A Bounty from our Garden

OK, well not exactly a bounty.  But the experience of seeing this:

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become this:

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and then become part of this:

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was all pretty exciting to a brand new gardener like me. (That’s a red quinoa salad and the featured herb is cilantro).

Truth is, I never really tried to grow anything before, probably because my track record with even the most sturdy potted plant was abysmal.  I have failed to keep even small cactus plants and succulents going and that’s saying something considering how little attention they need to survive!

David and I had talked a bit about wanting to try our hand at organic gardening and after I was away for a weekend in January I returned home to this:

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David actually built this greenhouse complete with misters and solar powered fan!  Yup, he’s that kind of guy 🙂  After that he added this raised bed.

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Tucson has all kinds of gardening help in the community and we attended a free “getting started” class at the community garden and food bank. We gleaned what we could from them and escaped before the class moved into the dreaded “group work” phase.  So, we purchased our organic soil, organic compost, organic seeds and got busy planting.  We also bought a compost receptacle to start making our own.

There has been a ton of trial and error.  We initially started seeds in the greenhouse- tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil and dill- and planted arugula, kale, green onions, radishes, cilantro and carrots in the raised bed.  After the critters helped themselves to our first round of seedlings in the raised bed we put up a fence and also replanted most things in the greenhouse.  As the weather warmed up we started having some success and last night’s dinner also included this home-grown salad:

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This a mix of kale, uber-peppery arugula (pulled that too late), tiny little carrots (pulled those too soon), and bits of green onion that really resembled chives because they never really took off.

We are waiting on some zucchini, pole beans, tomatoes and basil and have planted some more pots of lettuces, carrots and radishes.  As the weather gets hotter I’m not sure how successful this round will be.  Apparently, the fall is the best growing season in Tucson and hopefully as we learn more about tending the soil and the plants we’ll see better and better results.

This process has been a fascinating one for me so far.  The truth is that there is a simple (ish) science to gardening–after all people have always grown their own food.  To me however, this simple and natural process has always seemed more like magic, and I was delighted and more than a little bit surprised when seedlings first peeked out of our soil.   I admit to having fussed and fretted over these plants visiting the garden multiple times each day- my need to nurture something (if we consider fussing and fretting nurturing) running the show. As I am reminded over and over, all we can do is provide the support and the ingredients to encourage growth.  The rest will happen as it’s meant to, right on “schedule”.

 

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