Thursday, June 10, 2010

How I grew to love gardening

If you would have told me in my teens I would be a gardener with 2 kids living in Portland, OR I would have thought you were nuts. Yet here I am. Why did I have kids? My husband was born to be a dad and well, I adapted to being a mom. What it really did though was made me want to be more educated about the effects of the world around us….and our effects on it.

I was a SUPER picky eater as a kid, and I grew up in a microwave generation that was all about making life easier. Somewhere along the way domestic became a bad word and I had big dreams of climbing a corporate ladder so what did I need to cook for – after all, I had a microwave. But slowly, after having kids (and some before), I started to recognize that convenience wasn’t good, diet food didn’t help you lose weight, real food did in fact actually taste better when cooked correctly or eaten in season. I realized that as two working parents we needed some real traditions around eating and that it couldn’t always be in restaurants.

So the first year I got a CSA box and split it with some friends. What was Kale? How did you use fennel? How much salad could two people eat? It was overwhelming but it made me crack the books and join discussion groups and learn how to cook (well, honestly my husband is still much better at this). Year two, we started a garden. I had never gardened in my life and in fact couldn’t even keep house plants alive. But I was amazed at how much MORE you could get from well for....less. Year 3 I gardened pregnant and expanded our beds and here we are in year 4 of changing our diets and eating habits and yes BUDGET, and the garden was started last weekend.

It won’t be enough to live on for the winter or anything but it is good wholesome food that our kids will see grow, be picked, and eat (ok at least try). I’m here to tell you that you can do this too! There are a million resources out there to get you started but the farmer’s almanac online is a great place to start to see what to plant when in your area. Then a local seed company can help you with what variety grows well and what is harder to care for than others. Even when we both worked it was pretty easy to tend and maybe we could have done better but we certainly got a lot to eat and have had several summer bbq’s with nothing but the food we have grown and bread we have baked, etc. I had no idea how rewarding this would feel, how important this would be for my family, and how much it would change my life.


  1. Yae! Thank you for posting this. I moved from Arizona a few months ago. I have gardened a little bit in the Arizona heat with herbs and some veggies (tomatoes, chili peppers, cucumbers), and citrus.
    I am excited to be in Oregon now and am amazed at the fertile land here. I'm looking forward to gardening here in Oregon to provide fresh foods for my family. However, I don't know much about the soil here, the pests (ugh, I recently discovered slugs!), and the types of foods one can grow here (although it appears to be just about anything!).
    On Friday, I chaperoned a field trip to Luscher Farms with my son's first grade class. I think I asked more questions than any of the children. I learned what a CSA was!! Amazing that we don't really have something like that in Phoenix. Anyway, I found out there are classes with the Oregon Tilthe. They look great but are a little spendy for me. I was just about to do some research on-line about gardening in Oregon when I stopped by your blog and read this post. I am going to check out the Farmer's Almanac and local seed stores.
    Congratulations on your bountiful bbq's and the joy you gain from your garden and family.

  2. slugs are tough and lots of people can give you tips to deal with them... I don't have much of a problem with them - we have moles and they eat everything and leave bumps all over my lawn :(

    Not sure what area you are in but places like Zenger farms have classes and well truthfully it is all about trail and error. Plant something one year - see what happens - try something different the next, etc. The garden centers at local places are also great for tips.

    Go to the farmers markets and just about everything you see there you could grow yourself - well, eventually!