My grandparents gardened in their suburban yard many years ago, and my grandmother was a great nourisher of indoor plants. My parents, however, had different hobbies and skills. I wanted a garden. I enjoy cooking, and also have to supply myself with healthy food to manage an autoimmune disorder. I knew that I knew very little in how to grow things (besides children), so when I saw the Build It Up program was offering guidance, plants, and supplies, it seemed like the perfect fit. I knew that I was good at taking classes, that working along with a group would motivate me to learn more, ask more, and do more in my baby garden.
I started out very ambitious, but after the first garden design and planning meeting got a better sense of what I could actually maintain, so my space is a 12’x12′ square with some other patches around my yard. I’ve focused on growing things that would either benefit our little ecosystem (beneficial flowers for pollinators), or food that my family will actually eat (heavy on the peas, lettuces, and tomatoes, not so much the squash, for instance).
As with every new thing to learn, you’re never good at it the first time. It’s been a good reminder to hear over and over again, “It takes 2-3 years to build good soil,” because I think what’s true for gardening can be very true for life. I’m eager to see my next year be more productive, to be better prepared and able to identify pests and diseases, and to know my own soil better, planting things in places where they’ll actually flourish.