This time last year, I finally achieved a long-held goal of creating a beds in our backyard to grow herbs and vegetables. My paternal side of the family has been farming for at least seven generations and I grew up on my grandparent’s cattle farm, so I felt poised for at least modest success.
It didn’t take long after planting for the garden to flourish. Having kept container and windowsill herb gardens over the years, I was confident, yet mindful of tending the cilantro, basil, rosemary and thyme, which all thrived so heartily I was able to share with friends.
The first cantaloupe, tomato and jalapeño blooms however were a different story. I sent photo of every step of their progress to my dad and green-thumbed friends. Detailed text and phone consultations ensued covering everything from the best organic pest control (I went with Captain Jack’s Neem Oil) and epic battles with godforsaken, tomato-plant destroying hornworms. When I sent my dad a photo of the first wee green globes on the tomato plant, he said, “Get ready for heartbreak.”
I promised him I was bracing for it, but that didn’t cushion the blow when I came out one morning to find a ripe and ready tomato sucked dry and deflated by stinkbugs. Meanwhile, the cantaloupe and jalapeños suffered from too much shade and never grew beyond the size of my thumb. I was able to harvest enough of the latter for a modest pico de gallo and did enjoy at least one homegrown tomato, for which I’m grateful.
Countless lessons were learned last year and I’m ready to make the necessary tweaks for a more impressive harvest in 2023. I may even try my hand at a fall veggie garden if all goes well this spring and summer.
In this issue, we’re relishing spring’s vibrancy and — after resting through these many fallow winter months — excited about planting seeds. May our collective real (and metaphorical) gardens thrive, grow and yield an abundant harvest this season and beyond. Cheers!