ground cover, and grasses.
Tim and I learned early to be creative with our spaces and once turned most of a small side lot into garden space. We even tacked chicken wire to the front of our siding and grew peas right up the front of the house. When that didn't produce to our expectations, we used the existing chain link fence around our yard and planted the peas right in amongst the flowers.
Along the way, the kids have been with us- helping in their own way- learning as I once did.
We gardened for enjoyment and for purpose. We gardened for sustainability.
Last year, our house was under construction and while we were able to harvest and enjoy our berries from a distance, there was no planting. No tending.
My hands practically ached to dig in the dirt.
My mouth watered for real produce.
Already, this year is different. We researched, built, painted & planted our own square foot garden.
Twenty square feet of peppers, herbs, squash, carrots, beans, peas, watermelon, and broccoli.
Pots with tomatoes, peppers, and more herbs, lining our deck.
We have learned a lot through this new-to-me kind of gardening. For one thing, with six of us, it is more like growing broccoli, peas, & beans for a week than saving much for later. There is also a creative control in rotating crops in and back out again- growing as much as possible in a confined space (and in our case limited direct sun).
It is also less labor intense, even bordering on unsatisfying at times. Twenty four square feet of drained-mulched-composted-organic soil really doesn't need much help growing good food. Every day I go check on my garden and find that it needs little from me.
It isn't my first choice method, but in this time and in this space- in this season of life- I am learning and appreciating the new.