Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Gardening Obsession

Every few years it seems that I find some new activity to be interested in. Five years ago that was wildflower photography, a few years ago yoga, and last year it was definitely hiking and camping around Portland. This year I have become positively obsessed with vegetable gardening. I might even go as far as to say that I'm addicted to growing vegetables.

I've always had a general interest in growing veggies at home but either never had the space for it, was in a short term rental where I wouldn't see the end of the growing season, and I generally just didn't feel like I knew what I was doing.

So this year I am living in a house where I will still be living all next year and thankfully living with my roommate Reed who has been my gardening mentor. The past few years I've planted a few things from starts that I got at the nursery...lettuce, basil, chard and herbs. This year however, I tried seeding for the first time and had a great time of trying to get things to grow. I'm very happy to say that everything in our garden at the house Reed and I seeded ourselves (with the exception of one cilantro and one thyme plant). We produced so many plants that we've given away multiple plants to 5-6 friends and still have seedlings left over!

It's amazing the difference this has had on me. It's incredibly empowering to grow things from seeds. And its wonderful how connected it makes you feel to the earth, and how much more aware I am about how long it takes to produce food. I've always had an appreciation for farmers, but my appreciation level has gone way way up.

So shall we take a tour of the garden?

We have 3 main areas where we're growing things. First is the deck. On the deck we have in containers tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, a bell pepper and some basil.

I did quite a bit of container gardening as I wasn't sure where I would be living next year. Happily it turns out Matt and I will be living here for another year. My roommate Reed got a prestigious Fulbright scholarship and will be teaching in Mexico for a year. So Matt and I will be staying here to take care of the house and cats. We will be living with the teacher from Mexico that Reed will switch teaching assignments with. Very exciting!

As it turns out my tomatoes in containers are actually doing way better than the tomatoes in the garden. We also have small containers of arugula and mesclun greens.

The second area is a side yard where Reed has put in yellow squash and zucchini. She plants these every year and they always get enormous.

Then in the back of the yard we have two large raised beds. Probably about half of them are filled with tomatoes and the other half has brocolli, beans, snap peas, radishes, lemon cucumbers, spinach, arugula and bell peppers.

The yard in general is looking very beautiful right now. There is an amazingly beautiful bunch of bright orange poppies, roses of all colors and what I think is clematis. Earlier in May we had probably 10 different colors of tulips popping up all over the yard. It really is a treat to be surrounded by so many flowers.

So there is my current obsession in full color. I'll have to update in a month or two and show the progress. It's definitely been a fun project for spring and summer!