Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Veggie Garden

February 28, 2013
The entrance to my side kitchen garden

By Sheila

I come from a family that loves to garden.  I think it’s really an extension of loving the outdoors and loving to eat.  My Grandma Lola had a garden that I think would feed a small country.  Two of my aunts are Master Gardeners, and so am I.  This is a program sponsored in each state by your land grant college.  It is specific to your area, and provides all kinds of research-based information regarding successful cultivation for where you live.  In my part of Arizona, the only “down-time” for a gardener is really July-September.  This is a mindset that takes some getting used to for all the transplants that put down roots here.
The mesclun mix is our favorite; a seed packet variety of tender greens. Note the drip system; a must in the desert!

My vegetable garden is a fairly small space.  It’s right outside the kitchen door, making it very handy for harvesting.  I planted my winter garden in November, and have been enjoying the freshest lettuce varieties since the middle of December. We have Romaine, Red and Green Leaf, Arugula, and a Mesclun mix of loose-leaf lettuces that provide us a wide variety of salad greens all winter.  In addition I have radishes, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, carrots, peas, green onions and bush beans.  A variety of fresh vegetables providing food and fun for us for months.

Newly planted; a few transplants, lots of seeds, and of course a flower border!
While I am the gardener at our house, my husband likes to harvest the goods, and he is very enthusiastic and appreciative of the bounty.  He has a great partner-in-crime in our almost four year old granddaughter Camryn.  She loves to pick everything, but especially the pretty red radishes.  Her Papa has taught her to look for the red tops breaking through the soil and how to gently pull them out.  Not that she will eat them!  She will feed anything to her little sister Paige, though.  And Paige can make a carrot from the garden last for hours gnawing on it.  We are going to plant strawberries soon, and I hope she’ll like to eat those.  I confess to outright garden bribery when my nephews were little.  My brother was instructed to always call before he came over so that I had time to get to the store to buy strawberries to “plant” among the strawberry plants.  Those boys thought I was the best gardener around and loved to look for new strawberries to eat when they came over.  And so easy to pick!

Last year's spring garden; can't wait to plant the tomatoes!
I didn’t have the time, patience or inclination to garden when I was younger, but I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it now.  I like the tranquility and beauty of a garden.  I like the magic that happens with a handful of seeds thrown in the soil.  Especially the giant hollyhocks and the nasturtiums that I planted from seed once and they continue to produce more plants, year after year.  I like the renewal that starts this time of year, when plants that you thought might be dead from frost, start to show a little bit of green.  And like my friend Bob, I find it very satisfying to prune stragglers back into a better form.  Mostly, I find it very relaxing to wander through the garden with my basket and my clippers, pulling weeds, picking produce and watching the hummingbirds and the butterflies share my little corner of the world.
Camryn requested that we install this scarecrow, "'cuz she's not too scary, Nana"!


  1. Ooh I love this- it's like a secret garden! I love that you can go right out the door and clip a few bits and add to your meal so easily.

    1. It is a secret garden! Tonight we sauteed some Swiss chard and arugala to go with our pasta. So great to have fresh greens.

  2. I love your garden area. I cannot wait to get outside and play in the dirt. With all the snow around here, that is going to be a while. hugs ~lynne ~

    1. Thanks Lynne. Gardening is fun, isn't it? We have the opposite problem - We slow down on outside activities when it gets too hot here - Jul, Aug, Sep, except for pool-time, of course!

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