Testing the Soil

This is my first year with a rather large garden all to myself.

I went from 6 pots to a 4×12 plot in a community garden.  I was trying to go all organic from soil to plant, but the soil I was given is tilled every year from one gardener to the next so I only knew what I put in.  I actually had a lovely surprise zucchini patch pop up within the first few weeks due to seeds left in the soil.

I am not exactly sure what I am getting myself into and as the plot fills with more and more green leaves every day, I worry that I will be over run with vegetables come July.  I am currently trying to grow yellow submarine and tasty jade cucumbers, Brandywine, Sun Gold, and Black from Tula tomatoes, green beans, Romaine, spinach, kale, mustards, sweet peppers, jalapenos, okra, eggplant, and herbs. Oh and I can’t forget my rouge zucchini!  I have had some troubles with my spinach going to seed too quickly and some pea plants dying off rather early, but other than that everyone seems to be growing at their own pace.

I have learned that mulch might be worth the investment as my back can attest to all of the weeding early on in the growing process.  I have also learned that critters like baby Sun Gold tomatoes more than any other plants.  Thankfully that is my only problem with pests to date, which is fortunate because I am not sure what kind of pesticide I can use while staying true to growing organic.

So far the harvest has been a lot of Romaine lettuce, kale, and a few green beans.

I think growing your own food not only gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment, but it also opens your eyes to how much time and work goes into growing the food that feeds America.  We seek perfection in the food that we purchase at the grocery store, but when I am picking the kale that I grew, I do not care if it has a few holes, tears or small imperfections.  I think it is very easy to forget what a plant goes through from seed to plate, and I am happy that garden has taught me to enjoy my meals even more and appreciate the efforts put forth to fill my belly.

Bring on the tomatoes and peppers in July!

Heather works in the Jessup store.

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