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Pick your own salad in my backyard! I hope…

Pick your own salad in my backyard! I hope…

Food

Two years ago I finally planted my suburban garden – or three pots of tomatoes and a few herbs anyway. That year’s “bumper crop” consisted of a few tomatoes that never tasted good and what felt like maybe 25 cherry tomatoes. Okay, some basil and mint too. Readers of my column know I’d been trying to get myself into gardening forever. Once I had my own backyard (and not a dark balcony), I really had no excuse. Except a total lack of knowledge and confidence…

Last year I just never got around to it. Probably because my mom wasn’t here at planting time. This year…not only was she here, she bought us raised beds, set them up and put the dirt in. Oh and bought seeds and planted lettuce, baby watermelon, baby pumpkin, french radishes (whatever that means…), pea pods, and something else. So much I’ve already lost track…

Then I went to a neighbor’s plant sale and bought more plants! A kid in the neighborhood grew a bunch of items from seed and then sold them. 10% going to tzedekah of course. So cute! Anyway, for $12 I bought 2 cucumber, 2 bell pepper, 1 basil, 1 oregano, 2 cherry tomatoes, and that’s all I can remember. The only thing I’m missing is mint. And maybe some Kale? I think I”m going to need some more pots…

Now I’m trying to remember to water everything every day, take the pots in every night since it isn’t so warm out at night yet. I’ll have to buy more soil to plant the seedlings (is that what they are?) in the pots. And now I find out I’m already supposed to “thin the radishes.” Oy. Good thing my neighbor’s dad is a proper English gardener and he’s in for two months. My mom planted, stapled the seed packets to graph paper and wrote all the instructions. But then she left!

I’m so relieved to have a couple neighborhood sources of support. My problem is that I always forget to even look at the plants. Fortunately, the garden really belongs to Avital. She helped pick the plants and is very invested. So we know to check things every day after school and that helps keep me in line. She’s really developing a sense of responsibility from this experience. In my dreams she’ll also develop the same love of fruits and vegetables that I got eating fresh food from my grandma’s big garden.

Also, in my dreams, I’ll grow enough some day to can and preserve the foods to enjoy all year round. Just like my grandma and my mother’s neighbor I interviewed for my Annual Dispatch from the Country in 2011.

About the author

I make fruits and vegetables come alive for kids and families; You can build a foundation of lifelong healthy habits and attitudes through my Fruit Funshops, Mama's Nights Out, Blog, and Books: The Healthy Mama’s Guide to feeding your family well – Simply and Sanely and its companion cookbook.