Finally, after several weekends and a few evenings of working on it, we got all the remnants of our shed removed from our back yard, got the ground worked up, and got seeds planted. We planted things late — it was the last day of June before we got anything into the ground. I wasn’t sure how well things would grow since summer is already in full swing.
But just a week later, we had sprouts! Now, just two weeks after those little seeds went into the dirt, we have some serious plants. I’m so excited.
I’m excited because this will save on our grocery bill. Of course I can’t know how much grocery money we will save, and we’re not growing any of the real staples of American cuisine (such as potatoes or corn or beans), but we’ve got three hills of butternut squash, which we love to eat in a sweet, spicy, creamy soup in the fall and winter. And we’ve got a whole row of pumpkins, which we can use in similar soups, and make into pies, and stew and freeze for use all winter and into the spring. We have a lot of cucumber plants. And while I like cucumbers, I’m not sure I can eat that many of them. Maybe we can make them into pickles… although I’m not a huge fan of pickles. Chef likes them, though. But did we get the right kind of cucumbers for pickles? I don’t know, and I’ll have to do some research. We’ve also got a row of watermelons. Again, while I really like watermelon, it will be interesting to see how many watermelon we’ll get and how many we’ll be able to eat. (Anyone got any great watermelon recipes? I’m wondering about putting the fruit into the blender, straining out the seeds, and freezing it for use in… well, I don’t have that part figured out yet. Smoothies, maybe?) Last, we planted two rows of lettuce. From everything we heard and read, it was totally the wrong time to plant lettuce; you’re supposed to plant it in either early spring or late summer. So we’ve got some lettuce poking up, but not much. We have saved back some seeds to plant another batch at the end of this month or the middle of next.
In my mind, I call our little plot “The Garden of Contentment.” I like our home and where we live, but for a number of years I’ve been frustrated with our small yard and inability to grow our own vegetables. But this tiny square of dirt, out of which are poking pretty little plants, eases my frustration. Although for years I’ve had dreams of a smaller house with more acreage, this garden is creating contentment in my heart. The yard might not be as big as I’d like, but we can have a garden. And for some reason, that is making all the difference.
I love my small town. I love that I can get around almost entirely by foot or bicycle, and I love that I can watch the July 4 fireworks from my driveway. The lack of a garden was a sticking point, and now it’s no longer stuck. I’m no longer yearning for a different place to live. I’m really, truly happy with where we live.