As a child and teenager, my parents often had a garden, but using a combination of whining and allergies - I never really had to participate in yard work.
Sometimes, I'd weed. But even then, our garden was really only a "salsa garden" (although, I'm not totally positive that's true. Again, I did very little in the garden) - but we had tomatos, peppers, herbs. Not much else.
Since my adulthood, I've lived in dorms, teeny apartments, yardless houses, and did I mention that I have two-year old twins?
We never lived anywhere long enough to plant roots (or any plants, for that matter.) And when we did... I had two newborns to take care of.
But now that my children are practically raised, and we have a sunny backyard and a downstairs neighbor with a planter box and half-a-dozen herbs from last summer... I'm ready. I'm doing it.
I am totally, head-over-heels in love with the idea of gardening.
Growing my own food? Check. Sounds amazing.
Understanding and relating to my environment and the seasons? Yes, please. SO Little House.
Staying close to the soil? I have it on good authority that it's good for the soul. *
I think having a garden might be a bit like being pregnant. Growing and tending something small and helpless, nourishing it and loving it. Sometimes, it's hard work, and sometimes it's just lying in sunshine reading aloud to yourself. And seasons come and things change slowly, until one day everything looks totally different than it did before. And a little while after that, you have something perfect and beautiful, that you can look at and say, "I made this. I grew it."
Growing things seems so very wholesome, be they babies or bell peppers.
And it's spring. And even though I've been flipping through seed catalogs and rereading all my hoarded copies of March and April Martha Stewart Living, it turns out: I have no idea what I'm doing.
And I would love any tips that you have for first time gardeners. And, I have some ridiculous questions that I could easily Google, but would apparently rather share - so you can all understand just how garden-clueless I am.
QUESTIONS WHICH YOU SHOULD ANSWER IN YOUR COMMENTS:
With root-vegetables, like carrots and potatoes: Do you get exactly as many veggies as seeds you plant? Like, if I plant 16 carrot seeds, am I only going to get 16 carrots? Because that's what it seems like, but we LOVE carrots here. 16 carrots is not enough to provide for my family.
And is that the same with all root veggies? Beets, garlic, etc? It just doesn't seem like root-plants yield enough! We go through 2-3 heads of garlic a week, and 4-5 potatoes at one meal!
Do we need all new dirt? Our downstairs neighbors have a planter box from last year, and are planning on replacing most of the
Okay, how does broccoli work? I understand that if I plant lettuce or celery or something, I can just pull off a bit and let it keep growing (or wait... do I have to replant spinach every time I want a whole head?) but we eat a whole head of broccoli at a time. Do I plant and grow broccoli (and other plants like it) and tend it for weeks (or months?) and only get to eat broccoli once all summer?
Also, clearly I don't know: how long do plants take to be ready to eat? I know a vine fruit like tomatoes or peppers could produce all summer, but lots of other things seem like a one-time deal. Do we have to wait until September and then suddenly, all we can eat the rest of the month is beets and potatoes?
Seriously, people. Help your garden-variety idiot.
And lastly, I read this beautiful quote recently, and then spent about an hour searching the internet to verify that it's a real quote. And it totally is.
"Where you have a plot of land, however small, plant a garden. Staying close to the soil is good for the soul."
Spencer W. Kimball (prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) So that's official, people. The prophet said to plant a garden, so that's what we'll do.