Winter, 2017

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul." - Alfred Austin

I believe we are all made for gardening, in one way or another. Maybe we aren't all supposed to commune with radishes and mesclun, or be nerdy about ground cover and soil fortification, but we all have some share in caring for the garden we're in. In supporting and nurturing the places we live in and all that lives with and around us.

This idea of continuing to honor that first commission man was given, in tending the garden, first came alive for me several years ago. I've always liked the idea of a garden in a distant "oh how nice for you" kind of way. But the idea of my gardening sparked several years ago, after I watched a documentary called Back to Eden . The urge has grown in force ever since. It's one of the things I've most looked forward to when we think about the land. More recently, with our diets having become at once more limited and more abundant, as we've identified our health needs, a garden seems more obvious and necessary than ever.

The Problem is that I have zero experience.

I know I loved working on a landscape crew. I loved the day I spent doing (heavily supervised) gardening in Romania. I love buying flowers and starts (that I then have no idea what to do with). I once tried to have a garden. The rabbits loved me, and that was about all. I have a Garden & Farm pinterest board where I pin articles about soil pH, compost and raised beds. But none of that really counts in the whole knowing = growing equation.

Where we live now isn't completely ideal. There's not an abundance of space that gets full sun because of our wonderful trees. Despite it all, I think it's time to start learning with what I do have. Rather, I need to get some of my failing out of the way so that when we finally get to land, I don't have to spend several years as a total noob. It will still take time to establish our garden there, but I might as well have some idea what I'm doing, at least with the foods we use most.

Thus, it came to be that I decided to go all in on having a garden this year. Research and study, picking plants, doing (some) starts from seed, raised beds, even preserving the harvest and seed saving where I can. This year a garden gets to be priority. Much to my delight, my darling friend Kelsey, who happens to have the most extraordinary green thumb, has decided to garden along with me. Honestly, what this woman does on an apartment patio blows my mind. It's the most verdant, beautiful thing. So, I'm very excited to garden with her. 

We had our first garden planning day yesterday. Of course, it only seemed fitting to begin over brunch at The Garden Table.

The food was good and company even better. We did some good, old fashioned tending of our proverbial friendship garden, catching up on more than a week of life, and slowing down a little.

In keeping with our theme, we then moved to Locally Grown Gardens, where we spread out in their dining room, shared some tea and sugar cream pie, cracked seed catalogs and got down to business. For someone like me, whose inexperience is vast, the seed catalogs can be a little overwhelming, but so much fun. We decided to go with Botanical Interest and Urban Farmer for seeds this year. They're both non-GMO with good organic options and a good selection of standards plus enough interesting varietals to make it fun. Urban Farmer is actually local and very reasonable, so I was excited to get to visit their store in Westfield.

Our last stop was at Agrarian

I'm going to track it here, as I go - my own little journal to refer to for next year.  In an upcoming post I'll share our list of plants, progress and more, so watch out for that.