Today my mom and I completed the first phase of our organic vegetable garden. From a mound of soil, rocks and compost, we tilled the soil and formed a series of rows for our tomatoes, zucchini, snow peas, herbs, watermelon and other veggies. It was exciting to actually get our seedlings planted in the garden after a month of keeping them in biodegradable peat pots. I will have to confess, though, that we had to cheat for some of our vegetables because many of the seeds, especially the squash, did not take. So, we had to march over to the Garden Factory and get some potted vegetables. At least we tried!
Here is a picture from today, just hours ago.
Right now it looks like a pile of dirt with little green leaves everywhere, but it is amazing how quickly the plants grow in a matter of just a few weeks.
I find it extremely rewarding to start with these little seeds and watch them grow into mature vegetables. I feel that I have earned my food, and even better, I know where it came from. Getting dirty and hot in the springtime sun is worth it when we see the final results of our efforts. Last year our tomato crop yielded well over 200! We had too many so we had to give out tomatoes to our neighbors so they would not go to waste! Even some unexpected guests (we have a woodchuck named Larry and a raccoon in our backyard) came over and grabbed some zucchini and squash.
What I really love about organic gardening is the use of our very own compost. None of our vegetable waste ends up in a bin on the side of the road; rather, we put the nutrient-rich waste in our garden. I have noticed also that composting reduces my family's weekly waste output. Our veggies end up in our garden, not in landfills!
From small seedlings to a savory salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, organic gardening is rewarding. I just cannot describe the feeling of walking in my own backyard and picking out my own tomatoes that I planted. Whether you plant a behemoth of a vegetable garden or just have some potted tomato plants, you can still enjoy the feeling of knowing where your food comes from. I think it is important to appreciate where our food comes from because, at least for me, you feel connected to your food and think about the impact it has on the environment. Each small step we take can lead us to a healthier environment, and some tasty vegetables!
I thought I would include a picture of last year's vegetable garden:
You can see that the tomatoes took over the garden! This year we extended the area of the garden so the plants have more room to spread.
Go ahead, plant a seed and watch it grow into something edible and amazing!
Photo credit: Katherine Bailey