Let me start off by saying that I do not have a green thumb. I kill house plants. Really, what is the point? A plant growing indoors? The only plants we have left are kept alive by my husband who waters them when he remembers. At one time, when we first got married, I bought a bunch of plants. I watered them and gave them fertilizer, sniped the bad leaves, etc. but I couldn’t keep them alive.

I come from a long line of gardeners. My parents had one at the back of the yard for years. I actually hated that garden. It was our job to weed it and I remember being asked to get off of a comfortable couch and go out on a 90 degree afternoon to pick lettuce for dinner. My grandparents had a city lot in Chicago and grew some amazing veggies and flowers in their tiny garden. Part of my visit with them included strolling around their yard admiring the things they were growing. (I didn’t have to weed those plants!)

I started my garden about 6 years ago. I still don’t have a green thumb, but it does a lot better than the house plants. First of all, it is outside, where God intended plants to live. He provides rain and sunshine and I only have to supplement with watering (although not too much this year). My garden is small by most standards. It is made up of two areas fenced off on the side of the house. One is 10 x 3 and the other is 15 x 3.

I have tried to grow many different veggies and some fruits in my garden. My neighbor shared some of her raspberry plants with me. Hers grow on the same side of the house and they have done great. She gets buckets full of raspberries. I got a handful in 4 years of growth. Blueberries and strawberries did equally as well. Watermelon takes up too much space. We got quite a few baby watermelons, but as the kids picked them up to show their friends, they busted them off the vine. When we finally got a good sized one, about 6 inches, my daughter proudly carried it into the house. On the way up the deck stairs, the dog raced past her, causing her to drop it. It was mashed beyond consumption.

Veggies have done better, but still not great. Most years I have a large crop of tomatoes, both cherry and Big Boy varieties. I have also had more cucumbers than I know what to do with. The other veggies have not been as successful. I have tried cauliflower and broccoli. They didn’t get as big as you find them in the store, so I left them on the plant until they rotted, thinking they were still growing. My green peppers never get bigger than a plum tomato. I guess I need more room to grow green beans because the few plants I had didn’t produce enough beans for a meal. I tried carrot, lettuce and green onion seeds, but I don’t have enough patience for them. My zucchini did great the first year, but last season’s rain and cool weather did not produce much. The herbs I grow are doing better in pots than they did in the soil.

I feel a sense of accomplishment when at least part of my garden has a successful year. I am not trying to win a prize at the State Fair or save money on groceries. Yes, I put a lot of money into it, but I just enjoy the fact that I built something from nothing and made something that I am proud of. I keep trying different things to see what works. I have good years and bad years. I guess it is a lot like being a mom.

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