{GARDENING} Patience & Learning

The majority of the garden. All the way in back are the compost tumbler (blue, on the left) and the compost heap (way in the back, on the right). In front of that sits the pea trellis my husband built. The ground is covered with burlap coffee bean sacks (instead of mulch). To the left is rabbit fencing for our tomatoes and peppers to grow on.

Right now there isn’t a whole lot of excitement in the garden. Since the weather has been a little finicky, I’ve put off direct-planting some seeds (cucumbers and basil mostly), and some of my tiny seed starts just aren’t big enough to transfer yet. I have a feeling that the recent lack of sun is a big contributing factor to their size issues.

One of the many pea plants, climbing up up up!

However, the peas we have planted (in just about ever nook and cranny of the garden), are growing well. My row of radishes and greens (mesclun mix, romaine, and spinach) are growing so fast I swear they double in size over night. Also, the 3 Roma tomato starts I purchased (because I’m foolish and completely forgot to order the seeds when I placed my Johnny’s order) have flowers on them. I recently got some herbs and have added those as well. I was even able to use some of my basil for my food swap item! I made scones using this recipe but I adapted it and used finely diced roasted red peppers instead of sun-dried tomatoes. I can’t wait to make more stuff from my garden for future food swaps (hint hint).

My assorted herbs growing at the front of the garden.

I really enjoy having a garden for several reasons. If you are reading this blog, I’m going to guess you probably already purchase local veg, or at least try to; so I’ll spare you the discussion about how gardening is the ultimate in super-local food. The two reasons I would like to mention though are the gifts of patience and learning that come with gardening.

For someone who has spent most of her life in or near major metropolitan areas, I’m glad when nature forces me to stop and take notice. Growing up I mostly lived in Phoenix where people tend to grow things that don’t require any assistance, like aloe or cacti. My stepdad knows all the varieties of grass seed that can withstand 120-degree summers, but he never taught me anything about growing vegetables.

Pair this with the fact that I don’t have an innate sensibility about what I should be doing when it comes to growing plants, and you can understand why I really need to slow down and make mental notes in my garden.

A cucumber trellis made from my son's old crib rails. I wanted to repurpose them and my husband had the idea to use them this way. Currently there are peas planted at the base. This way we can get double usage from it, since the peas will be done by the time the cukes come in.

This is where the learning part comes into play. If I don’t inspect closely and regularly what is happening with my plants, I could end up making the same mistakes year after year. I’m sure this sounds daunting and time-consuming, but it isn’t at all. I really only spend a few minutes a day in my garden and it’s always enjoyable. Plus you get an up close view of a crazy world of plants and bugs and all sorts of things most people never even realize are there.

It’s nice that my garden is located on the front side of my house, and we happen to live on a well-traveled road. People I know are always driving by and honking (even Christina and Miles one day!), and as the neighbors walk past they always comment with, “It’s looking good,” or “Wow, I wish I had a garden.”

I hope when people see it, and see me out there in my seafoam green overalls, they get inspired to grow something too. It doesn’t have to mean tilling up a yard either; a small raised bed garden or an array of potted vegetables and herbs still allow for many joys and delicious meals. Plus getting dirt under your fingernails, chit chatting with earthworms, and pleading with your seedlings to just hang in there can be pretty swell too.

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Categories: Gardening, recipe

Author:Erika T.

Mom to Jack (lover of Legos) and wife to Chris (Naval nuclear mechanic) who keeps track of her family's DIY adventures at ourDIYlife.com. As a child of an Italian mother, Erika loves food in all its forms. She's also passionate about the fiber arts, sewing, photography, and writing. She can be seen skating with the Albany All Stars Roller Derby League where she proudly sports her "No Farms No Food" sticker on her helmet. Her day jobs include managing several social media accounts & a myriad of things for Kilpatrick Family Farm. Someday she and her family plan to have a sustainable farm of their own.

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19 Comments on “{GARDENING} Patience & Learning”

  1. June 2, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    awesome…….

  2. June 2, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    love the idea of re-using the crib in the garden!!! i also love that your garden is in the front yard so you can see people, and they can see you. good stuff.

  3. June 2, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Thank you both. Yes, it is really fun having it out front. Maybe if I have a bumper crop I can put out a little table and I can sit there and sell veg. That would pretty pretty fun actually.

  4. corrina
    June 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    girl, if you have a bumper crop i will totes help you can that shiz.

  5. June 3, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    The crib rails! Genius! Our garden gets a lot of comments from the sidewalk traffic too – especially when the toddler is “watering”.

  6. B Malone
    June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    THANK YOU so much for the coffee bean sack idea!! I just picked did it my garden. :)

  7. Linda
    August 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    How did you attach the crib rails together at the top? Zip ties?

    • September 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

      Yep, just cheap zip ties, or garden twine.

  8. Nate
    December 16, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Just saw a picture of your repurposed crib rails as I was googling what to do with our old drop side crib. I’m all about that next year! Did you plant the cucumbers directly underneath the rails while the peas were on the outside? What variety of cucumbers did you use? Thanks for sharing.

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