I love to garden.
I love creating a little plot for my plants to call home, and I love tending to these little plants, watching them grow healthy and strong and knowing it was me who got them there. I love enjoying vegetables and herbs from my own garden - cooking them, eating them and giving them away to friends.
All in all, I just feel so accomplished with a garden. It's a great feeling.
Last year, I picked up "Grow Great Grub" by Gayla Trail, although I knew I had to forgo my garden in 2010 because of my impending move and marriage. The book is chalk full of amazing information, and I couldn't wait to put this knowledge to use at my new house. (On a side note, when it looked like John and I wouldn't be able to buy a home right away and would need to rent, one of the things that bummed me out the most was knowing I wouldn't have a large garden - not that there's anything wrong with small ones!)
In Ocean City, I had a garden two years ago. It was teeny tiny, in a little bed I prepped along the side of our building. As anyone who has visited Ocean City knows, land is at a minimum, so I worked with what I had. It was probably a 2-foot wide space, and about 8 feet long. I grew plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, as well as a myriad of herbs - rosemary, garlic chives, parsley and thyme among them. I loved my little garden, and it impressed passersby, who would remark on its abundance while they walked to and from the beach (or to and from the ice cream shop up the street).
Now, with my own backyard and ample space, I'm planning much more extravagant living quarters for my veggies and herbs. The vegetable garden will be at the back corner of the yard. The herb garden is going to run alongside the back of the house.
If you want to try to grow your own seedlings, January is the time to start prepping. I am in the process of gathering containers for my little baby plants - toilet paper rolls, tins, etc. (I'm trying to stay away from plastics, although I think soda bottles are made with an okay grade.) The toilet paper rolls are great for plants that don't want to be disturbed during transplanting, like beans and sunflowers. You simply peel off all but one layer of cardboard, and pop the whole thing in the ground. Tins work fine with holes poked through for drainage. Soda bottles can be self-watered if you slice off the top and invert it into the bottom.
I'm just learning so much from Gayla!
I have to order my seeds, too. Or just buy them. I've found some awesome ones at a few websites, but I have two reservations. One, although they are cheap at a couple bucks per pack, I want a huge variety, and that still adds up. Two, what will I do with all of those seeds? You only plant one or two, and then who have about a bajillion left. I could try to store them, I imagine, but I don't exactly have a year-round "cool, dark place." So now, in an effort to avoid two much money and shipping costs, I think I may just buy some locally. It is my first go at this, after all, so perhaps it's best not to sink too much money into the whole thing.
Regardless of any concerns and worries I have (Will my plants grow? Will they bear fruit and veggies? Will I horribly fail?!), I can't wait to get started. I have this fantasy of turning into an awesome gardener like Gayla, one who really knows her stuff and turns her property into an amazing haven for plants of all kinds.
For the moment, though, I'll just work on collecting some more toilet paper rolls.